United Way, Coplin Health join literacy project

From left, United Way information and referral specialist Delaney Laughery, Coplin Health System’s Dr. Cathy Dailey and United Way program and engagement specialist Amy Arnold coordinate the Ready to Learn book delivery program at Parkersburg Family Care on Emerson Avenue. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG – The Ready to Learn children’s program, under the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, to promote early childhood reading has started at the Coplin Health System’s Parkersburg Family Care on Emerson Avenue.

Through the Ready to Learn program, free books will be given to pediatric patients and educational information will be available for parents and guardians to learn more about community support programs that can prepare their children for success.

Children visit their medical provider roughly 16 times before they are ready to attend school, so the doctor’s office is a natural location to reach families with young children. Healthy children become healthy students; supporting families during the first five years of a child’s life helps prepare these children for success in school, officials said.

“This partnership between United Way and Coplin Health Systems is going to help us both meet our missions more fully by getting books into the hands of young children and connecting parents to resources like the 211 system and Familywize, a prescription discount program,” said Rob Dudley, CEO of Coplin Health. “It is exciting to see this focus on early education becoming part of quality health care in our communities.”

With Coplin aiming for quality community care throughout the state and the United Way passionate about offering resources and tools on early childhood education, the partnership meets each organization’s mission, Coplin Health said.

“We are so excited to partner with Coplin Health Systems on this project. Research shows that developing reading skills at a young age is fundamental to success in school, work and life. We know that a student who can’t read by third grade is four times less likely to graduate high school than a child who can read proficiently by that time,” Stacy DeCicco, executive director of the United Way, said. “The benefits of early literacy are simply critical. Having access to books is something many families may take for granted. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with a community partner and get books into the hands of children in our community.”

Currently, the program is being offered at Parkersburg Family Care on Emerson Avenue. If the program is successful, Coplin Health would expand Ready to Learn to other sites, officials said.

For more information or to support the program, contact Sarah Barton, senior program manager at Coplin Health, at sbarton@wchsa.com or 304-273-1033.