Introducing children to books at an early age helps set a foundation for learning

Introducing children to books at an early age helps set a foundation for learning

Meet Demarcus, a three-year-old boy who presented to Jaime McKinney, MD, FAAP, at UAB Primary Care Clinic in Birmingham. After evaluation and talking with his mother, Dr. McKinney determined that this little boy had only a four-word vocabulary, not because of autism, but because there was zero word exposure in his home environment due to the educational limitations of his parents.

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Make reading a priority and feed your child's brain

Make reading a priority and feed your child's brain

Preparing a child to start to pre-K or kindergarten can be overwhelming. By reading aloud every day, Alabama’s parents build a foundation for success in school through enhancing brain and language development. With your support, Reach Out and Read-Alabama will incorporate books into well-child visits and empower parents to take an active role in this important process in their child’s development. 

Lizz Ford, a single mother, was one of those parents.

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Partnership with children’s author has Alabama roots

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Born and raised in Mountain Brook, author, Allen Johnson, Jr. is well known by children and their parents growing up around Birmingham in the 90’s for his well-loved book series, Picker McClikker.

In an article in the Huffington Post, Johnson says, “I lived a life filled with adventure, travel and success, but my life peaked at nine.” In his book, Fun, a memoir and books of poems and essays, he often reflects on the unfettered joy of growing up under the “benign neglect” of his parents.

Drawing on his childhood memories, Johnson has written a series of three books, collectively known as the Blackwater Novels, which are reminiscent of Mark Twains’ works about boyhood in the 1930’s. While these books are targeted at fourth and fifth graders, they provide opportunities for parents and grandparents to share their childhood adventures with their children and grandchildren when read together.

Through a partnership with Reach Out and Read-Alabama, Johnson has graciously donated 100 of the Moonbeam Award-Winning second book in the Blackwater Novel series, The Dead House.

We are grateful for the donation and look forward to distributing Allen Johnson, Jr.'s book throughout the state this summer to program sites participating in our Rx for Summer Reading Campaign. While the program focuses on children from birth through five years of age, it is always beneficial to have an inventory of books to share with older siblings.

Inside the Exam Room -- Western Health Center

   
  
   
  
    
  
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“This mom came in with her 12-month-old daughter and I could tell the baby was very familiar with books and that mom had been reading to her. She easily took the book and started pointing to all the pictures in the book I gave her. Then mom said that when they go out to eat, the baby loves to look at the menus and she showed me a picture in her iPhone. I asked her to send it to me and she did. They are lovely!”
                ~ Maria Meyers, MD, Jefferson County Department of Health, Western Health Center

We agree Dr. Meyers! According to Reach Out and Read’s Milestones of Early Literacy Development, children from 12-24 months should point and look at pictures, hold and walk with the book and turn the pages. Sheila is building Lisa’s brain by naming each item as she points to the pictures when they are at the restaurant. Because Sheila has been reading to Lisa daily with the books that have been prescribed by Dr. Meyers, she has learned how to use everyday moments to continue that process of learning and language development with her daughter.

"Instead of just an admonishment to read the books, the Reach Out and Read program uses them as a bridge to connect parents and children," said Dr. Dipesh Navasaria, Medical Director of Reach Out and Read-Wisconsin, in a recent article in the Herald-Tribune. Navasaria stresses that programs aimed at babies and young children should really be honing in on parents as the lever that affects a child’s success most.

"We need to help parents view themselves in that role. Every piece of advice, every program, every policy should only strengthen parent-child bonds. Period.”

From Syria to Selma

From Syria to Selma

Following medical school at the University of Aleppo and a pediatric residency at the Medical Center of Delaware, Lofti Bashir, MD, FAAP was recruited by Vaughn Regional Medical Center in Selma. “After a few days in the nursery at the hospital and visiting the area, I felt that there was a need for a pediatrician to serve the children and families here,” said Dr. Bashir. “I convinced my wife, who grew up in New York, to come with me for one year.”

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Alabama Brush, Book, Bed Statewide Initiative in 12 pediatric practices across the state

Alabama Brush, Book, Bed Statewide Initiative in 12 pediatric practices across the state

Using the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Brush, Bed and Book model and thanks to support from the DentaQuest Foundation, the Alabama Chapter-AAP and Reach Out and Read-Alabama, in cooperation with the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians, will distribute free materials to 12 practices across the state and guide them on talking with families about early literacy, oral health, and nighttime routines

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Inside the Exam Room ~ Dr. Elizabeth Dawson

Elizabeth Dawson, MD, FAAP and Area 5 Representative for the Alabama Chapter-AAP is the medical consultant for Reach Out and Read-Alabama at Charles Henderson Child Health Center in Troy. A program site since 2001, five providers prescribe 1,400 brand-new books to the children and families that they serve each year.

“As a pediatrician. we have the opportunity to instruct our families regarding the care of their children ~ what to do and what not to do. Through our Reach Out and Read program, I not only have the opportunity to instruct the parent about the importance of reading and sharing a book together every day, but I also get to give them the tool (book) to accomplish this important task. Nothing but good things come from this program and now I consider it an essential part of a well child visit.”

We had a great 2017 and it was donors like you who made it possible!

We had a great 2017 and it was donors like you who made it possible!

We had a great 2017 and it was donors like you who made it possible! Our year at Reach Out and Read-Alabama touched the lives of so many. 

Together we provided 150,000 new books to children at their well-child visits and 214,000 opportunities to educate parents to build better brains and brighter futures.

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A brighter future for children and their families in Gadsden and Foley as two new program sites are approved

Over the last couple of months, two programs sites, Gadsden Pediatric Clinic and Gary Eberly, P.C. in Foley, were approved to begin their Reach Out and Read-Alabama programs.

Gadsden Pediatrics will be prescribing books to over 2,500 children annually with the help of eight medical providers.

We are excited to have such great partners with  the United Way of Etowah County and Help Me Grow-Alabama.
— Dr. Claire Yother, medical consultant Reach Out and Read-Alabama, Gadsden Pediatric Clinic

In addition to prescribing books and instruction to parents, families will have an opportunity to receive more books by registering for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) through United Way. "Once parents understand the impact that reading daily has on brain and language development through Reach Out and Read, books from DPIL is an added bonus."

Welcome to our new program site in Gadsden, Gadsden Pediatric Clinic, P.A.! Listen as Drs. Claire Yother and Cynthia Hill talk about the impact of the program in their practice. We are grateful for the partnership with United Way of Etowah County & Help Me Grow Alabama!

Five providers will be prescribing over 2,000 books annually at Dr. Gary Eberly's office in Foley,

We are excited to kick off our program and provide a brighter future for the children of Baldwin County through books and instruction to the parents about the importance of  reading together daily.
— Crystle Jones, office coordinator for Reach Out and Read-Alabama, Dr. Gary Eberly

With the addition of this practice, four pediatric practices in Baldwin County now particpate in Reach Out and Read. Like in Etowah County, the United Way of Baldwin County partners with Reach Out and Read-Alabama to provide books to each of these practices.