Children's Literacy Program
Children who read lead healthier lives!
Donate to the Children's Literacy Program by selecting "Children's Literacy Fund" in the Donor Designation drop-down box.
The goal of Hennepin's Children’s Literacy Program is to connect children with books because literacy experiences are critical to a child’s healthy development. Sharing books and stories stimulates brain growth - the more words children hear, the faster they learn language. Language and vocabulary skills translate into school success, which ultimately leads to better health outcomes in the future. As part of our outreach activities, we help other community organizations in their efforts to bring kids and books together.
TOTAL Books Distributed –This year, staff at the hospital and its clinics will distribute more than 20,000 children’s books to pediatric patients and young visitors. Hennepin’s Children’s Literacy Program is on track to give away its 100,000th book later this year. We distribute books in more than 20 locations, from the Emergency Room and Pediatric Outpatient Clinic to Dentistry and Social Services.
Hennepin's Children’s Literacy Liaison directs and coordinates all aspects of the literacy program, including programming, book purchases, book donations, outreach activities and the supervision of literacy program volunteers. All literacy programs and projects are entirely funded by donations and grants. Volunteers are critical to the program’s success. If you are interested in supporting the literacy program in any way, please contact Lynne Burke, Children’s Literacy Liaison, at 612-873-8954 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Buddy Volunteers
Volunteers track inventory and process all books that come into the Children’s Literacy Program through purchase or donation. They create bilingual books by inserting translated text, provide translations, run an annual book sale and put together the Books for Babies packets. In effect, they do whatever it takes to support Hennepin's Children’s Literacy Program.
Recently one volunteer wrote: Yesterday, a 5 year old was with me for about an hour and a half. He was delightful and bright and curious and very funny. When I got up to leave, I thanked him for reading with me. He replied, "You're welcome . . .are you going to miss me?" I assured him I would and told him I hoped he would have his turn with the doctor soon. He said, "Oh, I saw the doctor a long time ago. I told Papa I wanted to read with you so he's been waiting to take me home." That kind man had sat patiently for over 90 minutes AFTER they saw the doctor so his son and I could read!
Book Buddy Volunteer Readers
Volunteers read stories to pediatric patients waiting in the Outpatient Clinic Reception area during the day and in the Emergency Department (ED) waiting areas in the evening and on weekends.
Reach Out and Read Program (ROR)
ROR is a national program, whose goal is to make literacy promotion a standard part of pediatric primary care. Health care providers distribute developmentally appropriate books during well child visits for children aged 6 months through 5 years. Hennepin has been a Reach Out and Read site since February 2003, and has been instrumental in recruiting other sites to adopt the ROR model. In 2006, our Department of Pediatrics became the statewide hub for the ROR-Minnesota Coalition, housing both the program’s state coordinator and its medical director.
Book Buddy Program
Staff distribute books to children during all non-ROR outpatient visits; provide books to inpatients and families with babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, as needed. Books are available for all ages, from babies through adolescents. Volunteers stock book supplies and help track and maintain inventory.
Books for Babies Program
Distributes the book Peek-a-boo! to every baby born at Hennepin; Sponsored for 2 years (2003-2005) by Verizon, it is now an integral part of our nursery. Nationally, books are available in English and Spanish. Hennepin’s Literacy Program took the initiative to insert translated text into English books to create bilingual editions in Somali, Hmong, Oromo and French to ensure that almost every child born at Hennepin County Medical Center could be welcomed with a book in their home language.
Gift Card Fundraising Campaign
We are now collecting donations for the program through a fundraising campaign that began in April 2011. Your $30 donation will support the Books for Babies Program for one day. Special gift cards have been created so you can offer your donation as a gift for a special occasion.
Channel 50 is our children’s book channel. It is on closed circuit TV, bringing unabridged, high-interest video editions of children’s books to reception areas and patient rooms throughout the hospital 24/7.
Well Bear, Brave Bear
A bilingual, English-Spanish, children’s book photographed at Hennepin to introduce young patients to well child care.