Can you believe that Reach Out and Read-Alabama is celebrating 10 years of stories?
In the last 10 years, our pediatric healthcare providers have prescribed over 1.6 million brand-new books to the state’s youngest and most underserved children.
Currently, 60 of Alabama’s pediatric practices and clinics serve as Reach Out and Read-Alabama program sites in 30 counties, which serve 40 percent of the state’s children under the age of five.
The Reach Out and Read evidence-based program builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning in infancy. As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Reach Out and Read incorporates early literacy into pediatric practice, equipping parents with tools and knowledge to ensure that their children are prepared to learn when they start school. The program is an effective intervention because parents trust and value the advice they receive from their child's medical provider. During regular, one-on-one visits with the doctor, families grow to understand the powerful and important role they play in supporting their children’s development. Parents gain the confidence and skills that enable them to support early language and literacy at home.
“Prescribing a book during each check-up gives us the opportunity to connect with parents and create a partnership in the lifelong journey of learning for their child. What’s even better is that new studies are documenting the effectiveness of the unexpectedly complex interactions that occur when you put a small child on your lap and open a picture book,” said Cathy Wood, MD, FAAP, Alabama Chapter-AAP President and a Montgomery pediatrician.
According to 2015 Alabama Kids Count Data, 34 percent of children under the age of five live in single-parent families and almost 27 percent live in poverty. Programs such as Reach Out and Read-Alabama are vital in providing hope to these struggling families through the stories of brand-new books prescribed by their medical provider. For more information on how you can help, contact Polly McClure, statewide coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.