Medical Monday: Benefits of reading to babies

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The research is clear. Reading has a multitude of benefits for children. Members of the Bay County Reading Association are teaming up with Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center to get a book in the hands of as many kids as possible.

"We're trying to reach them younger and reach the parents to help promote literacy with them, and the hospital is a great way to do that. We're really happy about being able to give the books to kids," said Chris Smith from the Bay County Reading Association.

The children who are patients will get to take a book home with them when they leave the hospital. This is helpful because medical experts say it's never too early to begin reading to your child. Even babies in the neonatal intensive care unit can benefit.

Physical and Developmental Therapist Stacy Zediker explained, "Research shows that babies who are read to by their mothers within the NICU have better speech and language development at the age of two."

The Reading Association plans to continue restocking books at the hospital for at least the next few years.