Winthrop-University Hospital's Reach Out and Read Program recently was awarded two grants to support the important national literacy program.
Ann greets children in the waiting area, offering a book of their choice before entertaining them with interactive storytelling.
Six-year-old Justin Rydberg (left) and his younger sister, Saira, are mesmerized by the tale, asking questions with each turn of the page.
Since implementing the federal program at Winthrop in 2001, Winthrop Pediatric Associates, along with its two affiliated facilities, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Health Center in Wyandanch and Winthrop Pediatrics Associates-Hempstead, has provided young patients, aged six months to five-years-old, with new, developmentally appropriate books.
Serving more than 7,000 children annually, the Hospital's program relies on financial contributions. Recently, the Verizon Corporation awarded $2,500 and Target Corporation donated $1,500. Every dollar netted through donations, fundraisers and funds from the national program is earmarked to purchase books for distribution by the pediatricians and residents during each child's visit.
"It is a win-win situation for all involved," explained William Bryson- Brockmann, PhD, Chief of Behavioral- Developmental Pediatrics, Program Coordinator. "We see a smiling, happy kid who learns to love to read and go to the doctor, and parents walk away with a brand new book to read to their child.
More importantly, research shows that children, who are part of the program, increase their receptive and expressive language. It's positive all around." The popular program also is supported by a team of volunteers who work in the waiting room reading to children, demonstrating appropriate reading styles to the parents.
(L-R) Ann Kutch, Winthrop volunteer; Rose St.
Fleur, MD, Medical Director of Reach Out and Read Program at Winthrop; William Bryson- Brockmann, PhD, program coordinator; Renée Petersen, program co-coordinator.
"It's a very fulfilling job because as you work with and mentor the kids to teach them how to enjoy reading, you also have a good time with them," said Renée Petersen, Reach Out and Read Co-Coordinator.
Those interested in contributing either monies or new books, please contact either Renée at (516) 663- 4412 or Dr. Bryson-Brockmann at (516) 663-4432.