During the month of July, Ross Medical Education Center in Port Huron, Michigan supported the national Disconnect to Connect reading initiative. By utilizing the resources from the Read Aloud website, staff and students were encouraged to have their kids “unplug” from electronic devices this summer and engage in other activities like playing outside, crafting, and of course, reading. As part of this initiative, parents are encouraged to read aloud with their children for a minimum of 15 minutes per day.
To encourage the Disconnect to Connect initiative, the Port Huron staff and faculty hosted Read-Aloud Fridays on campus during the month of July. Each week there was a different reading theme: the first featured a beach theme, the second a camping theme, and the last read aloud event celebrating Dr. Seuss. The campus was festively decorated to fit each theme and featured stories, snacks, and crafts. The weekly read-aloud events were well attended and enjoyed by all.
In tandem with the reading initiative, the campus also held a month-long book drive during which they collected new and gently used children’s books for the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA). The donated books will be divided between the early childhood programs through St. Clair County RESA and a new project called Little Lending Libraries. St. Clair County RESA is currently in the process of rolling out 25 Little Lending Library boxes throughout the county, first placing them on school campuses, and then distributing them throughout the community where children will have easy access.
The Little Library trend is catching on all over the country, so be on the lookout in your local community for this invaluable resource. The idea behind the Little Library is that visitors can choose a book and then bring it back when they’re finished, or swap it with a different book. This is an easy way to promote reading through easier access to reading material. During the reading kick off on campus, Kristen Bennett, student in the Port Huron Medical Assistant program, expressed her excitement about the campus book drive, “my boys love to find the Little Libraries and choose a book. It’s a great treat for them and it encourages them to view books as something to be prized,” she shared.
The Port Huron campus was thrilled to collect and donate books to the St. Clair County RESA program. They were honored to have the opportunity to personally welcome Director of Early Childhood Services at RESA, Becky Gorinac, to the campus to present her with the donated books. During her visit on campus Becky expressed her gratitude, “there is nothing more important than the gift of literacy in the life of a young child. We are so thankful for the donation of over 165 books from the Ross students to St. Clair County RESA Early Childhood Department. The books will be given to families, preschools, and placed in Little Libraries throughout the county.” The Port Huron staff and students are looking forward to making the reading initiative and book drive an annual event.
For more information about their programs, please check out the St. Clair County RESA website at www.sccresa.org.