Hi Peggy, Thank you for your comments. I was not familiar with Reach Out and Read, but it looks similar to the work we already have in place. Our books cost about $3 on average but are chosen very carefully to align with the needs of county on top of being age appropriate. For instance, our county does not have fluoride in our water and we don't have a pediatric dentist. Therefore, we partnered with the health coalition to offer a book about brushing baby's gums and teeth and may add a toothbrush along with it. As far as Imagination Library goes, we do have someone in each town trying to manage the program for their community. It costs $30 per child and each community is struggling to come up with the money and make sure the program is reaching the children who need it most. Our assistance in these efforts has been turned down, though we have given funds in support of the program. Therefore, we've decided to focus on the projects we have control over and to customize them to the needs of our parents. Imagination Library is a wonderful program and we see it as an important piece of the puzzle. My hope is that once our efforts are more clearly seen, we might be considered as partners in making the program work better for those who really need it.
I really like this idea. I wonder if it could reach more low income parents faster by working with physicians or home health aids. I'm thinking of organizations like ARC of Onondaga that offers speech therapists to low income families. They might be interested in buying some of the hardware in bulk and distribute to parents to encourage them to work on their child's developmental issues on their own in between visits.