Prepares America's kids to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.
Building Better Brains with Books with a prescription for reading!
Books are more than the stories inside...they are the key to unlocking the potential in every child in Alabama, and that is where Reach Out and Read steps in. We prepare America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.
Because of the efforts of over 300 medical providers (plus pediatric residents) in 70 practices and clinics, Reach Out and Read-Alabama has provided 128,300 brand new books at 153,300 well child visits-that’s almost 500 new books and one-on-one messages to parents and caregivers each day about the importance of reading together this past year!
Books and literacy guidance are important to families like Kineka Nealy and her son, Desmond. During the six-month visit, Dr. Maria Meyers wrote a Prescription for Summer Reading and suggested to Kenika that she could access more books for Desmond at her local library. Kineka is a single parent and receives well child care for her son through one of six Jefferson County Health Center locations in the Birmingham area.
“I had a mom who just brought her 9 month old in, and I had given her a book last visit at 6 months after which she had taken her baby to the library. She showed me a picture of her baby standing up at the book shelf at the library - a 9-month-old child at the library taking down books from the shelf!!!! I was tickled to death.” ~ Dr. Maria Meyers, Western Health Center Ensley
The Prescription for Summer Reading program is a partnership between Alabama Public Television, Birmingham Public Libraries and Reach Out and Read’s pediatric healthcare providers to prescribe summer reading to children and to increase participation in the library’s summer programs.
In addition to participating in the local library’s summer reading program, families were encouraged to Read Together and Make Physical Activity Fun in our summer campaign. Using the book, Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton, 26 practices and clinics distributed over 2600 books while highlighting fun physical activities for the whole family. Family fun included singing and chicken-dancing together, healthy snacks and even a real, live petting zoo at one of the program sites!
All of these activities share one important message: Read aloud to your children daily! Because of the unique relationship that pediatric healthcare providers share with families, linking this message to the importance of healthy brain development makes an impact and difference in behavior. Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills, better prepared to achieve their potential.
According to Alabama’s Kids Count Data 2012, 27.4% of Alabama’s children live in poverty and 34% of them live in single-parent households. New books and advice to parents through Reach Out and Read may be the only chance for these children to have access to a life of learning.