Ethan & Choco's Book Club

Striving to make access to books and reading a core part of the care that SuperKids receive in the hospital, with the principal premise that literacy support for children fighting cancer and other life-threatening conditions can help promote cognitive development and social connections that are part of thriving through treatment and beyond


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Bedside Reading is Officially 2x/Week at CHOC!

Too bad we can’t show faces b/c boy was this teen’s expression priceless — pure joy!

We are so excited that ECBC is now offering bedside reading by our awesome expert readers (mostly current and retired teachers and librarians) two times per week at CHOC Children’s Hospital! We are taking baby steps for sure towards our goal of being able to provide the opportunity for a read aloud to every patient every day — but our slow yet steady progress towards this goal means we are expanding our program thoughtfully, without compromising the quality of the reader or the read-aloud experience. Not all read-alouds are equal; there actually is an art to it!! And we’re proud to be providing quality read-aloud interactions with the best literature and good dialoguing. Which is so powerful especially for the many patients we read to who are not in school, receiving few if any other literature-based experiences, often spend substantial time on screens, may have a condition or be receiving treatment that affects cognition, need to escape the hospital walls, and/or just need to connect with another human being! Thank you to ECBC’s amazing (and growing) bedside reading team!!

If you didn’t make it to BOOK IT! last week (our annual charity run) and would like to support ECBC’s growing programs such as this one, the BOOK IT! online fundraising campaign will be running for another few weeks. Please CLICK HERE to donate!

If you missed the charity run and would like to hear Ethan’s brief welcome/update, please CLICK HERE or image above to view.


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Yesterday’s bedside reading highlight — Help ECBC keep this going and sign up for BOOK IT! 2019!

One of the best things about running ECBC’s bedside reading program at CHOC Children’s Hospital is the feedback from our expert read aloud volunteers after a shift at CHOC. The reports of “yes, I want a read aloud”, of the child’s reaction to the book, of the requests for “one more story.” These are kids that are often not in school, may spend significant time on screens, and sometimes have few to none literature-based experiences or opportunities to escape their hospital world. Yesterday, both bedside reader volunteers reported that the highlight of their day was their session with a 12- and a 13- year-old boy (the age/gender combo that tends to be the most reluctant to get a “yes” from). Both read aloud picture books with true stories — one of a World War 2 soldier’s friendship with a local Filipino girl (Tucky Jo and Little Heart, by Patricia Polocco) and the other a story of a con man who posed as a government official to “sell” the Eiffel Tower to scrap metal dealers before being caught and imprisoned (Tricky Vic, by Greg Pizzoli ). Two teen/tweenage boys, agreeing to being read, agreeing to picture books (albeit sophisticated ones that target an older audience), connecting with another, dialoguing about a new story with rich content …that’s what this is all about. Allowing books and reading to help kids THRIVE while at the hospital, not just get through their stay.

As of September, ECBC’s bedside reading program is expanding from one to two days a week — allowing us to reach more hospital floors and more kids. This is one of ECBC’s reading programs, among others, that demand a successful charity run and book drive next weekend! So PLEASE join us!! Click image below to register, donate, and more! Nine days to go…Please sign up now!!


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A Successful Afternoon at CHOC Getting Books and Reading to Patients!

While ECBC is at CHOC Children’s Hospital weekly reading and delivering books to oncology and neurology patients, our lobby book-give away events and Outpatient Infusion Center (OPI) deliveries happen on a monthly basis. So yesterday was our day of the month to do all three. First we delivered approximately 125 new books to the OPI, restocking their otherwise empty shelves; then we gave away books from our mobile Gifting Library Cart alongside MaxLove Project in the CHOC lobby, and finally we ended the afternoon by reading aloud to patients in their rooms on the 5th floor (and delivering books to patients in isolation). These days — where we do all three back-to-back– are always so rewarding as we are able to reach patients in multiple areas of the hospital. Yesterday’s highlight: Our Bedside Reader reported that a two-year-old patient wanted seven books to be read aloud, asking that everyone in the room sit down on the floor to listen! It’s so wonderful to hear these stories of reading aloud and good literature making an impact on children’s lives at CHOC!


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It has been a Full Year of Bedside Reading at CHOC Children’s!

