The Reach Out and Read Program continues to be a major part of the Will County Health Department Community Health Center. Children between six months and five years old are encouraged to get reading during their Well-Check pediatric exams.
Thanks to donated books and trained volunteers who read to the children while in the waiting room, families are encouraged to promote school success by including reading aloud as part of routine pediatric care and development.
A child is read to by a volunteer while in the waiting room, and then receives an appropriate storybook to take home after their Well-Check exam. The goal is for each child to have 10 new books by the time they are school age. This can be especially crucial for children from families that live below the poverty line,and may lack the money to supply their children with books.
“It is just exciting to watch. You see children and parents interacting together,” said Community Health Center Pediatrician Dr. Carletha Hughes. “This program incorporates literacy, and encourages family bonding through reading instead of through other forms of entertainment.”
In 2013, the Community Health Center’s participation in Reach Out and Read earned it the Richard Robinson Award. Scholastic Inc. became the largest distributor of children’s books under Robinson’s leadership.
In 2015, Read Out and Read donated over $2,100 to help the Community Health Center purchase over 1,000 age-appropriate storybooks to distribute to children after their exams.
The Will County Health Department Community Health Center continues to ask for the donation of gently used children’s books for this program. Stop by the Center, 1106 Neal Avenue, Joliet, or o see if your bookstore or library is accepting donations.
In addition, if you would like to be a volunteer who reads to the children in the waiting room, please contact: Thomas Edwards at 815-774-7375
Volunteer readers are needed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.