United Way Delivers Thousands of Literacy Kits to Cincinnati Children’s

Volunteers purchased and assembled reading materials for local families

Thursday, July 15, 2021

United Way of Greater Cincinnati delivered close to 3,000 literacy kits to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center after an overwhelming response from volunteers, who provided materials to help preschool children prepare for kindergarten.

The Kits for Success campaign launched in April, and each kit includes a new book, information about the importance of reading, rhyming flash cards, handwriting activities and other print resources for families.

Cincinnati Children’s psychologists integrated in pediatric primary care clinics will distribute the reading materials to families at the Burnet and Fairfield campuses as well as the Hopple Street Neighborhood Health Center. The focus will be on helping children, ages 3 and 4, get ready for school.

“At every well-visit, we spend time with parents of this age group talking about health promotion as well as strategies to promote development with school readiness,” said Rachel Herbst, PhD, a pediatric psychologist in the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at Cincinnati Children’s. “What’s really great about these kits from United Way is that they provide additional tools and resources to help parents meet their goals for their children by building upon the essential skills that children need at this age.”

Other partners in the Kits for Success include Cradle to Career, Blue Manatee Literacy Project, and Crayons to Computers.

“Having early confidence in reading gives children a solid foundation for long-term success in school,” said Chandra Matthews-Smith, Chief Community Engagement Officer at United Way of Greater Cincinnati. “We also know getting a quality education is crucial for future financial mobility. We’re proud to bring together community partners and volunteers to support families because we believe all children in our community deserve financial well-being.”

In addition, Cincinnati Children’s and more than 20 health centers in Greater Cincinnati continue enrolling children in two early reading programs. They are: Reach Out and Read, through which children receive a new book and guidance about reading at home during well-visits from newborn through age 5; and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which mails new books to the child’s home once a month from birth through age 5.

In March 2020, the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, in partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, expanded to include every child in the state from birth to age 5 through online enrollment.

Contact Information

Shannon Kettler