News Release

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Contact: George Stinnett, CHKD, (757) 668-7043

The Virginian-Pilot Gift Benefits CHKD Pediatric Literacy Program

NORFOLK, Va.-- A recent pledge of $100,000 over the next five years from The Virginian-Pilot will be used to benefit and expand a unique and highly successful pediatrician-based literacy initiative established by Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters. Launched initially in June 2001 at six CHKD Medical Group primary care pediatric practices, the program - Reach Out and Read - uses well-child visits to emphasize the importance of reading as both a learning and bonding tool and supplies a library of books over the course of five years to each child in the program. It features pediatricians providing information about reading that makes it as fundamental to a check-up as giving immunizations. Reach Out and Read was created in 1989 by pediatricians and educators at Boston City Hospital. Since that time, more than 1,400 communities throughout the nation have become official Reach Out and Read sites. The CHKD program is the only one in Hampton Roads and was established through a personal gift from the Aimee and Frank Batten Jr. Foundation. Mr. Batten is chairman of Landmark Communications, Inc., the parent company of The Virginian-Pilot, and also serves as chairman of the Children's Health Foundation board of directors. Additional individual and corporate donations, like the most recent gift from The Virginian-Pilot, have made it possible to now expand the original program to include all 13 CHKD Medical Group practices. The additional practices included in the expansion will be on line with Reach Out and Read by the end of March. "Reach Out and Read strengthens the link between literacy and a healthy childhood," said Laura Leverone, MD, of CHKD Medical Group's Suffolk Pediatrics and who serves as a liaison between CHKD Medical Group physicians and the Reach Out and Read program at CHKD. "The experience with the program locally has been wonderful, and the children have benefited greatly from it. It also has helped build the relationships between our medical staff and our parents by creating a common ground in encouraging children to develop a love of books and reading." Beth Duke, CHKD's senior vice president for community relations, lauded the generosity and vision of The Virginian-Pilot: "We're extremely grateful and pleased to have The Pilot partner with us on this important effort to help our region's children get off to a good start and to give them the tools and potential for life-long success. With this gift and the planned program expansion, local book distribution through Reach Out and Read will increase to meet the needs of an estimated 86,000 well-child visits each year." "Reach Out and Read is an important community program. We are pleased that The Virginian-Pilot can provide support to expand the program's scope to encourage and stimulate young readers in our community," says Dee Carpenter, president and publisher of The Virginian-Pilot. The Virginian-Pilot is the largest daily newspaper published by Landmark Communications Inc. It covers southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina with a daily circulation of nearly 200,000. Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters is the only facility of its kind in Virginia, serving the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit hospital was founded in 1961 and provides care for more than 130,000 children each year as inpatients and outpatients, addressing routine and complex illnesses, injuries and chronic conditions. The CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service Health Centers and satellite offices throughout its service region. The System also includes a child care center, Center for Pediatric Research, health education initiatives and a multitude of avenues through which its very generous community provides philanthropic support. CHKD Medical Group primary care pediatric practices currently or soon to be participating in Reach Out and Read include:
  • Pembroke Pediatrics, Virginia Beach
  • Suffolk Pediatrics, Suffolk
  • General Pediatrics (two locations), Norfolk
  • Hampton Roads Pediatrics, Hampton
  • Newport News Pediatrics, Newport News
  • Coastal Pediatrics (two locations), Elizabeth City and Kitty Hawk, N.C.
  • Chesapeake Pediatrics, Chesapeake
  • Children's Medical Center of Tidewater, Chesapeake
  • General Booth Pediatrics, Virginia Beach
  • Pediatric Associates (two locations), Norfolk
  • Pediatric Diagnostic Center, Norfolk
  • Pediatric Specialists (three locations), Norfolk and Chesapeake
  • Tidewater Children's Associates (two locations), Chesapeake and Virginia Beach