February 3, 2020 | 20th Anniversary
On January 29th, Raising Readers presented its 3 millionth book to 5-year-old triplets during a special event at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, officially kicking off the program’s 20th Anniversary.
The 5-year-old triplets have been patients at the Maine Medical Partners Pediatric Clinic since they were born. Their pediatrician, Stephen DiGiovanni, M.D., presented each of them with a copy of “Baabwaa and Wooliam,” by David Elliott and Maine illustrator Melissa Sweet. The book is one of the Raising Readers selections for 5-year-olds this year.
“Raising Readers books support a love of reading, self-confidence and loving attachments between parents and their children. Each time a book is shared between a loving adult and a child, it opens opportunities for lots of back and forth interactions that are fun while building a strong foundation in a child’s brain for all future learning and development.” – Dr. DiGiovanni
Also in attendance was one of the very first Raising Readers graduates, Maine-based illustrator Melissa Sweet, and the Libra Foundation, the program’s sole funder.
“Since its inception 20 years ago, Raising Readers has consistently demonstrated that early literacy is critical to a healthy and vibrant future for Maine children,” said Craig Denekas, CEO of the Libra Foundation. “The act of simply reading together for any family is indispensable.”
It has been 20 years since Raising Readers began giving books – free of charge – to every Maine child between the ages of birth and 5 through partnerships with hospitals, medical practices and health care providers. Raising Readers is led and administered by MaineHealth in collaboration with Northern Light Health and with support from The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center. Raising Readers has given books to approximately 290,000 Maine children since 2000.
Through the simple act of giving children books, Raising Readers shares the powerful message that literacy begins well before children enter kindergarten and supports the well-documented link between health and literacy.