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Reach Out and Read: Immunizing Children against Illiteracy
Reach Out and Read (ROR) Begins in Pediatric Exam Rooms
The non-profit organization Reach Out and Read encourages school readiness and early literacy by giving books to children when they visit the doctor. Pediatric medical providers build a relationship with the parents to help them understand how critical it is to start developing reading skills as early as six months of age.
Reading aloud to children helps them gain a larger vocabulary and builds their language skills. It has been proven that those children and their families involved in Reach Out and Read are better prepared to enter kindergarten and achieve their full potential.
Literacy Crisis in the Public Education System
Did you know that more than 1/3 of American children do not have the basic language skills needed to be able to begin learning to read when they enter kindergarten? These early literacy skills are critical for their development. They should be able to:
- Recognize letters of the alphabet
- Understand that you read a book from left to right
- Understand and be able to tell a story
Children who begin school unprepared are extremely likely to not ever catch up. Reading difficulty contributes to the perpetual cycle of poverty and dependency causing:
- Failure in school
- Increase risk of absenteeism
- Dropping out of school
- Juvenile delinquency
- Substance abuse
- Teenage pregnancy
Partnering with Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read was founded in 1989 at the Boston, Massachusetts City Hospital. The premise is to promote early literacy as a standard part of pediatric primary care to help with the growing problem in the U.S. Pediatric medical professionals prescribe books to children and their families, especially those in low-income communities. Doctors, nurses and other health care providers encourage reading aloud beginning at a child’s six-month checkup through the age of five.
Reach Out and Read has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and additional organizations whose routine primary care centers around treating the “whole child.” These positive experiences early in life enhance each child’s ability to become a productive member of society.
Alarming Literacy Statistics
The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) defines literacy as: the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential.
- It is predicted that if a child is not reading proficiently by the end of 4th grade, they have an approximate 78% chance of never catching up. In addition, two-thirds of the students who are not at the 4th grade proficient level will end up in jail or on welfare.
- According to the Department of Justice, illiteracy and crime are closely related.
- More than 60% of all prison inmates are functionally illiterate.
Three-Part Model for Reach Out and Read
This simple yet effective model helps prepare young children for school.
- During a child’s doctor appointment, parents receive support and age-appropriate guidelines encouraging them to read aloud to their children on a daily basis.
- The child/parents are given a developmentally-appropriate children’s book to keep.
- A waiting room environment rich with books and information for the parents is clearly present.
ROR – What You Can do to Help
- Promote early literacy techniques with your children and grandchildren.
- Volunteer to read to children in a setting such as a medical waiting room, a hospital, library, etc.
- Volunteer to set up or take part in a Book Drive to collect new and gently used books for Reach Out and Read.
- Donate books and/or money to a local Reach Out and Read provider.
Reach Out and Read Programs are located in all 50 states and also military bases overseas. To find a location near you, please go to the link below on the ROR website where you will find a map that also includes ROR Coalition locations.
Thank you so much for stopping by. With a little bit of effort, we all can do our part to help "immunize children against illiteracy."
This is Sharyn's Slant
Kylie's Blossoms by Maria Jordan
Here is a beautiful children's book written by a fellow HubPages writer that would make a wonderful gift to read aloud to a special child in your life.
Kylie's Blossoms, richly illustrated with the colors of the seasons, tells the tender hearted story of a little girl and her teddy bear. Every month of the year the two meet a new floral friend in the woods. The charming designs surrounding the lessons that Kylie learns make this beautiful book the perfect gift, sure to become a year round bedtime story that all ages will enjoy.
You can purchase Sunnie's book here on Amazon!
Sunnie and Her Peeps by Sunnie Day
Here is another awesome children's book by HubPages writer Kim Kruise Thompson (Sunnie Day) that would make a beautiful gift for a child and their family.
Sunnie and Her Peeps is a delightful story of a little girl and her chicks. Sunnie always dreamed of buying her own peeps. One day her dream came true. She soon learns that these little peeps have colorful personalities that make each one unique in their own way. Chrissy is Sunnie's little dog who becomes friends with the little peeps. The reader will enjoy the antics of these little peeps and learn about chickens along the way.