Pascoag Children "Treated" to Gift of Literacy

November 1st, 2010

On Saturday, October 23rd, WellOne Primary Medical and Dental Care (“WellOne”) joined together with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) and Reach Out and Read Rhode Island (RORRI) in Pascoag to “treat” local children to the joy of books and the gift of literacy.

In conjunction with Pascoag’s annual Pumpkin Festival, the three organizations hosted seasonally-themed story times with complementary refreshments at WellOne’s community health center and provided each attending child with an age-appropriate book of his or her choice. Nearly 60 books were distributed by the end of the night to the delighted audience along with gallons of cider, bags of popcorn, and sugarless lollipops.

Carolyn Belisle, Director of Community Relations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island distributes free books to eager children; Melissa Chiavaroli, Program Coordinator, Reach Out and Read RI, enthralls costumed characters with a story

“Reach Out and Read provides an invaluable service by promoting the development of critical early reading skills in children through the unique relationship between parents and medical providers. We at WellOne are proud to participate in this program by distributing books during our pediatric wellness visits and encouraging parents to read to their children”, stated WellOne President & CEO, Peter Bancroft. “We are also grateful to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island for their funding this service for our patients.”

With more than one-third of American children entering kindergarten without the basic skills needed to learn to read, the Reach Out and Read program was designed to help those children who enter school unprepared. Critical early literacy skills, including recognizing the letters of the alphabet, understanding that books move from left to right, and being able to understand and tell stories, are essential skills for taking the next step in learning to read. These programs promote early literacy and school readiness with a research-tested, evidence-based model that’s proven to help children develop the language skills they will need to learn to read and succeed in school.

About Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read (ROR) is an evidence-based nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud. In Rhode Island, there are 44 health care sites handing out more than 60,000 books to 33,551 children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Association.

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