Book bag for every baby born Program’s Book Bag Available in Immigrant Languages

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

Book bag for every baby born -program’s book bag contains 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 provides parents with information on the importance of reading and improving proficiency in native languages. It includes a fun growth chart that provides information on language development at different stages in a child‘s life.

Book bag for every baby born -program’s book bag is available in four common immigrant languages. Stories written in the child’s native language supports 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 three-year program to promote early reading and increase reading aloud to babies. Over the course of the campaign, book bags will be distributed to all children born between 2019 – 2021 during visits to the maternal and child health care clinics. The bag is available in Finnish, Swedish, Sami, Somali, Arabic, Estonian, and Russian. Its contents were put together by a team of experts, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare is a partner in the program. Book bag for every baby born program is funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and carried out by The Finnish Reading Center.

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