The Valley Children’s Literacy Program promotes and encourages children in Central California to become lifelong readers. Statistics show that 16% of parents with children under three years of age do not read to their children at all and 23% do so only once or twice a week. Reading difficulties and illiteracy contribute to school failure, increasing absenteeism, school drop-outs, juvenile delinquency, increased crime, teen pregnancy, drug use and other problems that impact our community. Studies show the easiest way to increase literacy among pre-school and school age children is to simply read to them.
Valley Children’s hosts quarterly Literacy Fairs where volunteers from the community read to children throughout the Hospital. In the past, volunteer readers have ranged from college professors and law enforcement officers to Target and Comcast associates. Every child who participates receives a book and bookmark.
Doctors and medical staff at Valley Children’s talk to families about the importance of reading and actually write special prescriptions for parents to read to their children. Patients receive a book each time they visit participating practices.
The Hospital also joins national literacy efforts like Read Across America, Read for the Record and Children’s Book Week. Special events like Dr. Seuss birthday parties and read-ins highlight the importance of reading.
Valley Children’s volunteers visit outpatient practice waiting rooms to read aloud to children, showing parents and children the pleasures and techniques of looking at books together.
Valley Children's partners with community organizations to provide health fairs for families and children in under-represented neighborhoods. During those fairs, Valley Children’s physicians and nurses read with kids and give out hundreds of books.
The Valley Children’s Literacy Program is funded through a combination of local and federal grant funds, including those from Reach Out and Read, Bank of America, Target and The Bertha and John Garabedian Charitable Foundation.
For more information on the Valley Children's Literacy Program, please contact the Medical Library at (559) 353-6178.