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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Five More Ways ECBC Helps Hospitalized Kids Thrive: September 17-21st.

The last five days of ways that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive have gone unposted due to extensive prep for ECBC’s large book bag packaging day on Saturday, so here briefly are the five ways for those days, including today. Bedside reading has been the backbone of ECBC’s programs at CHOC, yet they are still on hold since there is no “covid-allowed” way to get our volunteers in the hospital. We have already described a few ways that bedside reading benefits hospitalized kids; here are a few more:

September 17. Bedside reading exposes patients to poetry! Generally speaking, all kids are under-exposed to poetry…yet it’s a wonderful type of text to read aloud. It’s fun to listen to, it’s great for langauge and vocabulary building, it can be a powerful way to work on some important comprehension skills such as visualizing and making text connections, and it can be a bridge to greater interest in reading other types of texts. Bedside readers make sure to include poetry in their read alouds with patients of all ages.

September 18. Most hospitalized teens (and non-hospitalized teens) are long passed the days of being read to. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from it, especially when they tend to spend most of their time in the hospital room on a screen. Our bedside readers include teens in their invitations to participate in a read aloud, and when they get a “yes”, they know which books to select that are short enough for a 15-20 minute read-aloud yet clever or interesting enough to generate thoughtful dialogue. Bedside readers are thrilled when they get to read to a teenager, and it seems like most teens that give it a try end up asking for more. 

September 19. In addition to reading to oncology patients, ECBC’s bedside readers also have read regularly to neurology patients — many of whom have neurocognitive deficits or are nonverbal. We have received incredible feedback from neurology patient parents that their children are enjoying and benefiting from the read alouds, and they’ve expressed gratitude that their kids are included in read-aloud sessions despite their ability to respond in typical ways.  

September 20. Bedside readers also engage patients in creative literature-based crafts, such as making a popsicle stick story character, painting a setting on a blank puzzle, or writing a sequel to a picture book. These activities nurture creative thinking as well as more positive attitudes about literature and reading. 

September 21. ECBC’s Read-Aloud Wagon…just seeing it in the hallway has become a visible reminder to patents and families about the importance of reading while in the hospital. It is not uncommon for bedside readers to be stopped while pulling a wagon and asked for a room visit.  Exactly ECBC’s mission, that books and reading become part of kids care at CHOC!

To support BOOK IT 2020 and ECBC’s bedside reading program, go to www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. Donate $20 to fund one bedside reading book, $100 for a new poetry book for each of our six age group categories, and $600 for one month’s supply of high-quality books for the bedside reading read-aloud wagons.  THANK YOU for helping to honor cancer warriors and hospitalized kids during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!


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ECBC’s First Mega Book Bag Packaging Day is in the Books!

Yesterday ECBC had its first Read Think Thrive (RTT) Bag Mega Packaging Day, where 120 of our book bags were packaged by teen Girl Scouts so they could be delivered to CHOC Children’s Hospital next week. These bags contain ten new, high-quality books curated by the age and gender of the recipient, along with new art supplies (crayons, colored pencils, markers, paints, clay), various mediums for literature-based creative projects, and miscellaneous items including bookmarks, reading lights, and care cards with personal messages from youth volunteers. With their delivery to CHOC next week, this will be the first time that ECBC will have a supply of RTT Bags on site at the hospital, which (with the help of amazing CHOC staff) will allow us to finally accomplish our goal to get a book bag to EVERY new cancer diagnosis at CHOC.

THANK YOU to the awesome girls in Troop #2695 and Troop #3115 for the prep work you did leading up to the event we well as for your hard work yesterday! And, a HUGE shout out to 14-year old Girl Scout Senior Abigail Tweedt and Troop 2695 leader Sandy Tweedt: Abigail for your tremendous leadership and work you did leading up to packaging day, and Sandy for leading girls in the Silver Project (under especially difficult circumstances given Covid restrictions) and your invaluable ongoing commitment to ECBC. This day could not have happened without you!


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30 Ways ECBC Helps Cancer Warriors Thrive Through Treatment: Day #16 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 16. The sixteenth way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive is by having trained expert volunteers who become model for caregivers as to how to read aloud in ways that help to support interest in books, literacy skills, and cognitive thrivership. For example, bedside readers show the importance of reading aloud slowly and ensuring that kids see the pictures simultaneously to the words being read. Bedside readers also model the importance of asking open-ended questions about the text, of pointing out unknown words and uncovering their meanings together, and of showing their own good and strategic thinking about text so that readers know that reading is about finding meaning (not just sounding out words as many readers learn to do). By showing off behaviors that promote optimal read alouds and quality dialogue, caregivers are able to see and hopefully incorporate some of these behaviors in their own read-aloud interactions with their children. Which is part of the hope of bedside reading, that these situations will lead to many more quality reading experience for kids in the hospital with their own parents and caregivers. 

To support BOOK IT 2020, go to www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. Donate $20 to fund one bedside reading book, and $600 for one month’s supply of high-quality books for the bedside reading read-aloud wagons.  THANK YOU for helping to honor cancer warriors and hospitalized kids during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!


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30 Ways ECBC Helps Cancer Warriors Thrive Through Treatment: Day #15 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 15. The 15th way that ECBC supports cognitive health for hospitalized kids is by making sure that we always have a supply of high-quality graphic novels to offer to patients–whether it be on the mobile book cart on the inpatient side of CHOC, via our Outpatient Infusion Center deliveries, through our book boxes for new cancer diagnoses, or at special events. Graphic novels tend to be criticized as inadequate literature for kids to read. However, high quality graphic novels have won prestigious ALA (American Library Association) awards for their terrific stories, deep themes, and wonderful illustrations. And, comprehending graphic novels where readers must construct meaning from individual graphic panels into a coherent whole is a cognitively complex activity that helps to develop good thinking. Also, good stories in graphic novel formats require the same comprehension strategies required for stories written in prose, such as predicting and inferring, so they are an opportunity to practice comprehension skills. Perhaps even more importantly, graphic texts can be a powerful bridge for reluctant readers to other text types, so they are a great starting point for reluctant/struggling readers that often end up turning kids into avid readers. Finally, they’re so popular — they are the best at getting the patients to put their screens down to read!

