English presentation

Nati per Leggere (NpL) promotes reading to children from the first months of age. The program was established in 1999 and is based on a alliance between paediatricians (Associazione Culturale Pediatri, ACP) librarians (Associazione Italiana Biblioteche, AIB) and the Centro per la Salute del Bambino (CSB), a non profit organization.

Scientific basis | NpL is a nationwide program which aims at promoting shared reading at home through an active involvement of the whole community in order to give to all children a better chance to develop and to parents opportunities of quality relationships with their children.  Shared reading at home starting from the first months of life has been defined as the single most effective activity to support the development of young children, with benefits that include cognitive, language, emotional and socio-relational development and span over the entire life. Children start to love reading and books because they associate reading with a pleasant time spent with their parents. Neuroscience has recently confirmed that an active home reading environment stimulates brain growth and activation with long lasting beneficial effects

Strategy | NpL is based on the strategic role of the family paediatrician, who reaches children belonging to all social groups and has an early and unique relationship with families. The continuity of contacts between the paediatrician and the family ensures that promotion of early reading reaches all families (in Italy's National Health System, all children are entitled to be taken care of by a paediatrician). The message is then further strengthened by librarians, day-care (0-3 years) educators, kindergarten (4-6) teachers. The paediatricians invite families to use the public libraries where librarians, who are the experts in children?s books, can further support families and provide books.

Program organization | The organization of NpL is based on the establishment of local chapters, which create networks bringing together the greatest number of social entities. These networks include librarians, paediatricians, educators, teachers, civil society organizations, municipalities and other local governments, and all those willing to put their energies into the project, including volunteers. At local level the program is implemented with the due flexibility in order to adapt to the different situations. A central secretariat based at the Centro per la Salute del Bambino provides support to the local projects, develops and carries out training modules, develops and disseminate communication materials. The overall coordination is ensured by a national coordinating committee, composed by 5 librarians, 5 paediatricians and 5 experts of child literature and members of civil society organizations.

Currently there are more than 500 local projects covering about 1/3 of the national population, with the participation of 8000 professionals among librarians, paediatricians, social/health professionals, nursery and kindergarten educators. Volunteers are recruited, trained and coordinated to support families through reading activities in libraries, schools, family centres. Over 5000 volunteers are currently active in the project.

A special attention is paid to children and families in disadvantaged areas and in difficult situations. NpL establishes Punti Lettura (reading points) in areas where there are no public libraries with services for children, no or little opportunities for families and children to play and read together. Several Punti Lettura have been established in Napoli and in the Campania region. NpL is also active in prisons, working with both fathers and mothers (Napoli, Milano, Roma) and in many migrant communities.

Training is a key strategic activity as it is essential to create a common understanding and language among different professionals who are involved in promoting the program at local level. For this reason training is multidisciplinary, bringing together all different actors.

Research and evaluation is carried out to assess the impact of the project, based on a standard questionnaire.

Another key activity is the production of an annotated bibliography that selects the best children's books, to guide professionals and families Nati per leggere: una guida per genitori e futuri lettori (Born to read: a guide for parents and future readers) in their choices.

The relationship with booksellers and publishers is a very important aspect of NpL. A catalogue of quality books produced and sold at a very low price exclusively for NpL local projects is available to support the local projects in order to allow the gift of a book to children.

The first baby's book Guarda che faccia! Has been produced in more than 125.000 copies and distributed in Italy. The same book was translated in Croatian for the local program and is now being produced for Brazil.

NpL has produced information materials which are given to families (a leaflet with suggestions on how and what to read to children and bookmarks) and to professionals (a brochure with a complete presentation of the project and the materials available). Materials for families are available in 12 different languages to make contact and work with all families possible.

Other NpL initiatives are:
- the national prize NpL. The aim of the prize, supported by Piedmont Region, the city of Turin, the Book Foundation, and by NpL National Committee, is to stimulate a higher quality production of books for younger children (from 0 to 3 years) and to reward the activity of the many local projects;

- the video Il progetto Nati per Leggere shoots some daily situations (mothers and children sharing books, paediatricians talking to mothers about books and how to begin to read with their babies, parents talking about the experience of reading with their children);

-the videoclip La sua storia comincia dalle tue parole. Leggere insieme, crescere insieme (His story stars from your words. Reading together, grow up together).

Financial support | Financial support is based on fund raising at local level (all chapters are encouraged to find their own resources and to support then in doing so e series of material have been developed by the national secretariat) while the support at national level for the country-wide activities is ensured by fund raising activities, donation including the 5 per mille (income tax percentage that each citizen can devolve to a NGO or research institution). Public support at national level has been so far little and with no continuity.

Collaboration with the Government | Collaboration at central government level includes the Ministries of Education, Culture and Health. NpL was awarded the prize Premio Miglior Amico della Famiglia in 2011.

International activities and collaborations | NpL believes in international cooperation and collaboration. Since it was established it provided support to other countries in establishing similar projects. It helped  librarians in Cataluña to get started with the program Nascuts per llegir in the Italian speaking Switzerland, in Croatia, in Bosnia. Recently, the program Nascidos para ler has been launched in Brazil with support for training from NpL. Contacs and collaborations are currently starting with Peru and Bolivia. Since 2014 the Centro per la Salute del Bambino is an active member of the EUREAD association and of the ELINET european project. ELINET strives to improve literacy policies in all member countries, reduce the number of children, young people and adults with low literacy skills in Europe, and help increase reading skills in Europe, and help increase reading skills and reading for pleasure.


International contacts
International collaborations and sharing of experiences help us to be more effective in promoting early literacy. Nati per Leggere is especially grateful to the American project Reach Out and Read http://www.reachoutandread.org that inspired our action.

We also helped our colleagues in Spain to get started with a similar program Nascuts per llegir http://www.nascutsperllegir.org/ and in Germany Nati per Leggere/Deutschland in Unna near Dortmund.

In Croatia the program is called Rođeni za čitanje and started in Dubrovnik. They translated and printed in Italy for all newborns the following books Guarda che faccia Giunti Kids publisher, Vado a dormire, Dov'è il mio papà and Gatti neri e Gatti bianchi Editoriale Scienza publisher. For information: 

OPĆA BOLNICA DUBROVNIK, Dr. Roka Misetica 2, 20000 Dubrovnik

Mr. sc. Marija Radonic, dr. med. specijalist pedijatrije
tel:        385 (0)20 431 650
fax:       385 (0)20 431 650
e-mail:  marijarado@bolnica-du.hr

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