Well before they walk through the doors for their first day of kindergarten, children are being helped by Kingston Elementary school officials to begin developing their reading skills at a surprisingly young age.

Three years ago, Kingston Elementary began New Books for Newborns, a program designed to encourage mothers to read to their children while they are babies.

The elementary school hands out gift bags full of books to mothers in hopes that they can begin boosting their babies’ literacy skills before they even leave the hospital.

According to a school news release, children who are read to daily at a young age perform better in school, displaying a larger vocabulary, grasping directions and concepts easier when taught, communicating with peers more efficiently and working better in groups.

“Our program to bring new books to newborns (has been) a success,” Kingston Elementary GATE and Enrichment Coordinator Mike Apodaca said. “Best of all was the outpouring of support and generosity from our wonderful community.”

New Books for Newborns not only gives mothers a bag of books, but also provides them with pamphlets on the importance of reading to newborns.

The program began when Kingston teachers noticed a lot of younger children were progressing at a slower pace when it came to reading. The school then made it a goal to help jump-start local children's literacy skills before they reached the age of enrollment.

“Why not go straight to the source at the labor and delivery room?” Apodaca said.

Recently, the Victorville Barnes and Noble donated 20 percent of book sales to the program for purchases that used a special promo code. In 2016, Barnes and Noble was able to help raise over $3,000 for the school.

So far, there have been more than 300 hundred books delivered to the local hospitals and hundreds more are expected to be delivered soon.

“It has been such a great program every year and I can’t see us not doing it,” Apodaca said.

Donations will be accepted through the end of February at Kingston Elementary School, 7473 Kingston Ave., Hesperia and at the Hesperia Unified School District, 15576 Main St., Hesperia.