LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
One reason for the success of Reach Out and Read is that the program reaches families where they are—in healthcare centers, hospitals, and clinics all over Texas. Our message is delivered by medical providers, a trusted source, whom parents rely upon for developmental information. It is because of our strong partnerships with clinics across our state that we are able to share books and literacy advice with over 290,000 children and their families each year. Thank you to the medical providers who work so closely with us towards our shared mission of preparing young Texans for success in school.
I recently had the opportunity to present at a citywide meeting hosted by ‘Friends of Alamo City Reach Out and Read.’ Medical providers, site coordinators, representatives from city agencies, and literacy advocates participated in discussions on how we can work together to best support Reach Out and Read’s efforts in San Antonio. This conference served as one of many great reminders that the partnerships of Reach Out and Read must go far beyond the exam room and into the community. It is the responsibility of us all to ensure a bright future for Texas, and I appreciate the support of those who joined us for this event.
The 2012 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge has begun. This year, Reach Out and Read collaborated with Scholastic on two Reading Guides: one for parents with children birth to 6, and another for parents with children 6-13. The guide for children includes Reach Out and Read’s Developmental Milestones, Reading Tips for Parents, coloring/activity sheets for younger children, reading logs for parents to complete, and certificates of achievement to mark summer reading. I encourage you to take advantage of this great resource from one of our national partners, and want to remind you that summer does not mean a vacation from reading!
As this school year comes to a close and you pick up a “Doctor-Recommended Book” to share with your children, please consider supporting those who may not have this opportunity. There are many ways to get involved with Reach Out and Read: you can help by making a donation, becoming a volunteer reader, or simply forwarding this message to those who may not be aware of the program. Thank you for your commitment to the children and families we serve.
Director, Reach Out and Read Texas
It All Starts with Reading!
Lauren Dobbs, PA-C, MMS (Fort Worth, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Department of Pediatrics)
A volunteer in a pediatric waiting room reads to Joey. Joey loves the story and can’t wait to hear another one. Joey is one of many young children who believe someone reading to them is a “special treat” rather than a daily event. Fewer than 48% of children are read to daily and among low-income families only 36%. The volunteer starts to read another book but the nurse calls Joey’s name. He is taken back to an exam room with his mother for his annual check up. His height, weight and other vitals are taken. The nurse then points out the books in the exam room and states, “the doctor will be with you shortly until then enjoy the books on the counter.” Joey runs to the countertop and grabs several books and brings them back to his mother. He sits on her lap and for the second time today a book is read to him.
The doctor comes in the room and points out all the wonderful things Joey and his mother are doing. Joey is pointing at objects in the book and turning pages and Joey’s mom is asking Joey questions about the story and pictures in the book. The doctor provides Joey with a new age-appropriate book and bookmark. The bookmark discusses literacy milestones for Joey’s age. The doctor talks about the importance of reading at home and how literacy skills are developed. Joey and his mother are excited. Joey’s mom did not know reading to her child was so important and Joey likes having someone read to him.
Thirty-five percent of children enter kindergarten without the basic language skills needed to learn how to read. Children that are read to often and live in literacy-rich environments are much more likely to read on schedule, more likely to succeed in school, and more likely to graduate high school.
Reach Out and Read, a national non-profit, partners with healthcare providers to encourage families to read together and prescribes books at home. The program also partners with volunteers to read out loud in the waiting areas demonstrating techniques used to read to children.
As a result of Reach Out and Read, Joey learned how to read in Kindergarten, did well in school, graduated from high school and went to college. It all starts with reading!
Over the last 5 years, the UNTHSC program has integrated volunteers and the Fort Worth Public Library Staff to provide more opportunities for children to be read to everyday in the waiting room. Volunteers read to children in groups or one-on-one and librarians provide StoryHour one day a week in the waiting room. It has been a privilege to see Reach Out and Read improve children’s lives and futures.
A new study shows that at-risk Latino children who participate in Reach Out and Read from six months of age have average or above average literacy skills by the end of kindergarten, and good home literacy environments. The study – entitled “Kindergarten Readiness and Performance of Latino Children Participating in Reach Out and Read” -- is detailed in the Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education. Access the full study online here.
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5/11/12 – Dr. Shannon Herrick’s work promoting early literacy and prescribing books at Texas Tech Pediatrics was highlighted in the Amarillo Globe-News.
5/9/12 – Pai Pediatrics, one of our newest Reach Out and Read sites, was showcased in the Henderson Daily News.
5/7/12- The San Antonio Express-News ran a great editorial on the impact of Reach Out and Read on “establishing a culture in which moms and dads pack books in bags alongside diapers, bottles and toys.”
5/5/12 – The Amarillo Globe-News featured a Letter to the Editor praising the new Reach Out and Read program at Texas Tech.
4/30/12 - The San Antonio Express-News featured Reach Out and Read as a “Prescription for Illiteracy” in San Antonio.
4/19/12 – Reach Out and Read Texas is excited that the Daily Dose-Texas Tech ran a press release about the new site at Texas Tech Pediatrics in Amarillo.
4/19/12 - News Channel 10 featured a great TV news story on the new Reach Out and Read site at Texas Tech Pediatrics in Amarillo.
3/11/12- Permian Basin 360 highlighted Reach Out and Read’s growing impact in Odessa.
The editorial staff of the The Reach Out and Read Newsletter would like to hear from you. Please submit your comments, suggestions, and questions to Amanda Marlow at Amanda.Marlow@uth.tmc.edu.
Visit us at: www.reachoutandreadtexas.org
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