CHARLESTON (WV) – November marks National Family Literacy Month, and West Virginia’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is partnering with the CDC to highlight the importance of children reaching their developmental milestones.

According to the West Virginia Department of Resources’ Bureau for Public Health, the CDC’s “Learn the Signs, Act Early” program is designed to encourage parents to track milestones on how their children play, speak, learn, move and act from birth to 5-years-old.

The CDC says tracking this information is important to making sure children receive the necessary care for their growth and development. According to WV WIC, family literacy is an important way to engage children’s imagination, communication and learning skills as they grow.

“West Virginia WIC is dedicated to ensuring all families receive proper, adequate nutrition, which is critical for learning,” said WV WIC director Heidi Staats. “Reading is one way families can engage a child’s imagination and promote effective communication to help them reach developmental milestones.”

WV WIC says some tips for families to encourage literacy with their children include:

  • Set aside 10 to 15 minutes each day for reading
  • Have books available and visible in the home to help get children interested in books
  • Visit your local library with your children.
  • Read books related to your child’s favorite movies or the book the movies are adapted from.
  • Start a book club with your friends and family
  • Promote literacy in your community by participating in book drives to help other families.

Children in West Virginia as well as Ohio and Kentucky are also eligible to participate in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which provides children with a free book each month until their fifth birthday.

To learn more about this program and other WV WIC services, visit the WV DHHR website.