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‘Toto Smart Book Club’ a unique reading culture inhabited

The Nakuru Kenya National Library Service (KNLS) has started a unique reading club dubbed, ‘Toto Smart Book Club’ for expectant mothers to introduce a reading culture to their unborn babies.

The Manager of the Nakuru KNLS Purity Mutuku said mothers reading or singing for their unborn babies has been proven scientifically rewarding, stressing that from eight weeks of conception the foetus can hear.

Speaking to KNA Thursday at her KNLS office, Mutuku said the unique culture of reading for unborn babies has been practised in the western world for years, since their scientists and religious leaders emphasized the importance of treating life at conception with respect and as an accepted family member.

The manager said she first applied the concept to herself, when she conceived during the Covid-19 lockdown and there wasn’t much to do except staying at home.

“I used that time to read and sing for the baby, and he’s extremely calm. My friend at the USA challenged me to start reading for my baby at eight weeks and l took up the task with relish and wonder of wonders, it was the calmest pregnancy l have ever encountered,’’ she said.

After Mutuku resumed duty, she introduced the concept to her colleagues and the Nakuru county government.

She said the governor’s wife Mrs. Elizabeth Kinyanjui applauded the model and even assisted in its implementation at Bondeni maternity sub-county hospital thereafter.

Mutuku said the nurses were enthusiastic about executing the ‘Toto Smart Club’ at the hospital because the idea of reading and singing for calming the unborn babies is a topic in their nursing training that had never been implemented by local hospitals.

However, Faith Mwaniki a nurse at the Bondeni maternity hospital said she has always read and sang for her unborn babies, because of what she had read in nursing books and the encouragement from her grandmother to sing for her unborn grandchild.

When Book Aid International learnt from the library manager that they had introduced the reading culture to expectant mothers for their unborn babies, they donated 500 books to the maternity hospital library and gave a grant of Sh175,000 to make shelves and purchase of furniture.

Currently, Bondeni maternity hospital the oldest in the county, prides itself as the first public health institution with a well-stocked library. And, the laughter and joy emanating from the reading mothers are not only captivating but enchanting.

When KNA visited Nakuru KNLS, Mutuku’s son was flipping through a book, perhaps in what appears to be an indication that reading to unborn babies, encourages the life-long culture of reading and it was even more puzzling that the toddler was not tearing- off the pages.

By Veronica Bosibori

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