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of ECBC”s bedside reading and mobile book cart program at CHOC Children’s Hospital! Before we launched our inpatient program on May 24, 2018, it was rare to see a book or reading happening on a patient floor. Now, patients are regularly being read high-quality literature, and patients in isolation, who are not able to access available books in the hospital lobby, are able to choose books to keep from our mobile book cart. While the year 1 data have not yet been analyzed, our bedside reader volunteers report that, generally speaking, the patients are giving more “yes”s to reading than “no'”s, they are engaged during read-alouds, and they are asking volunteers to stay longer and read more. Which is so much better than we expected when we launched this program (especially knowing that reading can be a hard sell against technology). We can’t wait to formally analyze data from our first year and share the results!

A huge thank you to the most awesome bedside reading team I can imagine. We have an awesome group of current and former educators, librarians, school psychologists, and reading specialists — and they are a large reason why we are getting such a terrific response from the children! I’m so grateful for this team!

As we head into year 2, we will be working on growing this program so that we can offer reading aloud to patients on more hospital floors and more days of the week, with the ultimate goal to be able to offer every available patient a read aloud every day of the week (which is consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of at least 15 minutes a day of reading). We will be looking to recruit new volunteers, particularly those with prior experience in education/literacy — please email at Ali@ECbookclub.com if you are interested in learning more about becoming a bedside reader.


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BRBR! Bedside Reading Brief Report

Two of ECBC’s expert bedside readers with the Read Aloud Wagons

We had such a fantastic afternoon at CHOC yesterday, bringing books and reading to patients in all sorts of ways! Our bedside reading team spent the afternoon on the 5th floor (oncology, neurology) — getting almost  100% “yes”s to their offers of a read aloud from our Read-Aloud Wagon. It was super fun to see one patient receive her fourth Book Band (there are 10 ECBC Book Bands that patients can receive and collect for each time they accept a book or a read aloud), and especially to be very proud to be wearing them all. Our bedside readers also gave away a bunch of books to infant through teenage patients in isolation. In addition, we did our monthly book delivery to the Outpatient Infusion Center (“OPI”), where Ethan received all of his outpatient chemo — re-stocking their shelves with approximately 80 books for patients and siblings to read and take home.

Finally, as of yesterday, we explicitly communicated with CHOC that we are now ready to systematically provide a Read+Think+Thrive Box for every new cancer diagnosis at CHOC. Prior to this, we have been providing our book boxes informally and sporadically as we hear about them through MaxLove Project and word of mouth. From here on forward, CHOC will reach out to ECBC as kids are diagnosed so that we can provide a book box that is curated by age and gender of the patient right after diagnosis — which, as we know personally, is a time when books and reading are not on the forefront of caregivers’ minds but if put right in front of them perhaps will be embraced and provide comfort. A few hours after committing to providing the boxes systemically, we received an email from Child life about a newly diagnosed kid — so we promptly got a box together for a 7-year-old girl and delivered it.

Ethan and I are super excited about the Read+Think+Thrive Box program, and we’re eager to work on ramping it up so that we can more seamlessly assemble and deliver boxes to kids at CHOC. That being said, we need ongoing funding to be able to continue to provide boxes as kids are diagnosed. If you would like to support, click here to learn more about our Read+Think+Thrive Boxes, click on any of the links on that page to donate a book from one of our RTT box wish lists. or click here to fund a single RTT Box or an RTT Box monthly at $100/month (which would cover one new diagnosis each month). 

What a successful Thursday at CHOC!!

the RTT Box that yesterday went to a 7 year old just diagnosed with cancer.

 

 


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Quick Report: Week 2 of Our New Inpatient Program

Just a quick update on week two of ECBC’s new inpatient bedside reading and mobile book cart program: Last week, we had a launching party in the playroom, where ECBC volunteers read aloud an interactive book about color mixing and guided patients to do some of their own color mixing in blank books and on blank puzzles. This week, we started our visits to patient rooms — where we asked patients if they were up for a read-aloud and possibly a related craft. Patients get visited by so many different people during the day, so often it can be difficult for an unknown volunteer to get a “yes” when asking to enter a patient’s room. We were SO thrilled that all but one patient/families said YES to a read-aloud! We read aloud with patients between the ages of 2 and 9, and volunteers’ reading resulted in patients putting down their ipads, getting engaged in a good story, making predictions and personal connections, and wanting more on a different day! One father of an oncology patient even said as an ECBC volunteer left the room: “Thank you so much, that was just what the doctor prescribed today”… which is actually a goal of ours, that someday “reading aloud” will be included in doctor recommendations as part of helping patients thrive during their hospital stays. #ECBC#Bedside Reading #ReadAloudEveryDay#HospitalizedKidsNeedBooksToo #ReadThinkThrive