Early literacy leader continues to make strides

Jean Fahey

“Thanks to Mass Literacy, it’s been a TOUCHDOWN year!”

Jean Ciborowski Fahey, PhD, a 2014 Mass Literacy Champion, provides the perfect example of the successful impact, outreach and growth that can come from a spark of motivation and continued hard work.

Jean is the Director of The South Shore Hospital Reading Partnership, a program that promotes early literacy starting from birth, and the author of Make Time for Reading: A Story Guide for Parents of Babies and Young Children.  While Make Time for Reading can be read as a picture book to babies and young children, the book also acts as a learning tool for parents on how to encourage literacy in their home. Jean received a Mass Literacy Champion award to fund the translation of her book into Spanish, extending to Spanish speaking families her mission of creating a strong foundation for early readers. Since being granted the award, opportunities continue to arise for her in places she never expected.

“Mass Literacy gave me a jump-start and a spark I other wise wouldn’t have had,” said Jean.

The Mass Literacy Champion Award allowed Jean to hire a translator for her book, hire a team to vet the translations, and fund marketing initiatives. The Spanish version of Make Time for Reading is now print ready and Jean is actively, and excitedly, looking for a donor to publish the book in Spanish.

As she works toward reaching that goal, Jean sees continued success in several over avenues. Barnes & Noble Hingham chose Jean as the winner of their holiday book drive. Through the holiday book drive, shoppers at Barnes & Noble Hingham had the opportunity to add a best-title baby book to their purchase, which was then donated to new mothers and their babies when leaving The South Shore Hospital. As part of The South Shore Hospital Reading Partnership, the new mothers already all receive Make Time for Reading, so coupled with the Barnes & Noble book donation, the babies went home from the hospital with two new books.

The South Shore Children’s Museum also recognized Jean’s valuable contributions to the literacy community and asked her to speak at an event they’re hosting in January. As part of the “Community Leader Readers” program, Jean will be giving a talk to parents about reading with their children and the importance of early literacy. The event, Rock-a-Bye Baby: Building the Brain for Reading, will take place on January 15, 2016, at 11am at the South Shore Children’s Museum at the Hanover Mall. All families that attend will receive a copy of Make Time for Reading to take home with them.

Finally, Jean will be featured in the alumni newsletter for Claremont Graduate University, where she will be recognized for her success, as well as promoting the Spanish version of her book and her mission of supporting early literacy.

Jean continues to make an important and lasting impact in the literacy community. She attributes much of her growth to Mass Literacy and the encouragement from the Literacy Champion Award.

“Without Mass Literacy, I wouldn’t have had the motivation to get these conversations going,” said Jean. “My network continues to grow and strengthen.”

To learn more about Make Time for Reading: A Story Guide for Parents of Babies and Young Children, visit Jean’s website. You can also check out her blog, The Journey Towards Literacy Begins at Birth.