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Enriching the mind of a child through story telling is a tradition that is being lost in the modern world with its instant electronic communication. We need to continue that tradition and mark the existence of the young with the wise narratives of the past.
“Nati per Leggere (NpL) is a program that promotes reading at early age. The program was established in 1999 and is based on an alliance between pediatricians (Associazione Culturale Pediatri,) and librarians (Associazione Italiana Biblioteche,). Its heart is in Trieste where there is the seat of the Centro per la Salute del Bambino – the nonprofit organization that manages the program with thousands of operators and volunteers all over Italy.
The heart of the program is reading in the family, understood as a moment of intimacy and relationship between adult and child. Research shows how that very special method of relationship which is shared reading, carried out since the first months of life and with continuity contributes very significantly to the cognitive, linguistic and emotional development of the child. Studies show that the brain has the greatest capacity for development and learning in the earliest years. Starting to read daily to children since they are very little not only is a big development factor but also an important “protective factor” from socio-cultural disadvantage and an opportunity for building a positive and curious look on the world.
In Italy, the project is based on the contribution of health professionals and particularly of family pediatrician, whose continuity and uniqueness of relationship with the families ensures that the message reaches all the children.
The message is then further strengthened by librarians, day-care educators, kindergarten teachers and more than 5000 volunteers, who are trained and coordinated to support the program, and especially for sensitizing parents and supporting them in the practice of family reading. The NpL voluntary reader is expression of his community, to which he brings value through a program with a great educational and social impact.
Born to read aims to reach all young boys and girls and to protect their “right to stories”, assuring – even in the most difficult situations – access to quality books and dedicated places. NpL establishes “Reading Points” in areas where there are no libraries with children’s sections, and opportunities for families and children to play and read together. Reading Points have been established in Naples, in the entire Campania and in Calabria. NpL is also active in prisons, where it works both with fathers and mothers (Naples, Milan, Rome) and in many immigrant communities.
Since it was established, NpL has provided support also to other countries to create similar programs: in Catalonia, in Croatia, in Bosnia and in Brazil.”