Sunday, December 17, 2006

But what about the poor waiting rooms?

Some years ago, seeing children with poor reading skills crowding his clinic, [Dr. Barry Zuckerman] and his colleagues stocked the waiting room with used books from their own children's shelves. Soon, however, the books began to disappear as kids stole them and took them home. When a colleague complained angrily that he wouldn't contribute any more to the waiting room's supply, Dr. Zuckerman had a happier reaction to the pilferage. "Well, maybe that's good," he remembered himself saying. "They'll have them at home." Then he made a little joke: "We should just give the books to the kids." The joke became a nationwide program, Reach Out and Read, which has enlisted six hundred clinics across the country to give a book to every child who visits. "Actually," Dr. Zuckerman declared, "we get bigger smiles -- I swear to God -- for books than for lollipops."
David K. Shipler, The Working Poor: Invisible In America 225 (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004).

I found Reach Out and Read's web site here. You can make a donation here -- I just did.

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