Brain Development and the Importance of Early Reading

The greatest amount of brain growth occurs between birth and age 5.  By age 3, roughly 85 percent of the brain’s core structure is formed.  Reading aloud to young children is one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills.  It also builds their motivation, curiosity and memory.


The purpose of POWER is to encourage our community to read, speak, and interact with children, as frequently as possible, beginning at birth.


The mission of POWER is to provide our community with tools and resources to help promote language development and early literacy in children, beginning at birth.


The vision of POWER is that all children in the Permian Basin enter school kindergarten-ready.


A POWER Bag is provided to every mother who gives birth at:

  • Medical Center Hospital
  • Midland Memorial Hospital
  • Odessa Regional Medical Center
  • Pecos County Memorial Hospital
  • Reeves Regional Health
  • Scenic Mountain Medical Center

Upon discharge from the hospital, medical staff provide mothers with information about the importance of speaking, interacting, and reading to the newborn. The contents listed below are in every POWER Bag.

Photo of the Power Bag and contents

Information Pamphlet

A POWER Bag informational brochure provides basic information about the importance of speaking, interacting, and reading to your newborn, as well as a link to the POWER Bag website and other important resources

Baby Books

To help jump start the literacy development of your child, select books are provided for you to read to your baby.

My friend Mis Amigos book cover


To help stimulate and activate the early motor skills of your baby, a baby toy has been included in the POWER Bag.

POWER bag contents is the official American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for parents. It provides information on Ages & Stages (prenatal to 21 years of age), Healthy Living, Safety & Prevention, Family Life, Health Issues, News, and Tips & Tools. This website is also in Spanish.

CDC Learn the Signs. Act Early website, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides informations about milestones for children 2 months – 5 years of age. There are videos, apps., Tip Sheets, books, and more, found on this website. Great information! This website is also in Spanish. is a website from Nemours that provides information for parents about children General Health, Growth & Development, Infections, Pregnancy & Baby, Nutrition & Fitness, and more. This website is also in Spanish.

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) website, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides important information about Birth Defects Surveillance, Autism & Other Developmental Disabilities, Children’s Mental Health, and more. This website is also in Spanish. is provides parents with helpful tips and information about reading and literacy ages birth to 5 years of age. This website offers information about Reading Skills by Age, Articles for Parents, At-Home Activities and event provides Preschool Reading Screener.

Online Resources

Here are a few resources that will assist you with information pertaining to the health, wellness, and development of your child. Click on any of the image logos to visit their website.

First 5 Permian Basin, through the College of Nursing, University of Texas Permian Basin, oversees three early childhood home visiting programs to ensure that all children in Ector and Midland Counties are healthy, happy, excited about learning, and developmentally ready to start kindergarten.

Greater Opportunities of the Permian Basin, Inc is a nonprofit organization in Odessa, dedicated to providing Head Start services for families in West Texas. Greater Opportunities of the Permian Basin, Inc provide services to pregnant mother and their families, and through the child’s first three years of life.

Ector County Independent School District has two early learning centers, Lamar Early Education Center and Carver Early Education Center, serving Pre-K students beginning at 3 years old. ECISD also has other elementary schools that offer Pre-K. For a listing of which schools offer Pre-K, please click on the link to their website.

Ector County Library offers activities for infants and children. A few of these include Baby Storytime and Toddler Storytime. For more information, visit their website and click on their Events & Programs.

The YMCA of Odessa offers all day and after school care for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. There are three different Learning Centers in Odessa. For a listing of these centers and more information about the YMCA of Odessa’s services, please visit their website.

Find all types of child care, all in one place. Explore physical child care programs based on your location and children’s age. Or, explore virtual programs!

It is Basin PBS' mission to see that telecommunication and broadcast media are used to advance education, culture and community throughout our Permian Basin home. We're here to empower West Texas' most valuable resource...YOU!

Midland Independent School District offers Pre-K on a number of their campuses. In addition, MISD also has a partnership with Midland College, which offers a Pre-K Academy. For more information and a listing of which schools offer Pre-K, please visit their websites.

The Midland Public library offers activities for infants and children. The Library at the Plaza and Centennial library locations offer several programs to support early literacy skills for both children and their caregivers, including regular story times, the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge, and the Family Place workshops. Born to Read is for children 1 to 5. Each month, the Libraries will host a Born to Read Birthday Party for the children who celebrate their birthdays during that month, and each child participating will receive a free book!

Bright by Text is a free parent and caregiver messaging program that sends tips and resources promoting child development, targeted to a child’s age from 0 to 5 years old. It is designed to be relevant to today’s families, providing quality information and trusted resources to any caregiver, including hard-to-reach, low income families and informal caregivers. The messages are comprised of research-based content from Bright by Three and other trusted providers and include PBS and Vroom content. Sign up by texting FAMILY or FAMILIA to 274448.

Local Resources

Here are some local resources to assist in providing support for the literacy development of your child. Click on any of the image logos to visit their website.


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If you would like to support the POWER initiative, please let us know.

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