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Origin of “Bookstart: Your Baby Can Read”

In 1992, the Bookstart program was launched under the administration of the British National Independent Charity Booktrust, through the joint efforts of the School of Education of the University of Birmingham, and several medical and library organizations in the City of Birmingham. Gift packets, containing two children’s books, a guidebook on reading and an invitation from the libraries, were given to parents of newborns. Follow-up research found that among the first three hundred households receiving the gifts, there was a significant increase in the whole family's interest in books, the frequency of parent and child reading together, the frequency of parents buying books for their children as gifts, as well as the frequency of visiting libraries in family. Furthermore, the investigators also observed that these children who were exposed to books earlier did much better in academic examinations than their peers at school. They not only were more linguistically skilled but also performed better mathematically. In order to promote reading in children, thereby increasing their reading and learning abilities, the Taipei Public Library has been dedicated in implementing a long-term plan of harnessing the nation's future.

September 1, 2006 marks the official launch of the "Bookstart: Your Baby Can Read" campaign, which is specifically tailored for people in Taiwan. Registered Taipei City households with children aged between 6 and 18 months are given the aforementioned reading gift packets and an invitation for parental learning seminar on baby reading. Since 2011, this campaign has been further extended to toddlers of three years old. For registered Taipei City households with toddlers between 18 and 36 months old, their parents are also invited to the seminars on parental learning about cultivating book-loving kids and receive a reading gift packet designed for 18 and 36 months old toddlers. The objective is for parents to understand the processes of their children’s learning, the utilization of library and Internet resources, the provision of suitable guidance on reading, and learning at different developmental stage as well as to help children develop a reading habit at a young age. After all, Library is the best environment encouraging parents and child reading together.