From March 2 to 6, 2020, the Duke Department of Pediatrics will celebrate its second annual literacy week. The celebration coincides with National Read Across America Day on March 2 in recognition of Dr. Seuss's birthday. During this week, the department will host a variety of activities to encourage reading and a love of books, including visits and volunteer readers from the Durham County Public Libraries, Durham’s Partnership for Children, Durham Book Harvest, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read. Events will also include a Grand Rounds presentation on March 3 by John Hutton, MD, MS, a pediatrician and clinical researcher in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics and Director of the Reading Literacy Discovery Center at Cincinnati Children’s.
During this week, the department will also conduct a book drive to donate new and gently used books to the Durham Book Harvest. Bins will be available in various departmental offices and clinics for donation drop-off. Those who were planning on purchasing books to donate are asked to visit the Book Harvest website to learn more about the ‘Mirrors and Windows’ program designed to promote the sharing of books that portray all children of diverse backgrounds, languages, abilities, and perspectives, and including stories by and about people of color.
Each division is encouraged to embrace this opportunity to showcase the importance of early language and literacy and to highlight community partnerships by organizing spirit week activities, such as organizing pot luck lunches, holding a door decorating competition or dressing up as favorite book characters, sports teams, and superheroes on designated days.
Reading is one of the most important things that we can do to help our children thrive. --Elizabeth Erickson, MD
“Reading is one of the most important things that we can do to help our children thrive,” said Elizabeth Erickson, MD, a primary care pediatrician at Duke Children’s. “While many people believe that learning to read begins in school, we know that talking, reading and singing in the newborn period can predict how successful children are when they arrive in kindergarten. Outside of early childhood, books can help children see themselves and their experiences reflected back to them so that they can better understand themselves. Additionally, books can serve as windows into other cultures and worldviews to help children broaden their horizons.”