Did you know that a child’s brain is 90 percent developed by age five? This is why it’s important to read to children. Reading teaches language skills that last a lifetime. Promoting early childhood brain development is part of our Children’s Health Initiative (CHI). CHI helps to improve health and well-being of children from pregnancy through age five.

In our primary care clinics, children ages 0 to 5 receive new books at each well-child visit. This is part of the Reach Out and Read program. Some of our specialty centers and hospitals are joining in on the fun too!

Methodist Hospital knows that children who are read to enter school knowing 20,000 words. When a child is not read to, they enter school knowing only 3,000 words. Hospital team members are big fans of the Reach Out and Read program. They built a bookshelf to hold free books for anyone to take home. The bookshelf is packed full of books donated by hospital team members.

Methodist doesn’t see as many kids as a primary clinic does. But they believe the bookshelf is successful.

“We definitely see value in the bookshelf,” said Eric Graff, Director of Clinical Nursing at Methodist. “I don’t really care how many books people are taking because if they’re going to read them – great! And if not, they now have more books than before their visit.”

Welcoming reading at Westfields Hospital & Clinic

Westfields has been a long-time supporter of Reach Out and Read. But they wanted to share their love of reading with the community.

“We saw the Little Free Library at Hudson Hospital & Clinic and we thought it would be a great idea for our community. We know how important promoting reading is,” said Laurie Harvieux, Communication Manager at Westfields.

Westfields joined a trend that’s sweeping the nation when the installed the library. Located near the entrance, the library offers the chance to take, leave or exchange a book. All the books were donated and are free for anyone. This Little Free Library does not only house children’s books. There is a good selection of adult books. When children see adults reading, they’re encouraged to read.

Handing out books at the HealthPartners Specialty Centers

A doctor at the HealthPartners Specialty Center wanted to host a book drive. The collected books would be put on new bookshelves at both centers. The doctor knew this was a great way to support children’s literacy and give the community a chance to spring clean.

“It’s great to be able to support CHI but we also like that it gives everyone the opportunity to recycle intelligently and easily,” said Deb McNeelyGoodell, Senior Administrative Assistant at the 401 Specialty Center.

Learn more about Reach Out and Read and our Children’s Health Initiative.