(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — As students return to school and families begin new routines, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) is reminding parents to take time each day to read to children, including infants and toddlers.
DHS earlier this year launched the 10 Minutes Matter campaign to encourage parents to set aside just 10 minutes each day to read to children beginning at birth. Language-rich moments help children develop their communication skills, recognize sounds and letters, and increase their vocabulary, and the benefits begin even when children are infants.
“Reading to a child is incredibly beneficial to their development, and it’s also an easy way for a parent to form a bond and instill a life-long love of books,” said DCCECE Director Tonya Williams. “We know families routines’ are changing as children begin a new school year, so we want to reach out and encourage them to make time to read. Everyone can find 10 minutes to spare, and it’s truly a worthwhile investment.”
DHS has created a website at ar.gov/10minutes to support this campaign. Materials available on the website include videos of DCCECE staff members reading children’s classics “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”; graphics encouraging reading that can be shared to social media accounts; a guide to books for different age groups; and a downloadable certificate that can be used to encourage children to read to their younger siblings or friends.
The campaign also includes information on places to find books for little to no cost:
- Check out books from your local library. The Arkansas State Library has a map of all the libraries in the state on its website.
- Sign up for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This program sends free, age-appropriate books to children once a month until children turn five. You can sign up on the Dolly Parton Arkansas Imagination Library website. More than 3 million books have been distributed through this program in Arkansas alone.
- Visit a Little Free Library in your community. Little Free Libraries are stand-alone boxes that allow visitors to take (at no cost) or leave a book. There are dozens of registered Little Free Libraries across Arkansas. You can find one near you by visiting the Little Free Library website
Additional videos and materials will be posted to the ar.gov/10minutes website as the campaign continues.