The Will County Health Department Community Health Center’s “Reach out and Read” program encourages children between six months and five years of age to get started reading. This special effort takes place during the Pediatric Wellness 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.
The Community Health Center (CHC) has announced they are very much in need of a new supply of books for this program. Both gently used and new books are accepted. In addition to having books available to be read to the children while in the waiting room, the goal of the “Reach Out and Read” program is for each child to take home ten books by the time they reach school age, receiving one book after each of the recommended wellness visits, at 6,9,12,15, and 18 months of age, and also at 2,3,4, and 5 yrs.
Having the books available to be taken home can be especially crucial for children from families struggling financially, and may lack the money to supply their children with books.
In 2013, the Community Health Center’s participation in Reach Out and Read earned them the Richard Robinson award. The award is named after Robinson, who led the way as Scholastic Inc. became the largest distributor of children’s books after his arrival in the mid-70s.
The CHC’s program received a huge boost in 2015, when the “Reach Out and Read” organization donated over $2,100.00 to help with the purchase of over one-thousand age appropriate storybooks to distribute to children after their exams.
Now, in 2018, the CHC is calling for all Will County residents with children’s books they no longer need to make donations at 1106 Neal Avenue in Joliet. You can also check and see if your area bookstore or library is accepting donations for “Reach Out and Read.”
In addition, more volunteers to read aloud to the children are always welcome. Anyone interested may contact Thomas Edwards at the CHC, 815-774-7375. The volunteer readers are needed from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.