In 2002, the Lake County Captains introduced its school-age reading program, fostering a love of reading and inspiring excellence in and out of the classroom. Now they’re partnering with PNC Bank and teaming up with Lake Health Foundation to expand the Rookie Readers program through a literacy initiative at Lake Health Physician Group family medicine and pediatric practices. At every well-child checkup, children from birth to age 12 receive a free, age-appropriate book; a prescription for daily reading; and a voucher for a free family pack of tickets to a Lake County Captains home game at Classic Park. “Our goal is to encourage families to read aloud together and get young children excited about reading,” says Neil Stein, Lake County Captains’ general manager. “And just as reading together strengthens the parent-child bond, we want to give families an opportunity to enjoy a baseball game together and create special memories.”
Research shows that children introduced to reading early in life tend to read earlier and excel in school compared with children who aren't exposed to language and books at a young age. And families who read together more often have children who enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills. “We’re thrilled to be part of the Rookie Readers program, which will have a tremendously positive impact on our pediatric patients’ cognitive and language development,” says John Baniewicz, MD, chief medical officer at Lake Health.
Laura Cifra-Bean, MD; Skipper; and a Rookie Reader
PNC Bank, a longtime partner of the Captains, is providing financial support. “Through PNC Grow Up Great,® our multi-year, $350 million early childhood education initiative, we’ve seen firsthand the impact that early reading can have on children, and we’re excited to help foster Rookie Readers’ success,” adds Paul Clark, regional president of PNC Bank Cleveland. Lake Health Foundation is also providing funding, as well as logistical support, books and other program materials.