It’s never to early to start reading, even if you’ll be in the Class of 2035 by the time you graduate. That's why two Osceola County groups are providing new moms with the tools they need: books.

  • Born to Succeed Program in Osceola County
  • New moms going home from hospital with bag of books
  • Encouraged to read to kids, prepare them for pre-school

Ashley Eldridge is already reading to her newborn. Amelia is her second baby and this time around she’s doing things a little differently.

“My son still loves to read and you've got to start young with this one,” she said.

Some children don’t read until they’re in the classroom. This is why the Osceola County School Board and Osceola Regional Medical Center are making sure every mom leaves the hospital holding a care bag filled with books. It’s called Born To Succeed.

“Because we want all of our parents to read to their children, starting from birth and certainly moving on all through elementary school,” said Superintendent Debra Pace.

The school board says less than 20 percent of children in Osceola County are actually academically prepared for their first day of elementary school and this is the reason they started this initiative.

“We really found that it helps families both emotionally, physically, to really find that love of learning and that love of reading,” said Mary Ann Matthews, the manager for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nursery at Osceola Regional.

For Eldridge and her family, these books are a new beginning that open up a lifetime of learning.

“Kindergarten and Pre-K is a tough spot to kids to go to in general, without their parents,” Eldridge said. “So when they already know things and they’re catching on faster, it’s easier for them to adjust.”

Nearly 2,000 babies are born at Osceola Regional every year. This the first hospital in the county to implement the Born To Succeed program, which just started this year.