When we look back on our childhood,
many of us have fond memories of being read to, of snuggling up and
enjoying a favorite story with the people who love us. And it's not
so much the story that we remember, but the feeling of love and
security that it gave us. My father sat and cuddled my brother, my
sister and me every evening when he came home from work. We would
sit all together on the bed in our PJs, and he would read us a
story, or, if we were really lucky, make up one of his own. My
favorite was about a cabbage that uprooted itself and went on a
journey to become king of the vegetables!
It turns out that what has been a
time-honored tradition in so many families is actually a wonderful
way of helping children to reach their full potential. We now know
that when parents spend time focusing on their young children, it
stimulates their brains to create connections that last a lifetime.
Reading aloud gives children important early literacy skills and a
love of reading. More importantly, the act of enjoying time
together as a family creates the bonds that will give children a
foundation for future learning and for building loving
At Reach Out and Read, we believe
that all families should have the tools and information needed to
make reading aloud a daily routine. There are many parents who want
to do the best for their children but don't know that the simple
act of reading aloud to their infants and toddlers every day can
make a world of difference.
Our Reach Out and Read doctors and
nurses have unparalleled access to families with young children at
a time when many are not given any other formal advice about
parenting. They give a new book to each child at their pediatric
check-ups, and guidance about the importance of reading
It is a privilege to be able to
help families create their own memories of reading aloud together.
A Reach Out and Read doctor in Saucier, MS, told us this story:
"I know that Reach Out and
Read makes a difference to my patients. When I give my patients
their first book at the 6 month old well-child visit, I am often
told this is the only book in the home. The simple gift of one book
opens a door of possibility in the minds of the child's parents.
For the first time they consider the value of books in the home
life of their child. They usually come back at the next well-child
visit saying they have acquired a few other books for the child
that he enjoys sharing with his parents."