NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray Reads to Children at Kings County Hospital Center to Promote Early Literacy
Brooklyn, NY (April 17, 2014) — Chirlane McCray, New York City’s First Lady and Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, read aloud to children and families at NYC Health and Hospital Corporation’s (HHC) Kings County Hospital Center (KCHC).
The reading was organized by Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, which has an ongoing partnership with the hospital to provide free children’s books to patients 6-months through 5-years-old, and to encourage parents to start reading with their children at a young age. In the past year, pediatricians at KCHC distributed over 14,000 books to Brooklyn families.
Ms. McCray read the popular counting book “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” to an attentive group of children in the pediatric waiting area. With many public schools on Spring Break, the hospital was full of children visiting for checkups. These children also received a healthy dose of literacy, thanks to Ms. McCray and the Reach Out and Read of Greater New York program.
“Medical care is the focus of our daily work, but it’s very important that we encourage the overall well-being of our patients,” said Lee Waldman, MD, Director of Pediatric Service at HHC KCHC and a Reach Out and Read Medical Champion. “Reading to children, and encouraging their educational growth, is crucial to their long-term health, development, self-esteem and success in life.”
Early education has been a priority of the de Blasio’s administration. The focus of the reading at KCHC was on school readiness, emphasizing that parents can lay a foundation for academic success simply by making reading part of a daily routine for their children.
“Ninety percent of brain development occurs between birth and 5 years of age – these are critical learning years,” said Traci Lester, Executive Director of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York. “Our Reach Out and Read pediatricians want parents to know that reading with their babies and toddlers for just 20 minutes each day can go a long way to help get their kids ready for school.”
Kings County Hospital Center (KCHC) is a 627-bed facility that serves the communities of Central Brooklyn, East New York-New Lots and Flatbush. KCHC, a teaching hospital, is part of NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), and the Central Brooklyn Family Health Network. KCHC is a Level I Trauma Center for Adults and the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center in Brooklyn. It is a NYSDOH Designated AIDS Center; a Stroke Center; and has also been designated as a Center of Excellence for Diabetes and for Parkinson Disease. KCHC has played a major role in providing health care to vulnerable populations in Brooklyn since 1831.
Photos by Melanie Einzig