Eat well, exercise, get plenty of rest, and read every day. At The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), we believe reading and developing a healthy mind is just as important as developing a healthy body. Since 1996, CHOP has been a member of Reach Out and Read — a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care.
Dr. Stephen Ludwig, Dr. Trude Haecker, Dr. Joseph St. Geme, Dr. Mary Fabio, 3-year-old Ashton, David Rosenberg, and Jasmine Witherspoon
On Tuesday, June 21, CHOP’s Reach Out and Read program gave away its one-millionth book to Jasmine Witherspoon and her 3-year-old daughter, Ashton. Ashton’s love of reading started when Mary Fabio, MD, gave Ashton a book during one of her well-visits at the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center.
“One of the most important things that I learned from Dr. Fabio is that I should read a lot to Ashton”, says Jasmine. “Ashton gets really excited when Dr. Fabio comes into the room and she can’t wait to get her little hands on her new book! This is where she developed her love for books and reading, and it all started with Dr. Fabio giving us that first book.”
Trude Haecker, MD, medical director of Reach Out and Read at CHOP, stresses the importance of the entire family coming together to read. “We want to develop a love of books and reading within the entire family”, says Dr. Haecker. “We’ve found Reach Out and Read parents are four-times more likely to read aloud to their children. Research shows when you read aloud to babies and young children, it helps promote brain development. That can then lead to earlier language acquisition skills, higher literacy and reading comprehension once the child goes to school.”
Today there are 10 CHOP Primary Care sites throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey that participate in Reach Out and Read. Each year, 38,000 new books are needed for well visits (ages 6-months through 5 years), and more than 200,000 gently new books are needed to give to children of all ages.