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Celebrating Read Across America with Partner Schools
February 28, 2023

St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) West Region & Allentown Campus President William Moyer will be among those reading to children at Union Terrace Elementary School during Read Across America Week, March 2-6. Read Across America is the National Education Association’s program to celebrate reading.

Representatives from all St. Luke’s campuses will read to students at other St. Luke’s partner schools as well. St. Luke’s Department of Community Health identifies need through its Community Health Needs Assessments and partners with school communities throughout the year to consistently connect students, staff, and families to care, education, and resources. “Read Across America provides an opportunity to further bring our St. Luke’s staff and mentoring initiatives to our schools to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the communities we serve,” said Olga Jaeger, Community Schools Coordinator. “The connection between literacy and health is strong, and we can help make our community healthier by getting involved.”

Read Across America was started in 1998 on March 2, the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known by his pen name, Dr. Seuss. 

This year, St. Luke’s volunteers will read books that focus on key initiatives and messaging such as how to promote STEAM careers and careers in healthcare, how to ask for help when needed, how to be healthy both in body and mind, and how to celebrate what makes us all unique, said Kelsey Gasper, St. Luke’s Community Health Initiatives Coordinator.

Some of the titles the volunteers will be reading include: “A New Kind of Wild” by Zara Gonzalez Hoang, “Speak Up” by Miranda Paul, “Going Places” by Tonya Bolden, “Dad’s Camera” by Ross Watkins, and “It’s Okay to be Different” by Todd Parr. The books were ordered from First Book: a non-profit focused on education equity for kids in need.

Middle school readers will be role models

St. Luke’s volunteers have signed up to read to four classrooms at Union Terrace. The classrooms will be divided into smaller groups, so it is easier for the readers to read aloud.

In addition to St. Luke’s staff, middle-schoolers (all 8th graders) will be reading to younger students. “Our students are thrilled to be going to Union Terrace Elementary again to read to the younger kids,” Jaeger said. “We are proud of this initiative as it does not only promote literacy, but it also builds leadership skills in middle school students. They take pride in being role models for their younger peers and representing their school and classroom at the elementary school.”

St. Luke’s Raub Middle School Activities Coordinator Izzy Vasquez will guide the 13-16 middle schoolers who have volunteered to read. “The goal is to lead them as mentors in a positive and encouraging way by providing them with all the tools to become a better version of themselves,” Vasquez said. The eighth graders are looking forward to reading to the students and will have the opportunity to see the importance of serving others, Vasquez added.

“These connections and relationships are imperative for the child’s development as they promote exemplary positive behavior in the older students and also motivate younger children to thrive academically and socially,” Jaeger said.