Reach Out and Read, Uncategorized


Last year, I signed up to volunteer to read to small children through Reach Out and Read . To qualify to become a volunteer in the hospital system has required quite a number of steps; i.e., application, interview, TB tests, immunization updates and proof, flu shot, background check, orientation, and badge.

It took some time, but I now have my volunteer badge and am official! My first day reading to the kids at Eastmont Children’s Clinic (part of the Alameda Health System) is today, January 9, 2017.

Something about ROAR (from their website):

‘Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.


The Reach Out and Read evidence-based program builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning in infancy. As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Reach Out and Read incorporates early literacy into pediatric practice, equipping parents with tools and knowledge to ensure that their children are prepared to learn when they start school.

Reach Out and Read serves nearly 4.5 million children and their families annually. Reach Out and Read families read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills. During the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests. These early foundational language skills help start children on a path of success when they enter school.’

What a wonderful way to help children get a good start in life! I’m delighted to add my small part.


How I Became a Poet & Author

Many of you have been writing since you were youngsters, but I never thought that would be my destiny, and didn’t realize I had such a fire burning inside me until about five years ago. As some of you know, I took care of my mother-in-law in our home. She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, vertigo, osteoporosis, and could not leave her bed. She required 24-hour care and cried out “Help Me” continually unless asleep or actively engaged. She shook constantly, didn’t know who we were, didn’t know she’d been married or had had children; she couldn’t even answer a question. It frustrated her when the words she wanted to say were ever so elusive. My heart went out to her, and I tried to figure out a way to help her communicate and to bring her comfort.
Through trial and error, I found that reading rhyming children’s picture books aloud was the ticket. When I read these books to her, she would be calm, laugh at the same places,  and feel joy and comfort. So I made up silly rhymes to talk to her. Amazingly, when prompted, she could come up with the word that rhymed. That delighted both of us and unlocked a secret part in my brain that allowed me to write in verse. It was through poetry that I came to join the San Francisco/Peninsula California Writer’s Club.
I look forward to a wonderful 2017 and wish the same for you and your dear ones!
–Jeannine Gerkman, Author, Poet, Realtor