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Read Across America at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital and Partner Schools
March 04, 2024

Read Across America Week kicked off with some fun with books and more at St. Luke’s Children's Hospital in Bethlehem on Friday, March 1. Here Gretchen Duffy, Coordinator for Child Life Services, helps Leah Correa Cora of Bethlehem choose a book and stuffed animal.  Leah came for a quick visit with the staff before her outpatient follow-up appointment.

St. Luke’s is celebrating Read Across America the first week of March at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital and the Network’s partner schools.

Read Across America, which officially begins on the birthday author Dr. Seuss (March 2), is dedicated to literacy and aims to encourage reading while educating people about its benefits. Reading and related activities were planned throughout the day March 1 at the Children’s Hospital.

Volunteer Margaret Place read books to the pediatric patients in the playroom and in their rooms if they couldn’t attend the playroom readings. Staff also distributed age-appropriate books and stuffed animals to the pediatric patients who were hospitalized and those who came for outpatient procedures throughout the day. Dr. Seuss-themed activities also were held.

Gretchen Duffy, CCLS, Coordinator, Child Life Services, said it was important for the children in the hospital to be able to participate in Read Across America just like they would have had they been at day care or school. “One of our goals at our Children’s Hospital is to normalize our environment as much as we can,” she said. “Allowing children to participate in activities like these helps bring a sense of normalcy to their hospital stay. Many schools are celebrating Read Across America this week and we wanted our kids to feel part of it and not miss out.”

Also, Duffy said, “We know that the promotion of literacy is linked to healthy development. And so we are happy to give our pediatric patients reading material to promote their development in this way.” The hospital had about 30 titles to distribute. The books were for all age ranges; some were for infants and some were chapter books. “Our book selection has a heavy focus on Dr. Seuss because it is his birthday,” Duffy said.

St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital is also partnering with 26 schools in our community. More than 100 St. Luke’s staff will read to the Lehigh Valley’s urban and rural students during the week.

St. Luke’s identifies need through our Community Health Needs Assessments and partners with our 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 commitment to the communities we serve.

St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital based at our Network’s Bethlehem Campus in Fountain Hill opened in June 2023.