Florida First Lady Ann Scott Unveils New Florida ‘Love.Read.Learn’ Baby Journal

May 15, 2012


The following news release was issued by the Office of Florida Governor Rick Scott today, May 15, 2012:

First Lady Ann Scott and Volunteer USA Foundation Unveil ‘Love.Read.Learn!’ Baby Journal… a Gift to Newborns and Parents in Florida

Charming journal highlights reading & development needs of young children


Florida First Lady Ann Scott hand delivered a brand new Love.Read.Learn!  Baby Journal to the mother of a newborn today – the first of over 200,000 free journals being provided to parents statewide over the next year. The journals are designed to be one of the first gifts a child receives, reinforcing the state’s commitment to literacy and health.

The First Lady, in partnership with the nonprofit Volunteer USA Foundation – with funding from Dollar General Foundation and Scholastic FACE (Family and Community Engagement) – unveiled the Love.Read.Learn!TM scrapbook style journal at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. With a ‘healthy minds, healthy bodies’ theme, the colorful booklet is being offered at no cost to hospitals in the state for distribution to parents of newborns. It is filled with tips and advice to promote a love of books, learning and health from the earliest years. It also provides places to insert baby photos, “first word” memories and favorite stories.

“I love being a mom and now a grandmother, but I remember what it was like to be a new parent filled with questions about my baby’s health and development. I wanted to create a baby journal that would help new parents in Florida raise healthy kids who have a love of learning, as well as provide a way for parents to document their baby’s special moments and milestones,” said First Lady Scott.

The journal also allows parents to keep track of their child’s immunization records and offers nutrition and wellness information – all priorities of the First Lady. The Florida Department of Agriculture provided kid-friendly recipes that are simple and easy to prepare.

This journal is based on 2008 findings of the National Early Reading Panel which analyzed the existing literature on early learning to determine what the skills and abilities are of young children (birth-five years) that predict later reading, writing, or spelling outcomes.

“Parents are a child’s first teacher and this journal is designed to help them to be the very best first teacher possible from the time a child is in the cradle,” said Liza McFadden, president of Volunteer USA and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. “We know reading benefits a child in so many ways – from language comprehension and vocabulary development to heightened creativity and family bonding, this journal is a wonderful way for parents to start their child out on the path of learning.”

Through the generosity of lead sponsors Scholastic FACE and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation as well as support from the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida effort and Carnival, the journals are being distributed to birthing hospitals statewide – one for each mom who gives birth over the next year. The Florida Hospital Association, Health Management Associates and Hospital Corporation of America are supporters of the journal and represent the vast majority of hospitals in the state.

“Every parent plays a critical role as their child’s first and most important teacher, and Scholastic is proud to support this important literacy initiative that gives parents the tools they need to inspire their children to learn to love to read,” said Greg Worrell, President of the Scholastic Classroom & Community Group. “Reading aloud, telling stories and sharing family traditions are all part of a healthy, literacy-rich early childhood – the kind that every child deserves to have.”

“Getting families involved in their child’s education from the beginning is crucial to a child’s development and success,” said Denine Torr, Dollar General’s director of community initiatives. “The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is excited to support this program to help new parents and families on their journey to learning and growing.”

Following the announcement, First Lady Ann Scott and Tallahassee Memorial CEO Mark O’Bryant visited a few mothers and newborn babies and personally delivered the state’s first baby journals and children’s books. Hospitals in Florida interested in ordering the free baby journals should contact the Volunteer USA Foundation at info@volunteerusafund.org or call 850.562.5300.

Love.Read.Learn!TM Baby Journal Partners

Volunteer USA Foundation and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy

Scholastic FACE

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

Carnival Cruise Lines

Florida Department of Health – Tobacco Free Florida

Florida Department of Agriculture – Food, Nutrition and Wellness

Florida Office of Early Learning

Department of Children and Families

Florida Hospital Association

Health Management Associates

Hospital Corporation of America