Fewer than half of parents in the United States read to their young children daily. DCMH’s pediatric team will take the time to read to their young patients.
The Women’s & Children’s Health Center of Door County Memorial Hospital is proud to announce their newest initiative called “Reach Out and Read.” The program helps children from the ages of 6 months through 5 years by training physicians to read to these children during their well child visit and then give them a book to take home. Pediatricians and medical professionals throughout the United States are participating in the program to help children prepare for school.
There are currently 4,535 hospitals and over 26,000 medical providers participating in the Reach Out and Read program nationwide. Recent statistics show that over 35% of American children entering kindergarten lack the basic language skills needed to learn how to read.
Parents of children living in poverty may not have the money to purchase books for their children and may not have easy access to children’s books. Reach Out and Read helps solve these challenges by providing books to children when they come in to see their pediatrician. As often as possible,, the medical caregiver will also take the time to read excerpts of the books to their patients.
Reach Out and Read is a national, nonprofit, school-readiness organization founded in 1989 at Boston City Hospital through a collaboration of pediatricians and early childhood educators. Through both public and private funding, the Reach Out and Read National Center provides funding for books, as well as training to programs nationwide.
When asked why the program starts at 6 months of age, Dr. Amy Fogarty, a pediatrician with Door County Memorial Hospital explains, “We start children at 6 months because this is the time when they become interested in objects rather than faces only. At this age, the idea is not that they sit and read with their parents 20 minutes at a time, but to expose them to books and get them excited about the physical and emotional contact that reading provides.”
“This has been a phenomenal program to enhance our care of Door County’s children and their families<” says Jenny Fischer, Director of the Women’s & Children’s Health Center. “Literacy skills are so important to our children’s overall well-being, so being able to incorporate reading into a well child visit has been exciting for us. The Reach Out and Read Program not only provides us with a way to select the best in children’s books, but makes the program financially attainable by offering the books at a very low price. But, even at low prices, the program requires a significant cash outlay. We are extremely fortunate to get funding two years in a row from the Archibald Douglas Foundation to help us make this program happen”
For more information about the Reach Out and Read program, visit their website at www.reachoutandread.org or contact the Women’s & Children’s Health Center of Door County Memorial at 920.746.3666.