United Way of Greater Toledo once again has awarded funding for Reach Out and Read in Lucas County and has added funding for program enhancement and expansion in Wood County.
Reach Out and Read of Northwest Ohio, coordinated by The University of Toledo Department of Pediatrics, gives young children from birth to age 5 a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.“United Way funding allows primary care physicians and staff to pair a valuable tool — a developmentally appropriate book — with the message to parents that creating a language-rich home environment is a crucial step to ensure ready-for-school kids,” said Dr. Valarie Stricklen, UT associate professor of pediatrics and medical director of Rocket Pediatrics.
With new funding for Wood County, Reach Out and Read of Northwest Ohio will add more partner sites and expand its community reach, said Lori LeGendre, program director of Reach Out and Read of Northwest Ohio.
“Medical providers teaching parents about the importance of literacy in daily routines is an important step to not only develop kids who are ready to learn, but who will also grow up to be better advocates for their own health,” LeGendre said.
There are currently 25 participating medical offices in northwest Ohio, including the UT Health Rocket Pediatrics sites. The local program distributes more than 26,000 new books each year.
Founded in 1989, Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit organization that partners with more than 5,800 sites around the country and distributes 6.8 million books each year.