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The JCY-Westchester Community Partner’s mission is to enhance the educational experience of children in Westchester County through effective learning initiatives and the engagement of volunteer mentors.

The Open Book: Reading Aloud is Ageless

The OPEN BOOK: Reading Aloud is Ageless, is an Intergenerational early childhood literacy program where adult volunteers read to children in pediatric and foster care clinic waiting rooms.


OPEN BOOK fosters reading and literacy among children and families. The program serves as enrichment for children and families, especially pre-school children who often have little experience or incentive with adults reading books to them.

There are many recent research reports which provide compelling evidence for the value of reading to young children. The most compelling is the wide gap in vocabulary upon entering school between disadvantaged and advantaged children. That gap then manifests itself in the low reading skills of 3rd graders - according to a recent report, less than half of 3rd grade students in the US can read at grade level.

That percentage rises dramatically for African American and Hispanic students across the country. The work done in OPEN BOOK with low and moderate income children and families contributes to their commitment to literacy and to a deeper appreciation of books.


Medical Center

Cedarwood Hall

Valhalla, NY



Since its founding in 1996, OPEN BOOK has trained and placed senior volunteers at the clinics of Westchester Medical Center and White Plains Hospital Center thus providing many thousands of hours of reading aloud to children, along with free new and gently used books and Parent Education Kits. OPEN BOOK is part of National Reach Out and Read Program.

In 2018, at the Westchester Medical Center the OPEN BOOK:

  • Provided 690 volunteer hours through 14 trained senior volunteers, given 6,521 new and gently used books to children and families, as well as provided parents and guardians with resources to help open up the world of reading to their children.