The pediatric-care doctors at the Community Health Center Winter Garden know the importance of reading to children.
During annual checkups, each child up to age 5 is given a new book to take home, along with a prescription for reading. These are the key components of the national Reach Out and Read literacy program. CHCWG, now located at 13275 W. Colonial Drive, has participated in this literacy effort for more than a decade.
The doctors advise parents to read to their child every day, read together as a family every day, share a book every night at bedtime and visit the library with their child once a month.
Many local children now look forward to the medical appointments. At just 12 months old, the little patients are already well acquainted with reading and books, pointing to images, turning the pages, smiling and clapping their hands with excitement.
Educators continually report that there are children right here in West Orange County who have no books in their homes or whose parents don’t take advantage of the books and services available at local libraries.
The CHCWG is one local agency attempting to close this literacy gap.
The Reach Out and Read effort stimulates kids at an early age to read and encourages speech development. It also creates good interaction between parents and children.
In addition to the books and reading tips for parents, the center also features volunteer readers in its pediatric waiting room to entertain children and make the time pass more quickly. These volunteers are trained by the Adult Literacy League.
The West Orange Times’ Reading Reindeer program has been donating books to the CHCWG for more than a 15 years. If you donate, fill out the coupon on page 13A and place it in your book donation, so the Times can list all donors at the end of the book drive.
Any new book suitable for a child from infancy through middle school is appropriate.
For more, call Kathy Aber at (407) 929-2676.