Expectant mothers urged to read to developing babies 

By Emelia B. Addae 

Koforidua, April 4, GNA-Expectant mothers have been advised to read to their developing babies for them to become familiar with words when they are born. 

Mr Elijah Asumang, Ag. Deputy Eastern Regional Director and Head of Extension and Mobile Library Unit at the Regional Library in Koforidua explained that research had shown that babies, who are 18 weeks old in the womb could hear sounds. 

“And if they are introduced to reading, they can become familiar with the words when they are born,” he said. 

Mr Asumang was speaking to expectant and lactating mothers at the Eastern Regional Hospital, under a programme put together by the Eastern Regional Library Directorate, the Talking Tips Africa Foundation, and the Speech and Language Unit of the Eastern Regional Hospital. 

The initiative aimed to address the escalating issue of illiteracy, frequently associated with inadequate reading abilities, and to lower the illiteracy rates among Ghanaians. 

The Regional Library Directorate of the Ghana Library Authority and the two institutions initiated a pilot project called Read2Baby to highlight the importance of promoting a love for reading from an early age. 

Mr Elijah Asumang said the project aimed to promote literacy among children and that it must start from the inception of pregnancy—that is, 18 weeks of the foetus—to the day the child will be born and to five years of age. 

Madam Gifty Ayoka, Executive Director of Talking Tipps Africa Foundation, said, “Let’s change the narrative by introducing babies early to books rather than later so that they can be “addicted” to books.” 

She advised that parents spend more time with their children with books and less time behind the screen. 

“The amount of screen exposure and the age of screen time onset have a direct impact on the child’s sight, language, and speech development,” she added. 

Talking Tipps Africa Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that provides speech and language therapy services, inclusion and disability advocacy, and training of teachers and caregivers on child development. 

Madam Sandra Quayson, Speech and Language Therapist at the Eastern Regional Hospital encouraged other health institutions to embrace and support the Read2Baby project to improve literacy in the country.