I can’t believe I’mOpen book in a bright doctor’s office! I’ve spent years hiding in that dark dusty box in little Jimmy’s basement. He stopped reading once he became big Jim, tucked me away.

Yesterday he brought me to the Neighborhood Family Practice (NFP), where I get to see lots of kiddoes again! There is no greater fulfillment for a children’s book than to be read to a child. I’ve been told I am a “classic in two languages.” I just know I get to teach the children and their parents all about different worlds.

I tell the story of the brave Caperucita Roja, Little Red Riding Hood, who overcomes grave dangers, and comes face to face with a wolf. Maybe some do not see the importance of such an unrealistic story…but a book is more than its fancies and frills. I am an entertaining means that drives children’s imagination and strengthens their minds; that’s what it means to read.

A children’s book makes the rigid symbols across the pages come alive in their minds as they form words, sentences, a story. Maybe I can reconnect a child to their family as they read with their kid, as their kid recovers.

Jim said I am perfect for the Reach Out and Read Program here at NFP. I think he’s right. The Neighborhood Family Practice is a community health center that provides affordable primary care to families in the Cleveland area. I can’t think of a better way to add to primary care than nurturing a child’s reading skills, and their relationship with their parents.

Grant funds from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio, Inc. helps fund the Reach Out and Read program at NFP.