SPRINGFIELD — National Reading Month in March brings many events celebrating literacy, something MiraVista Behavioral Health Center recently honored when Dr. Michael Krupa, its CEO emeritus and a licensed psychologist of more than three decades, read to the preschool children enrolled at Square One’s Tommie Johnson Child & Family Center.
“The joy and delight of reading can be available to everyone from earliest childhood through older age,” said Krupa, who holds a doctorate in developmental and child psychology from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. “I remain grateful that I grew up in a family that valued books and all the adventures they held.”
Krupa, who read the Margaret Wise Brown classic Goodnight Moon, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, added that he is “so happy to share that love and joy” with Square One preschoolers in recognition of International Read to Me Day, which is Sunday, March 19, and promotes reading to very young children.
Research shows that such early interaction supports brain development around language and thinking as children hear words connected to a story and pictures in a book.
Kimberley Lee, MiraVista’s chief of Creative Strategy and Development, who once worked at Square One, praised its long history of providing education and care to young children and their families and noted that Gov. Maura Healey’s proposed budget includes substantial funding for early education.
“Having had the opportunity many years ago to work at Square One, I know the importance of early reading and the lifelong benefits of early education. The value of supporting early education is seen throughout Massachusetts from Governor Healey’s office on down,” Lee said. “I am very excited for Dr. Krupa having had the opportunity to see the impact this organization is having and for Square One’s preschoolers to experience his love of reading.”
With a play-based curriculum that supports physical fitness, healthy eating, social-emotional well-being, mental health, and academic success, Square One currently provides early education and care to about 500 children each day. The agency, now in its 140th year, also provides family-support services to about 1,500 families annually.
Krupa is founder of TaraVista HealthPartners, a psychiatric and addiction-medicine consultation and management firm, and also CEO emeritus of TaraVista Behavioral Health Center, a 117-bed, Devens-based inpatient facility that is a sister hospital to MiraVista.
International Read to Me Day is supported by the Child Writes Fund, which works year-round to promote literacy through programs that help children write and publish their own books in communities where resources are scarce, encourage adults to become volunteer readers to children, and highlight March 19 as a day where children everywhere should feel empowered to ask someone to read to them.