Book Bag For Every Baby Born Program’s Book Bag Was Available in Four Immigrant Languages in 2019-2021

Book bag for every baby born Program's book bag was available in four common immigrant languages: Estonian, Russian, Somali, and Arabic.

Book bag for every baby born -program’s book bag contained a collection of new fairy tales for bedtime reading. Stories written by authors Timo Parvela, Reetta Niemelä, Kerttu Vuolabi, and Malin Klingenberg in Finnish, Swedish, and Northern Sami were translated for this foreign language edition, and the book was illustrated by Johanna Markkula and Anssi Vaalio.

The book bag also provided parents with information on the importance of reading and improving proficiency in native languages. It included a fun growth chart with information on language development at different stages in a child‘s life.

Book bag for every baby born -program’s book bag was available in four common immigrant languages. Stories written in the child’s native language support the child’s proficiency in their native language as well as learning new languages. Research shows that supporting native language proficiency can make all learning easier. Strengthening native language skills is also important for strengthening the child’s sense of their own identity.

“For families living in a foreign language environment, resources and information in their native languages is often quite limited. Parents need to put extra efforts and attention in supporting their children’s native language development, which is also the basis on which their children will learn Finnish, and other languages. The stronger the child’s native language is, the easier it will be for the child to build Finnish on top of it. When parents read books and tell stories in their native language for their children, it not only teaches the language, but it builds cultural pride, and strengthens the communication and relationship between parent and child,” says counselor Michelle Kaila from Espoo Child Health Clinic.

Book bag for every baby born -program is a program to promote early reading and increase reading aloud to babies. Over the course of the campaign, book bags have been distributed to all babies during visits to the maternal and child health care clinics. The bag is currently available in Finnish and Swedish.

The bags contents were put together by a team of experts, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare is a partner in the program. The Read Aloud Campaign is carried out by The Finnish Reading Center. The program was funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation years 2019-2021. In 2022 and 2023 the program is funded by the Finnish Parliament.

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