Lincoln Medical Partners Damariscotta gave the 20,000th free book to two-year-old patient Lev Martin through Raising Readers in February.
Raising Readers is a statewide program which promotes early childhood literacy and a love of reading by giving free books to Maine children at birth and at well child visits through age five.
“One of the best predictors of academic success is beginning literacy at a young age” stated Lincoln Medical Partners Dr. Joann Kaplan. “By giving children their own small library of books we are encouraging those necessary reading and writing skills to begin before kindergarten.”
At routine well child visits primary care providers not only give free books but share the importance of reading out loud starting at birth with parents. Reading out loud to children promotes healthy brain development and the skills children need to learn to read.
The hospital began participating in Raising Readers as soon as its inception in 2000. Since then, nearly 3,000 babies born at LincolnHealth have gone home with a bag of books, with a total of more than 12,000 free books given to newborns. Lincoln Medical Partners practices in Boothbay Harbor, Waldoboro, and Wiscasset participate as well. The grand total of books given by LincolnHealth and Lincoln Medical Partners is more than 35,000.
Funded by the Libra Foundation, Raising Readers is administered by MaineHealth and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems and is supported by The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.
For more information about Lincoln Medical Partners, please visit www.lincolnhealthme.org.