Dr. Oz Talked About My Kid Book Today and Started A Book Drive For Low-income Kids

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 9.09.40 AMEarlier today, I was interviewed on the Dr. Oz television show about the need for very young children to have books read to them, and I was interviewed about my own book, Three Key Years.

Three Key Years explains why we need to talk and read to infants, toddlers, and very young children so they are all learning ready when they get to school.

The studio audience each received a free copy of my book, and each audience member also brought one or more children’s books to give as a gift to children from low-income families. They didn’t know why they were bringing those books, but Dr. Oz had asked everyone in the audience to bring them to the show.

Dr. Oz asked for the books because learning gaps in American schools are bad, painful, and growing. We need to close those gaps, and we need to close them by bringing up the scores for low-income family children. To do that, we need all families to know how to help their children. We need a public health campaign that clearly explains those opportunities.

We need to help all children from all groups get the brain exercise support that builds strong brains in the first months and years of life.

The things that help increase neuron connectivity levels in young children are pretty basic. Reading is very high on that list. Reading requires books.

Talking and reading are actually both important to do.

Talking to children exercises brains, and reading to children very directly both exercises brains, and teaches the link between symbols and meaning. Reading is also good for emotional connectivity. Reading to children makes brains stronger, and makes children happier and more secure.

The Three Key Years book explains that biological science, and describes the importance of doing that work to help build neuron connections in children’s brains in those high opportunity time frames. Reading to children can help close the learning gaps that are damaging our schools. To read, we need books.

Higher-income families in this country average 12 books per child. But — more than half of the lower-income families don’t have a single book. So Dr. Oz asked both his studio audience and his television viewing audience to donate books to lower-income families.

Dr. Oz called for a major book gift effort with the goal of getting books to kids who otherwise would not have them.

To make those book donations easy to do across the country, UPS has agreed to help. UPS is doing a wonderful thing. Every UPS store in America will have book collection boxes for the next two weeks, and they will deliver those collected books for no charge to low-income families.

UPS will deliver the donated books at no charge to the local WIC Centers that provide nutritional support and food to low-income families.

Both WIC and UPS are delivering the books free.

That process and those boxes in those stores create an opportunity for all the rest of us. It makes doing the right thing easy to do. So let’s do the right thing.

I am asking everyone reading this blog in the next 10 days to take either your own children’s no longer used — but gently used — books to a UPS site, or just go to a store that sells kids books and buy some good books for children who really would love to get those books.

I have seen the light and the joy in the eyes of a 2-year-old getting a first book. The sheer joy I saw in 3-year-old kids getting their own first book took my breath away. It stunned me when I first saw it. “This is my book? My very own book? My own book … Ohhhhh!”

To see a small child hugging a book and smiling with closed eyes is pretty reinforcing about how right it is for us to get books to that child. You can’t imagine how good it can feel for children to get their own book.

Reading to kids is a joy, and being read to, is even better.

You can personally help make that joy happen this week. Here is a link to the Dr. Oz/First 5/UPS book drive website. Create joy and feel good doing it.

Put books in those boxes in the UPS stores, and make a difference for a child.

And if you want to do another nice thing for a new parent, pass this “advice to new parents” tip sheet on to any family you know with a new child. The tip sheet for new parents is golden advice and it is free.

Use it. Share it.

And get at least one book to the book drive this week. A child will love the book you put in the box.

Is there anything else you can do right now that is a better use of your time?

Thank you Dr. Oz, and thank you UPS for making this happen.

Peace and be well.


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This post was written by Institute for InterGroup Understanding