ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Doctor Coren Menendez is doing a yearly well exam on kindergartener Joteisha Thomas that includes questions for mom, a regular physical exam, and sometimes shots.
But at Bayfront Hospital's family medicine clinic, it also includes a gift. Doctor Menendez explains to Joteisha’s mom. “You know every time she's come for her child's check up we give her a brand new book and that's part of our reach out and read program."
Yes, doctors here aren't satisfied with just looking in eyes and ears. They want to make sure what's in between is growing at the right pace as well.
“It's just a way for us to say this is important. Reading, creativity, imagination is all part of the well being of a child."
Christine Thomas is Joteisha’s mother. She thinks its important Joteisha learns to read well and enjoys it because she wants to go to school to be a doctor. “So in order for her to go to school she needs to learn how to read, so getting that book every time is going to be great.”
And Dr. Menendez says many times the books they give are the only ones their patients get to call their own. “I have several families right now where they have numerous siblings and the last time I saw one mother she told me these are the only books they have. She said they have access to the library but they have to bring those back.”
The residents buy most of these books from Scholastic and they buy in bulk, so they get a pretty good deal. They are always age appropriate books, written in different languages.
The books are purchased with grant money from local businesses like Target. Last year the residents gave out more than 1,000 books to their patients.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
We're taking action tonight for a well deserving group of Tampa athletes. They call themselves the Thunder and they've stormed onto the soccer scene - putting enough points up to make it all the way to a national competition.