Children at New York Health Centers Celebrate Reading
August 2013 — Children across the Greater New York region visited their doctors last week – not for checkups, but to celebrate reading. Children’s book readings in hospitals and health centers promoted reading aloud as one of the best ways families can help babies and young children develop the language skills they’ll need for success in school.
“Reading with young children is like putting money in the bank, in terms of the developmental and educational benefits,” said Traci Lester, Executive Director of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York. “Each year we celebrate Early Literacy Awareness Week to encourage families with young children to make reading part of their daily routine.”
Reading events were held at health centers in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, Poughkeepsie, and Amenia. Readers included children’s book authors Selina Alko, Artie Bennett, Melanie Hope Greenberg, Dave Reisman, and Reshma Sapre. New York legislators who read aloud to children include: City Council Member Inez Dickens; Assembly Members Didi Barrett, Chad Lupinacci, Walter Mosley, and Linda Rosenthal; and State Senators Brad Hoylman and Terry Gipson. We also had guest readers from Scholastic, TD Bank, and our own Board of Directors. Children at these events enjoyed a special story time and got books of their own to take home.
The grande finale of this special week was a distribution of approximately 50,000 children’s books to hospitals and health centers with the Reach Out and Read program. Volunteer teams from New York Cares helped sort through hundreds of boxes to prepare them for pickup. Volunteers from Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ helped move boxes out to waiting trucks and vans that delivered them to pediatric clinics throughout the region. The books will be given to children at their regular health checkups as part of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York’s children’s literacy program.