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Books galore as Akron Children’s celebrates ‘Read Across America Day’

Going to the doctor for a check-up was a special experience for sick and healthy children alike at Akron Children’s pediatrician offices on Friday. They each received a new book to keep and many enjoyed a special story time with librarians from the local library.

Two-year-old Eliza McKinney of Green learns about zebras and giraffes from Elaine Melvin, a children’s librarian at the Portage Lakes Branch Library, after a visit with the doctor at ACHP Green on Friday.

Two-year-old Eliza McKinney of Green learns about zebras and giraffes from Elaine Melvin, a children’s librarian at the Portage Lakes Branch Library, after a visit with the doctor at ACHP Green on Friday.

The activities were in honor of Read Across America Day, which celebrates the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.

Children’s librarian Elaine Melvin from the Portage Lakes Branch of Akron-Summit County Public Library set up in the lobby of Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics Green to entertain and educate young children with pop-up books and bookmark crafts.

According to Karen Carbaugh, the hospital’s Reach Out and Read early literacy program coordinator, about 1,900 children received a book on Friday.

The following Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics (ACHP) offices and libraries offered a story time too: ACHP Ashland with Ashland Public Library; ACHP Ellet / Springfield with Akron-Summit County Public Library (Ellet Branch); ACHP Green with from Portage Lakes Branch Library; ACHP Hudson with Hudson Library & Historical Society; ACHP Kent and Streetsboro with Kent Free Library; ACHP New Philadelphia with Dover Public Library; ACHP Tallmadge with Tallmadge Library; ACHP Wadsworth with Wadsworth Public Library, ACHP Wooster with Wayne County Public Library, and Locust Pediatric Care Group with Akron-Summit County Public Library.

“Today and every other day, Akron Children’s and our friends at the library share a common goal – to help parents and their children develop a love of books and reading, thus enhancing the development of early literacy skills,” said Carbaugh. “More than one third of children enter kindergarten unprepared with basic language skills needed to learn to read.”

To help children with reading skills, Dr. Emmanuel Adekunle of ACHP Green suggests:

  • Find a time and comfortable place that works for your family.
  • Make it fun.
  • Avoid background noise and distractions like TVs, radios and computers.
  • Read with expression by creating different voices, varying the speed with which you read and using your body language, facial expressions and gestures to help tell the story.
  • As the child gets older, involve him in the story by asking questions.
  • Go to the library; attend story time.
  • Find reading opportunities in everyday life.

Akron Children’s Reach Out and Read program distributes more than 40,000 new books each year at 20 primary care locations throughout northeast Ohio and also offers the program at many subspecialty physician offices in the Mahoning Valley.

Through this year-round national program, pediatricians give children ages 6 months to 5 years a new, age-appropriate book at each well check-up appointment. The program is funded by outside sources, most notably Kohl’s Department Stores through its Kohl’s Cares for Kids program.

To donate new and gently used children’s books or to volunteer to read to patients, call 330-543-8068 in Akron or 330-729-9247 in Mahoning Valley.

The gently used books are available to children of all ages in the office waiting rooms. Patients and their siblings are encouraged to take a book home with them to keep.

To learn more, watch this video featuring Dr. Adekunle.