Susan Stock and Judy Mayer, English professors at Union County College, created a Reach Out and Read center at Plainfield Health Center, now known as Neighborhood health Center of Plainfield in 2002-3 as a sabbatical project.
Reach Out and Read (ROR) is a unique program that promotes early literacy. The Doctor gives the parent a new book to read to the child as a prescription for their minds. The program encourages parents to read to their children. It provides book for caregivers of children from six months to 5 years. There are also gently used books in the waiting room for the children to read and take home.
Sue Stock kept the ROR effort going for several years after the sabbatical ended, and since I live fairly close to PHC, I would help her stock the physicians shelves with books for them to distribute. I also started going to end of library book sales where they sell what remains for $5 to $8 a bag, rather than put it in the dumpster! For the last few years, I've taken over as the primary volunteer and visit book sales a couple of times a month when they happen in the spring and fall (I find them mainly using BookSaleFinder.) I fill my car with board books and line the shelves of my garage until I can bring them to the health center, 3 boxes a week. I separate the books into "Like New", which the doctors give to the children's caregiver on a health checkup visit as a prescription for the child's brain. And the books that look used I put in a bookshelf in the pediatric waiting room with a sign that says to take one or two books that your child likes home with you.
If you have any books for very young children - either board books or picture books with only a few sentences per page, I would be delighted to find happy homes for them. If you know of any end of library sales and best of all the person to contact there, please tell.
Read more at about the ROR at PHC in the news at:
Reach OutAndRead New Jersey
And from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Tips for reading with toddlers ages 1-2 years.
Tips for reading with toddlers ages 2-3 years
Pre-schooler between ages 3 and 5
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