Raising Readers: Changing the Conversation to Wellness

Raising Readers featured on WCSH’s 207

We are over the moon to have been given the spotlight on WCSH 6’s 207 recently.

Over the past 18 years, thanks to the Libra Foundation’s generous funding, we’ve helped over 260,000 children start their very own home libraries. Building these libraries starts at birth when hospitals, midwiferies, and adoption agencies share a tote of Raising Readers books with Maine families. After that, from 2 months to 5 years, every Maine child at every check-up receives a book from their doctor.

At the very beginning, we started with distributing books to doctor’s offices out of the trunk of a car. Now, doctor’s offices order the books they need right online, and they are delivered to their office like any of their other medical and office supplies.

In the 207 feature, Dr. Brian Youth talks about how the simple act of giving the children and families a book changes the conversation at the visit to be more focused on wellness than illness. It is an opportunity to talk about the importance of reading with families, brain development, and having overall healthy habits. The conversation naturally goes to how to keep your child physically and mentally healthy.

During the segment, Amanda Hill highlights our website. Visitors can see why every book given over the past 18 years is such a good read and why we chose each one. Every Raising Readers book is carefully chosen by a committee of doctors, nurses, educators, and parents. With the committee’s help, we can ensure each book is just right for children at that particular age.

We should also add that we loved hearing Rob Caldwell is a huge champion of reading!

Raising Readers is the largest statewide early literacy initiative in the country, said Deborah Deatrick, MaineHealth’s Senior Vice President. Deb, who was instrumental in founding the program nearly two decades ago, is pleased to say that Maine continues to be identified as one of the states with the highest rate of reading aloud to children.

We’re always happy to hear stories from our community on what Raising Readers means to you, whether your family is receiving books or you just heard about the program on 207. Post your thoughts on our Facebook page or email them to info@raisingreaders.org.

Raising Readers on WCSH 6 207

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