AMCP, SNPhA, SPPA support Kappa Psi’s Reach Out and Read initiative
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, developing literacy skills early makes it easier for kids to learn to read. Children who enter school with these skills have an advantage that carries with them through their school years. However, more than one in three American children enter kindergarten without the skills they need to learn to read.
Literacy programs and reading with children are important in supporting the development of any child. Reading aloud to children at an early age is the most effective way to help them expand their vocabulary and recognize written words. It also stimulates a child's imagination and expands their understanding of the world around them.
Recognizing this, Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit committed to instituting childhood literacy programs that promote healthy kids and stronger communities. By making reading aloud a daily activity, Reach Out and Read helps ensure that every child has the healthy foundation they need — cognitively, socially and emotionally.
Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity has adopted Reach Out and Read as its national philanthropy and Wayne State’s Mu Omicron Pi chapter of Kappa Psi has been supporting this initiative over the past academic year through book donation drives and fundraisers. Over the spring semester, the WSU brothers of Kappa Psi invited other student organizations at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to join in supporting their childhood literacy program.
“We are so impressed with the turnout from our fellow students at the college in supporting the spirit of Reach Out and Read,” says Noah Trotter, Kappa Psi president at Wayne State. “Our chapter is grateful to SPPA, SNPhA and AMCP for joining our book drive as well as all the students, friends and families who donated books over the past few months. We’ve collected almost 400 books to support childhood literacy. It’s simply amazing!”
Reach Out and Read promotes the fact that every child can benefit from reading becoming a part of their lives. However, making reading a priority is easier for some families than for others, and certain children are more likely than others to need additional help. To that end, Kappa Psi community efforts have been focused on recruiting the help of other student organizations on campus that share their passion for serving children in the community.
“When the Student Pediatric Pharmacy Association heard about the Kappa Psi book drive, we knew this was something we wanted to be a part of,” Shahad Zaytouna, SPPA president-elect, said. “As the Reach Out and Read website says, ‘Language and literacy develop together as a baby grows from infancy to a toddler, to a school-aged child and older.’ By participating in this book drive, SPPA wants to help promote reading to children. The key to language development is social interaction. Reading with your kids is critical to language development. Starting at birth, reading with children puts them on a path to success.”
Jackie Fleury, president-elect of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy and mother of two, said “My girls and I love reading together; it is a bedtime tradition! It’s becoming even more fun now that they are beginning to be able to read themselves. When I was a younger, books were my outlet — I could be anyone, go anywhere, the options were limitless. Books made my life beautiful. I want to help foster that same special world I enjoyed for my own children.”
“I believe that Kappa Psi’s Reach Out and Read program is exactly what America needs. In a time of such technological advancement, it’s easy to just sit your child down with a tablet and put on a YouTube video that will read a book to them, but a lot is lost in this process. You miss out on opportunities to truly connect with your children and to watch them as they learn and grow through reading. Educating parents on the importance of reading to and with their children can have a very positive influence at an early age.”
Obioma Opara, student senator and president-elect of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, also reads to his children regularly. “As a father of toddlers, taking time out to read to them fosters my relationship with them. They look forward to our reading time. Reading aloud to children helps expand their vocabulary and recognition of words. Childhood literacy is very important — it stimulates a child's imagination and expands their understanding of the world.”
Reach Out and Read highlights the lasting impact that literacy programs like theirs provide. Experiencing and engaging in language-rich interactions helps children develop communication skills, patience, empathy and literacy — all of which are critical to success in school and beyond. Even the simple act of handling books develops school readiness in infants.
“Reading with children puts kids on a path to success and our brothers are grateful to everyone who helped us get so many books for our book drive,” said Kappa Psi philanthropy chair Jad Kawas. “Because of the pandemic, it was no easy feat to collect all these donations. We drove all around metro Detroit picking up donations with our friends from SPPA, SNPhA and AMCP. We’ve already dropped off books to Reach Out and Read sites here in the Motor City, but because of the pandemic, we’ve got to hold on to some of these donations until sites are open again to receive donations. With literally hundreds of books given to our book drive, we also want to share the spirit of Reach Out and Read with the local Detroit community. We plan to distribute some of these donations to community centers and organizations in the city so we can give back to the community we live in and share the gift of reading with as many kids as we can.”