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Giving the Gift of Reading to NC Kids

December 5, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. - Most toys on kids' wish lists will likely require batteries, but one North Carolina group is issuing a reminder that books can offer lifelong value to a child. Reach Out and Read distributes books to 130,000 children in need across the state through pediatricians.

This holiday, the group's Regional Director, Callee Boulware, hopes people consider giving books as gifts for the children on their list.

"It's just a win-win for the entire family. Having more books in the child's life, and them asking whatever grownup is around to sit and read it with them, is such a special time."

According to Reach Out and Read, one-third of the nation's kindergarteners begin school without the basic skills necessary for learning to read. And research shows that reading to children, even at the earliest ages, builds their vocabularies and gives them a greater desire to read.

This holiday, the group is partnering with Barnes and Noble in several cities across the state, offering customers the chance to purchase books for children in need through the Reach Out and Read program. Boulware says there are plenty of children who could use a "good read," and the holidays offer some creative opportunities to make that happen.

"Generally speaking, people's place of work has a holiday gathering. Well, you know what? Why don't you challenge your coworkers to bring in some books in lieu of gifts for office members?"

Reach Out and Read has also arranged with the North Carolina Partnership for Children to add an additional 25 locations where books are distributed through pediatricians' offices. The program now involves 89 medical offices across the state.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC