“Fewer than half of children younger than 5 years old are read to daily in our country. For 25 years, programs such as Reach Out and Read have been promoting literacy in exam rooms nationwide, and now, even more pediatricians are taking a stand…”
The former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, released a new literacy toolkit titled Books Build Connections at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition in San Diego on October 12th. Clinton and the AAP have partnered to create this early literacy toolkit written by pediatricians for pediatricians to help them discuss with parents and caregivers the importance of early literacy in brain development.
In a press release issued by the AAP, it is noted that “in June 2014, [we] announced a collaborative partnership with Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation. The organizations have committed to promote early literacy and ensure that doctors, parents and caregivers have the information, tools and books they need to promote talking, reading out loud and singing to children every day starting in infancy.”
The president of the AAP, James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, said, “Fewer than half of children younger than 5 years old are read to daily in our country. For 25 years, programs such as Reach Out and Read have been promoting literacy in exam rooms nationwide, and now, even more pediatricians are taking a stand to spread the news more widely through our recent policy, toolkit and partnership with Too Small to Fail. Talking, reading and singing with young children is a joyful way to build strong and healthy parent-child relationships, foster early language skills and promote children’s development.”
Furthermore, as part of the partnership with Too Small to Fail and AAP, Scholastic, Inc. agreed to donate 500,000 new, age-appropriate children’s books for distribution through Reach Out and Read National, working with 20,000 medical providers nationwide to promote early reading and giving books to 4 million children and their families annually at pediatric visits.
The Books Build Connections toolkit, available online at www.aap.org/literacy, incorporates recommendations to emphasize early literacy, from an infant’s very first days, as an essential aspect of pediatric care. According to the AAP, “the toolkit provides updated, practical resources for pediatric professionals, as well as guidance for families on the importance of talking, reading, and singing with their children to promote early learning. The toolkit includes 12 tip sheets, parent handouts and other publications in easy-to-use, mobile-friendly formats to help pediatricians promote early literacy.”
-16 concrete ways pediatric health professionals can promote early literacy in their practice and community;
-Background for pediatric professionals on the science of early literacy;
-Parent-friendly tips on sharing books with children at specific ages and stages of development, from birth through age 10;
-Advice for parents on “the secret to a smarter baby”;
-Recommendations on choosing books for children based on age and topic, including specific titles;
-Tips from doctors on reading with very young children, including the 5 Rs of early education.
“Pediatricians want all parents and caregivers to know that by making special one-on-one time every day to read, talk and play with their young children, they are promoting their child’s early learning. This kind of treasured experience actually creates new connections in their child’s brain that promote language development and secure the bond between parent and child,” said Pamela High, MD, FAAP, lead author of the AAP’s early literacy policy statement. “By creating the Books Build Connections toolkit, the AAP and Too Small to Fail, in collaboration with Reach Out and Read, are getting the word out to families that early experiences really matter.”