The new pediatric team at CHANGE, Inc.’s Family Medical Care Community Health Center is treating children by the book – or more precisely, treating them to a book – with an initiative aimed at creating lifelong readers.
The Free Books for Kids program, created by CHANGE, Inc.’s pediatricians, Dr. Kailey Littleton and Dr. Paul Macdonald, gives Family Medical Care pediatric patients and their families books during well child visits. By the time children graduate from the program, they will have a home library of 15-20 classic children’s books.
“CHANGE, Inc. doctors and nurse practitioners have great access to families with children in the early years, when it counts – more than 91% of children under the age of six attend routine pediatric visits at least once a year,” Dr. Macdonald said. “We encourage parents to read aloud daily to their infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school age children as a simple and effective way of fostering and nurturing language-rich family interactions that support brain development and provide a foundation for success.”
In addition to medical check-ups and information, well child visits at CHANGE Inc. include:
- Talking with parents about how important it is to read aloud and engage with their young children
- Demonstrating how best to look at books and talk about the stories with their infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school age children
- Encouraging parents to cuddle up with their children and read together at home and to build routines around books
- Giving the childa new book to take home and keep
CHANGE, Inc. has committed fully to the program, recently purchasing 750 children’s books to kick off the Free Books for Kids. The eventual goal will be to give out 1,500 books a year to the children of West Virginia and Ohio.
“Our medical providers give literacy advice to parents and a quality age appropriate book for all children at their well child visits from birth to age 12,” said CHANGE, Inc. CEO, Judy Raveaux. “As a special kick off celebration of literacy, for the rest of 2017, all children from birth to age 12 will receive a free book during any scheduled medical appointment.”
Both Dr. Kailey Littleton, who joined CHANGE, Inc.’s Family Medical Care pediatric team in August 2016, and Dr. Macdonald, who started in March 2017, have given away books to kids in their medical offices throughout their careers. Dr. Macdonald in particular has over 17 years of experience working with diverse literacy programs including Reach Out and Read, The Dolly Parton Imagination Library and Reading is Fundamental.
Books for the program are chosen from trusted names in children’s books: Scholastic, All About Books and Interstate Books 4 Kids. The books are hand selected by Dr. Macdonald and Dr. Littleton, and paid for by CHANGE, Inc.
“We view books for kids as importantly as any other medical supply that we would buy for our office,” Dr. Macdonald said.
Research shows that a third of young children in the United States, and half of children living in poverty, arrive at kindergarten without the skills that they need for success at school. Students who enter kindergarten with little to no exposure to reading have a much higher chance of dropping out of school later in life.
“By giving young children books – and encouraging parents to read to their children — we are creating a foundation for success that combats the effects of income inequality,” Dr. Macdonald said.
CHANGE, Inc.’s pediatric team operates out of the Newell, WV and Wintersville, OH Family Medical Care offices. New patients from any socioeconomic background are welcome. Contact one of the offices to make an appointment by calling 304-459-4010 or 740-314-8258.
CHANGE, Inc., which stands for Christians Helping Arrange New Growth Enterprises, is a community action and health agency that serves northern West Virginia (Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler, and Doddridge Counties) and surrounding communities in Jefferson County, Ohio, providing various programs and services to those in need.
CHANGE, Inc. encourages the integration of services, the building of partnerships, and the consolidating of resources to empower families towards healthy self-sufficient living. For more information on CHANGE, Inc.’s programs and services, visit www.changeinc.org.