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Sue Gates reads 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie' during the ROAR event Tuesday at VGH.

Books can help even the youngest children to develop intellectually; and how a child interacts with books is a very good way to asses how well he or she is developing.

That basic observation is the motivation for the Reach Out And Read (ROAR) program, which officially began yesterday at Virginia Gay Hospitals and Clinics.

Dr. Maggie Mangold told an audience of about 50 people that she interned at a hospital where the ROAR was a success, and she hopes to help many families in the Vinton area through the program.

Each child who visits the clinic will receive a book -- not as a reward for being good through the visit or for sitting still while receiving immunizations, but at the beginning of the visit, Dr. Mangold said.

Both Dr. Mangold and Dr. Brian Meeker discussed the importance of reading in the development of a child's brain. By reading to their children of every age, parents are helping prepare them to learn and creating an opportunity for them to do better when they begin kindergarten.

Another speaker at the event was Molly Olinger-Topf, the leader of the Iowa ROAR coalition. She told the audience that the program began when clinic personnel in Boston noticed that books were disappearing from waiting rooms. Medical staff members chose to look at this not as a problem but as an opportunity to meet a need, she said.

Vinton-Shellsburg School Board President Sue Gates, a former Shellsburg Elementary principal, read "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" to the children who joined their parents at the event in the hospital cafeteria Tuesday afternoon.

The Vinton Lions Club and the VGH Foundation provided funding to help with the program. In addition to the age-appropriate books given to each child during the visits to the clinic, VGH is also accepting donations of books for use in the waiting room.

Reach Out And Read reaches more than 4 million children and expects to distribut 6.5 million books in 500 health care facilities across all 50 states this year.

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Comments (1)

Comgratulations, Maggie, for bringing this program to our clinics. It was inspiring to see the support this effort has received.
By: Don Eells on March 19th 3:35pm

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