Parents and their children are going home from the doctor’s office with free books and a very important prescription – “Read aloud to your children.”
The Pediatric Group is one of seven programs in the 4th Congressional District that are participating in Reach Out and Read, a national initiative that partners with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.
Between their 6-month checkup and age 5, children get a home library of 10 books before they start kindergarten, and their parents are being encouraged to read aloud to them.
To support the program, which has broad bipartisan backing in Congress, 4th District Rep. Hank Johnson read “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” by Eileen Christelow to 10 bright-eyed children at Decatur Pediatric’s Clarkston office on Aug. 28.
Johnson said that offering the opportunity to read to kids at the point of a pediatric visit is a tremendous idea.
“This should spread across the country as we implement the Affordable Care Act,” he said.
Reach Out and Read serves children at 52 locations across Georgia and reaches more than 96,208 infants, toddlers and preschoolers annually.
Nationwide, more than 28,000 medical providers participate in the reading program.
Earl Martin Phalen, Reach Out and Read chief executive officer, said research shows that if you intervene in the first five years of life and partner with parents, you can dramatically improve the early literacy skills of a child, putting them on the track for success in school and in life.
“Childhood development experts tell us that the most important thing that parents can do to prepare their children to succeed in school is to read aloud to them every day,” he said.
For more information, visit www.reachoutandread.org.