MANCHESTER, NH – This is the story of how one woman’s dedication to early childhood development through reading resulted in the unexpected gift of 5,000 free books, all donated to kids in Manchester.
That woman, Tami Chevalier, is a family support specialist at Manchester’s Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s (CHaD), in Manchester where she coordinates the Reach Out and Read program, as part of the national organization that has advocated for childhood literacy since 1989.
Chevalier was contacted about a donation of 1,000 books for the program.
“I thought I was picking up 1,000 books from a publisher. When I got there, they told me the warehouse was closing, and any books left would be sent to a recycling center,” said Chevalier.
And so the donation, from Flyleaf Publishing turned into about 5,000 books. Chevalier stored the books at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Manchester while she organized a way to distribute them to first and second graders among the city’s elementary schools and local youth groups.
It took two weeks to give all the books away, distributed to the following schools: Beech Street, Green Acres, Hallsville, Highland-Goffe’s Falls, McDonough, Northwest, Parker-Varney, Webster, Weston and Wilson — as well as Manchester Boys & Girls Club.
“I was happy to do it,” said Chevalier. “These books have gone to wonderful schools and programs with energetic people who came and loaded, trucks, vans and even a small car that had to make two trips. Flyleaf Publishing gave us a wonderful gift.”
About Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read was created in 1989 by a group of pediatricians and nurses at Boston City Hospital to help parents nurture the love of reading in young children.
ROR integrates parent education about literacy development into regular pediatric care for children at their well-child visits between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. Parents learn ways to support their children’s early experiences with books.
A study of ROR in 1991 found that parents who had been given a book and literacy counseling during a clinic visit were much more likely to choose book sharing as an activity with their children.
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