Beloit doctors agree to start kids early on path to literacy

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Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News Beloit Clinic Pediatric staff gathered for a photo on Tuesday afternoon to announce its support of the Beloit Literacy for Life Initiative. Staff will distribute books through the Reach Out and Read program funded by the Colonel Robert H. Morse Foundation. As part of the grant, children age 0 to 5 will receive free books to read.

BELOIT - Beloit Health System pediatricians and obstetrician-gynecologists are supporting the Beloit Literacy for Life Initiative by distributing children's books to patients through the Reach Out and Read program funded by the Colonel Robert H. Morse Foundation.

The two-year grant is for up to $11,000.

Beloit Health System staff gathered at Beloit Clinic on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the news of the grant and accompanying book distribution. Every child age 5 and younger who comes for their visit will get an age-appropriate book to support literacy.

Doctors in attendance at the Tuesday event included: Dr. Roger Kapoor, Dr. Leah Farley, Dr. Chris Gianvecchio, Dr. Cynthia Palabrica, Dr. La Kesha Lawrence and Dr. Chitra Desai.

"I'm here to assist Beloit Health System and Literacy for Life in this great initiative in any way I can," Kapoor said. "I think it's important for our community. It's not just about passing out books, but encouraging our community to stress the importance of talking about literacy and education. If we can encourage mothers and expectant mothers to have those conversations with their kids, we will make a big difference one life at a time. It's such an honor Beloit Health System can be part of this initiative."

Stateline Community Foundation Executive Director Tara Tinder said she was thrilled there are so many community partners in Literacy for Life.

"It's a long commitment and we know we will see changes in reading scores in the future," Tinder said.

Tinder noted Literacy for Life hopes to see results in three to five years.

Beloit's Literacy for Life Initiative is a Stateline Community Foundation project that focuses on community efforts stressing the importance of early childhood literacy for children in the Stateline Area.

Under the umbrella of the initiative are a variety of early literacy efforts underway by nonprofits, businesses, faith communities and other organizations.

The School District of Beloit also has an array of programming in place to support the effort and to target families of young children. The district's Director of Early Literacy Rachelle Elliott has access to books, information and resources and can make them available to partners.

Partnering businesses and organizations are encouraged to develop their own programs and efforts. Partners meet monthly and work in close collaboration with Wisconsin Literacy and Wisconsin's Reach Out and Read Program. Those with the initiative hope the effort will be long lasting and become embedded in the fabric of the Greater Beloit community.

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