Community Partners Host “Reading Fun in the Park!” to Encourage Children’s Literacy

Staff Report

Courtesy photo Dr. Molly O’Rourke Reading in the Park with parents.

Several community partners in Perry County came together to host the “Reading Fun in the Park!” event at Perry County Park on Tuesday, May 10, including Save the Children, Reach Out and Read, Perry County Public Library, Perry County Schools, Hazard Rotary Club, Primary Care Center, VISTA, Perry County Literacy Council and Anthem Blue Cross BlueShield Medicaid.

Thirty-three (31) children and over twenty (27) parents, grandparents and caregivers gathered at the beautiful Senior Citizen’s log cabin in the park to enjoy a cookout provided by Perry County School’s Food Services.

Dr. Molly O’Rourke, a pediatrician with Primary Care Center of Eastern Kentucky spoke to parents, grandparents and caregivers about the importance of reading to children right from the start. She read “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” to the group of children gathered around her on the stage and modeled for parents how to effectively engage children in books by reading with enthusiasm, pointing out pictures, and asking questions.

Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success Coordinators Pam Brewer and Kendra Dixon, School Age Program Coordinator Kelly Coots, Kandice Feltner-Volunteer, and VISTA workers Holly Wooton and Fallon Fields facilitated a fun activity for children where they created their own “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” trees made out of bananas, apple slices and graham cracker letters.

Kristin Collins with the Hazard Rotary Club spoke to the group about Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a project that the Rotary Club sponsors for all of Perry County. Children ages 0-5 can register for this program to receive a new, high quality free book in the mail from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library every single month until age 5!

Terry Delph from the Perry County Public Library provided over 200 free books to families. Kids and families had fun going through the bins to select armloads of books to take home!

Reach Out and Read (ROR) provided a new free copy of the “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” book for each child through a grant in partnership with Save the Children-Innovative Approaches to Literacy” from the US Department of Education. Older siblings also received a new, free book. Marsha Garrison, ROR Coordinator talked to the group about the work that Reach Out and Read is doing in Perry County. ROR is a national organization that provides a research-based program through health providers across the nation to encourage and support children’s literacy. Pediatricians, nurse practitioners and other medical staff who provide well child exams can receive training on how parents can support their children about reading to children from birth helps to strengthen brain development and reading and language development.

Grace Nelson, Community Relations Representative for Eastern Kentucky from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Medicaid provided a table with insurance information and resources for families.

Sherry Spradlin, Marketing Director for Perry County Fiscal Court coordinated a donation of two toddler-size bicycles from the Fiscal Court that were given as door prizes. County Judge Executive Scott Alexander joined the group briefly to talk to the children about the importance of reading.

Save the Children provided five gift certificates for subscriptions to “Family Fun” and “Parent” magazines. Families were invited to do a StoryWalk which featured The ROR book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

Stay tuned for the next event this fall!

For more information, please contact Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success Coordinators [email protected] and [email protected]

Courtesy photo Dr. Molly O’Rourke Reading in the Park with parents. photo Dr. Molly O’Rourke Reading in the Park with parents.

Staff Report

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