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. Her own mother, Marynell (Gigi), assisted by taking on the responsibility of reading to Aaron every day. Together they wanted to make sure that Aaron’s brain was ready for kindergarten. They both knew that the most important brain growth and development, the kind that physically forms the brain, began long before Aaron would start school. Research shows that when brain architecture has a strong foundation in the early years, infants and toddlers are more likely to be robust learners throughout their lives.
Just this past year, Reach Out and Read-Alabama’s doctors have had over 200,000 opportunities at check-ups to make sure that parents and caregivers understand their vital role in the brain and language development of their child. According to the 2018 Voices for Alabama's Kids Count Data Book , one in four of Alabama children live in poverty compared to one in five nationally. In a recent study of these children, neuroscientists found that differences in brain structure were particularly present in areas involved in memory, language-processing, decision-making and self-control.
While we cannot solve poverty for these families, we can provide opportunities for each of their children to develop a healthy brain and enter school ready to learn by empowering them to make reading a priority each day with a book (“brain-food”) prescribed by their pediatric healthcare provider through Reach Out and Read-Alabama.