ECBC can’t keep graphic novels on any of our shelves, as they go immediately! To fund graphic novels for all of our programs, go to runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. $10-$20 funds one graphic novel, $100 refills the couple graphic novel bins on our book cart for OPI deliveries, and $500 re-stocks the graphic novel shelf on our inpatient mobile book cart.  THANK YOU for supporting BOOK IT2020 and helping to honor cancer warriors during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!


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30 Ways ECBC Helps Cancer Warriors Thrive Through Treatment: Day #14 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 14. The 14th way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive through treatment is by reading aloud high-quality literature with good narrative structure, strong psychological landscapes (i.e., characters with emotions), rich vocabulary, and significant themes. Often times when books are read aloud to kids, deliberate choices are not made that pertain to the quality of the book, but when kids listen to and talk about books with these characteristics, their thinking is substantially enhanced— cumulatively so over days, months, and years. This can be especially powerful for hospitalized kids and cancer warriors who often miss out on school, have fewer opportunities for literature-based instruction, and  have conditions or are receiving treatment that affects their cognitive functioning.

To help ECBC boost patients’ cognitive health by providing high-quality literature, click here: runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. Donate $20 to fund one bedside reading book, $50 for five gifting library books, and $600 for one month’s supply of high-quality books for the bedside reading read-aloud wagons.  THANK YOU for helping to honor cancer warriors and hospitalized kids during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!


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30 Ways ECBC Helps Cancer Warriors Thrive Through Treatment: Day #13 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Sept. 13. The 13th way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive through treatment with books and reading is with our Book Bands reading incentive program. Whenever patients say “yes” to bedside reading or participate in an ECBC hosted event or activity, they receive one of ten colored silicon bands (each with a different phrase about reading). If they collect all ten, they get to pick out a book to keep from the mobile book cart (or they may choose an ECBC t-shirt or a blank book crafting item such as a blank book or blank board game set). Rewarding reading with more opportunities to read or craft about reading—a powerful way to motivate thrivership. And it’s pretty cool to see a patient wearing a bunch of these!

To support BOOK IT by helping to fund ECBC’s Book Bands, go to runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. Donate $15 to cover the cost of fifty book bands, and $300 funds one thousand bands. THANK YOU for helping to honor cancer warriors and hospitalized kids during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!


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30 Ways ECBC Helps Cancer Warriors Thrive Through Treatment: Day #12 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 12. The twelfth way that ECBC has helped hospitalized kids thrive through treatment is through our Super Book Give Aways, which happen in the CHOC lobby alongside MaxLove Project’s Be Super Parties. During these lobby parties, cancer warriors and their siblings generally come to the lobby specifically to craft with MaxLove, but ECBC has usually succeeded in luring kids over to our mobile book cart so they can select one to several books to keep as ECBC volunteers reiterate the importance of reading while in the hospital. Sometimes during these events ECBC has also hosted a storytime followed by a book-inspired craft — which is especially powerful because literature-based art activities help children to think creatively and more deeply about what they read.

To support BOOK IT 2020 and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by helping to fund ECBC’s Super Book Give-Aways, go to runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. Donate $10 to provide one book for the mobile book cart, $50 to donate five books, $500 to sponsor a single Book Give-Away event including books and crafting supplies, or $5000 to re=stock the entire Mobile Gifting Library Cart. #BOOKIT2020#superbookgiveaways d#readthinkthrive #thriveagainstcancer#childhoodcancerawarenessmonth


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30 Ways ECBC Helps Cancer Warriors Thrive Through Treatment: Day #11 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 11. The eleventh way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive through treatment is by working hard to maintain a diverse collection of books that meets the varying interests and backgrounds of CHOC’s patients.  Choice is so important in motivating kids to read, and so far we’ve been able to sustain a collection that provides variety in genre, format, and topic across age and reading levels. Another powerful way that kids connect with literature is by connecting with characters, which facilitates their making text to self connections.  However, we are currently lacking books with diverse characters, especially books that emphasize the great diversity in ethnic backgrounds that is reflected in CHOC’s patients. And, we have a particular need for books that are written by African Americans or that celebrate black experience. To support ECBC’s BOOK IT Virtual Book Drive by helping us bolster our collection of ethnically diverse literature, you can go to www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. Donating $20 will provide one picture book for our bedside reading program, and $50 will fund five gifting books for our mobile book cart and book gifting events.  THANK YOU for supporting BOOK IT and helping to honor cancer warriors during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!


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Thank You Evan!

A HUGE shout out to Foothill High School senior Evan Antonius for the awesome boxes of books you delivered last night! Evan conducted his own BOOK IT book drive, collecting books that we are asking for on our Amazon BOOK IT 2020 wish list, so they are all high-quality books that ECBC needs for specific programs and patients. Evan has also been holding his own fundraiser on our virtual BOOK IT campaign website, and he’s almost 2/3 of the way to his fundraising goal. THANK YOU Evan for taking the initiative to support reading for hospitalized kids, many of whom are battling cancer. We appreciate you so much! To support Evan’s fundraising efforts, go to: https://runsignup.com/Race/53767/Donate/h2mGILClkH4yt4eG