Million Books To Needy Children:
Dr. Perri Klass & Dr. Brian McDonough Celebrate
Pola Rosen, Ed.D.
Out and Read (ROR), a national literacy program that introduces
children as young as six months of age to the world of books through
the combined efforts of pediatric providers, educators and volunteer
readers, held a benefit event in Manhattan recently. The mission
of ROR is to provide books in the hands and homes of every young
child. Since 1997, 1,200 pediatricians and other health providers
have “prescribed” and given out over 1.1 million books to the
neediest children in New York. The pediatricians are passionate
about their commitment to counsel parents on the importance of
reading to their children and to see that our poorest children
grow up owning their very own books. The program also has volunteers
who read aloud for a total of 103,000 hours in 71 New York area
hospital and clinic waiting rooms. ROR is endorsed by the American
Academy of Pediatrics.
The evening was emceed by Dr. Brian McDonough, 1010 WINS radio
medical expert. The 2002 ROR Hero Award was presented to publisher
Houghton Mifflin, a division of Vivendi Universal, by Dr. Perri
Klass, noted author and Medical Director of ROR National Office.
Accepting was Jane Lecompte for Nader Darehshori, Chairman of
Houghton Mifflin. Dr. Klass, an assistant professor of pediatrics
at Boston University School of Medicine summed up her sentiments
about Reach Out and Read in an email from Boston. It makes a “tremendous
difference to me in the exam room. I find that having the book
with me changes my whole approach to the child. I love watching
my patients take the books, and, according to their ages, chew
on them, examine them, name the pictures, turn the pages, giggle
at funny images, or erupt into questions. I love helping parents
understand and appreciate their children's potential for connecting
with books and stories. And I love watching the books go home
with the children and knowing that there will be books in the
home to read and return to and enjoy.”
Vera B. Williams, author and illustrator, presented the ROR Volunteer
of the Year award to Belle Rothberg, retired English professor.
Rothberg first volunteered on the pediatric wards at Bellevue
while recovering from a broken hip. She started college at the
age of 45, and at age 78 she joined the Peace Corps, serving in
Poland, her parents’ birthplace.#
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