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News, Events, and Updates from Reach Out and Read

Giving Books Should Be as Routine as Giving Immunizations


Reach Out and Read is changing the way pediatrics is practiced by giving medical providers an evidence-based strategy to promote healthy child development.

Giving Books Should Be as Routine..

Twenty six years ago, two Boston Medical Center pediatricians recognized their unique opportunity to have an impact on the development, as well as on the health, of the children they served. They adopted a simple model of prescribing books and reading aloud as a means of fostering the language-rich interactions between parents and their young children that stimulate early brain development. 

The effectiveness of this model has been established by peer-reviewed, published studies showing that the children served are read to more often by their parents, have improved language skills, and a greater love of reading.

Over the last two decades, the Reach Out and Read model has been widely adopted by the pediatric healthcare community. The program is now practiced by 21,000 medical providers, at 5,500 program sites across the nation, and is spreading rapidly. In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics promoted our program in a policy statement "Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice", that stated:

"By initiating early support for reading aloud….pediatric providers can leverage their unique opportunity to influence children in the very early years of life."

We are committed to continuing to improve our influence on childhood development by supporting research into the impact of early literacy promotion through our Reach Out and Read Young Investigator Awards.

This year, significant interest was generated by groundbreaking research  from one of our Reach Out and Read Young Investigator awardees at the Pediatric Academic Societies conference. Dr. John Hutton, working at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, used MRI imaging of young children's brains to show that reading aloud is associated with differences in brain activity that supports early reading skills.

There were a number of other research presentations at the meeting based on Reach Out and Read, and, as Dr. Tom DeWitt, co-chair of the Reach Out and Read board commented "It's exciting to see so many people exploring different aspects of the intervention - and further evidence of the way that Reach Out and Read has become embedded in pediatric practice and good quality care".

Written by Nikki Shearman at 09:30

Half a Million New Children's Books Will be Distributed through Reach Out and Read to Help Close the Word Gap

Scholastic donation 1

In the past few weeks, thousands of new children's books have been arriving at Reach Out and Read program sites across America. This is the first shipment of 500,000 books donated by Scholastic as part of a national collaboration to promote early language development announced at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting last year. 

Reach Out and Read is partnering with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Scholastic and Too Small to Fail, using a multi-pronged approach to ensure that doctors and nurses have the information, tools, and books they need to help families make reading aloud with their children a daily activity.

Research shows that a child's first three years offer a critically important window for brain development. Reading aloud, talking, singing and rhyming every day during these early years helps young children reach their full potential. 

However, the Kids & Family Reading ReportTM: Fifth Edition, conducted by Scholastic and YouGov, shows that 50% more parents from highest-income households versus lowest-income households have received advice that children should be read aloud to from birth - a recent recommendation from AAP. Further, additional research has found that by age four, children in poverty hear 30 million fewer words than their higher-income peers. 

Scholastic donation 2

Medical caregivers have a unique opportunity to help close this word gap. Through the trusting relationship that doctors and nurses have with their patients, they are able to influence parents from all income levels and provide them with information on how reading aloud from birth will benefit their children.

The books have been received with great excitement by Reach Out and Read doctors and program coordinators, who appreciate the impact that these books will have on the families they serve.

"The donated books we received will be distributed among our clinics and given to children in need, many of whom do not regularly have access to books. Your support inspires us to continue working towards the shared goal of fostering both literacy development and a love of reading that will invaluably benefit them for the rest of their lives." Rosie Ball and Janie Klapko, Reach Out and Read, Michigan

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Written by Nikki Shearman at 00:00

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Reach Out and Read National Center
89 South St, Suite 201
Boston, MA 02111