Wednesday, November 07, 2001

Reading prescribed for smallest patients

By Denise Smith Amos
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Several dozen doctors and nurses were on their knees, pawing through hundreds of new children's and infants' books. Every once in a while, one would stop and read — Dr. Seuss' works were among the favorites.

        The health workers are part of a literacy program launched this week by Cincinnati Community Action Now.

        The program, called Reach Out and Read, trains doctors and nurses in how to instruct parents to regularly read with their children. The program also provides free books to children between 6 months and 5 years old when they go to a doctor's office or clinic.

        Nationwide, the program has given away more than 1.4 million books to children and their parents. Cincinnati CAN expects to hand out 10,000 books, said co-chair Ross Love.

        Doctors give away a book at each visit and encourage parents to hold their children and read to them regularly.

        “It does have health benefits, in that it brings the parent and the child closer together,” said Linnea Lose, a communications volunteer for CAN.

        Volunteers, including Cincinnati police officers, will also read to children in waiting rooms.

        The program is available at some suburban health facilities, but is being launched at clinics in Price Hill, Madisonville, Northside, Millvale, Elm Street, West End, Winton Hills and Lincoln Heights.


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