Lehighton News

Published on December 12th, 2018

St. Luke’s Receives $60,000 Grant to Promote Literacy Among Carbon County Youth

St. Luke’s Reach Out and Read program has received a $60,000 grant from the Carbon County Community Foundation. St. Luke’s University Health Network, a longtime partner of Reach Out and Read, will use the money to help meet the literacy needs of pediatric patients in Carbon County.

Reach Out and Read (ROR) prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by training doctors and nurses to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and by giving books to children at checkups from 6 months through 5 years. Through Reach Out and Read, each child starts kindergarten with a home library of up to 10 new, carefully chosen books and a parent who has heard at every health supervision visit about the importance of books and reading.

“This project has the potential to impact 1,500 children ages 6 months to 5 years in Carbon County in one year,” said Rosemarie Lister, Community Health Liaison for SLUHN. Participating practices are: Palmerton Pediatrics, Lehighton Family Practice, Nesquehoning Primary Care and Nesquehoning Rural Health Center.

Healthcare providers attend a one-hour continuing medical education course online on how to instruct parents on techniques for reading aloud to their children and the importance of making reading a fun part of daily life, Lister said. The program emphasizes teaching families how to enjoy looking at board books and naming pictures with infants, the importance of using rhyme and repetition with toddlers, and asking open-ended questions when reading with preschoolers. ROR not only encourages reading, but singing, talking and playing as well.

Promoting Oral Health Part of the Program

Also, as part of the grant, St. Luke’s Community Health will be providing books and materials that promote oral health literacy as Carbon County is located in a dental health provider shortage area. ROR provides an opportunity to align with the American Academy of Pediatrics Brush, Book and Bed Program where families can learn more ways to value oral health through the fun and engaging reading.

“Studies show that building early literacy is critical to developing reading ability and succeeding in school and life,” said Dianne Jacobetz, MD, FAAP, St. Luke’s Physician Group, Regional Medical Director of Pediatrics. “This grant enables our providers to teach parents about the importance of reading aloud with their children every day and give developmentally appropriate books to children. It is a wonderful opportunity for both St. Luke’s family healthcare providers and families in Carbon County.”

About Carbon County Community Foundation

Carbon County Community Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all residents of their region, now and forever. The Foundation accomplishes this by inspiring individuals to respond to community needs through charitable giving, bringing resources and ideas together to identify common community needs and goals and propose solutions, and creating funds to support the many facets of society that make a community worth living in including arts and culture, community and economic development, education and scholarships, social services and youth issues, health and wellness, environment and historic preservation. CCCF envisions a vibrant and sustainable community empowered through charitable giving.

About Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read was founded in 1989 with its first program at Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center). By 2001, dramatic growth brought the Reach Out and Read model to all 50 states, with almost 1,500 sites distributing 1.6 million books per year. Today, Reach Out and Read partners with more than 5,800 program sites and distributes 6.9 million books per year. The program currently serves one in four children living in poverty in this country.

Photo Caption: (From left to right) Jennifer DeJesus, St. Luke’s Palmerton Pediatrics Medical Assistant;Tammy Lobach, CRNP, St. Luke’s Nesquehoning Rural Health Center; Amber Breiner, Executive Director, Carbon County Community Foundation; Dr. Mira Slizovsky, MD, St. Luke’s Pediatric Associates.

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