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Reach Out and Read gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. We serve children from birth through age five to prepare them with the skills they need to enter kindergarten at grade level, ready to learn to read and succeed in school. The first five years of life offer a critical window for learning, with rapid brain development that does not occur at any other time. Many children, especially those from low-income families, are not read to from birth. Where reading aloud is widely recognized as THE single most important activity leading to a child's literacy success, we work with pediatricians serving low-income communities to encourage parents to make reading aloud a daily routine. Our vision is that one day, all children will enter kindergarten at grade level, reading to learn to read, and with parents who are fully engaged in their children's cognative, social and emotional development.
Reach Out and Read gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. We leverage two extraordinary forces to improve early literacy and educational outcomes: the power of parents and the influence of pediatricians. The Reach Out and Read model provides parents with personalized, age-appropriate advice about books and reading at every well-child visit from the newborn through 5 years, along with a new book starting at the 6-month visit. Books are used by the medical provider at the beginning of the visit during developmental surveillance, and as a vehicle to offer concrete guidance to parents. Armed with this guidance, parents make reading aloud a part of their daily routines.
The concept is simple. Take a child from a low-income family where books can be rare and parents often too stressed or lacking the knowledge to spend time on reading. When the pediatrician sees that child, she "prescribes" an appropriate book and guides the parents on reading with the child daily. Because the book has been prescribed almost as if it were a medication, parents are far more likely to make reading aloud a part of their daily routine. As a result, young children in at-risk homes can build their literacy and oral language skills earlier and become better prepared for school - as they learn the joy of reading.