Rochester Rotary Club Teams Up with Docs in Southwest Detroit Clinic to Promote Literacy

Reading aloud to young children is the single most effective tool for developing language and literacy skills.  Covenant Community Care and the Rochester Rotary Club have joined hands to make sure the children of southwest Detroit have the basic language skills they will need to learn to read.  
The Covenant Community Care clinic at 5716 Michigan Avenue is a medical and dental facility dedicated to providing primary health care to the uninsured and under-insured in southwest Detroit.  Dr. Mary Hakim is one of the pediatric care providers at the clinic.  She took the initiative to start Reach Out and Read at Covenant.
Reach Out and Read is a national program that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.  Reach Out and Read builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning at 6 months of age.

In the exam room, doctors and nurses speak with parents about the importance of reading aloud to their young children every day and offer age-appropriate tips and encouragement.  The pediatric primary care provider gives every child 6 months through 5 years old a new, developmentally-appropriate children’s book to take home and keep.  In the waiting room, displays, information, and books create a literacy-rich environment.  When possible, volunteer readers entertain the children, modeling for parents the pleasures and techniques of reading aloud.
The Rochester Rotary Club learned of Covenant’s wish to implement Reach Out and Read and offered to help.  They gave Dr. Hakim and the other pediatricians a generous supply of new books for their littlest patients and set up the waiting areas to create enthusiasm for reading. With Rotary Club and Rotary District 6380 funds, the Literacy Committee purchased book displays, wood-mounted posters with children’s book characters, a bulletin board to post community literacy resources, a carpet depicting The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, and a book cart to hold gently used books for patients of any age who come in for sick or well visits.  In addition, book bins on the walls of the exam rooms were filled with appealing children’s books so that parents can read to their children while waiting for the doctor to come in.
Learn more about Reach Out and Read at <> .  If you would like to organize a gently used book drive to keep the clinic’s book cart well stocked, please contact Dr. Mary Hakim at


A major help in this project were Dr. Mary Hakim (center) and Rochester Rotarians Johanna Allen (left) and Linda Eastman (right) Cary Griggs (not pictured)

Literacy-Rich Waiting Room at Covenant Community Care Clinic
Pediatric patient enjoying her time in the waiting room
Child eager to look at all the new books!
These colorful, brand-new books are irresistible!

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