Tag Archives: pediatrics

reading aloud

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary: Reading Aloud Builds Healthy Relationships

The following message is a guest blog from Sallie Page-Goertz MN, APRN.  Sallie is the Medical Director of Reach Out and Read KC and a Nurse Practitioner at KUMC Pediatrics.

 

“For children, a well-constructed brain depends on genetic makeup, the environment, and most important, the children’s relationships with adults who are attentive to them…and care deeply about them.”  (Petersen S.  Young Children. P.14. September 2012.)

 

I can’t say it better!  Children need people to hold, them, love them, talk, read and play with them for the very best developmental outcome.  Reading aloud is one strategy that serves to bring a caring adult into close physical contact with a child, doing a pleasurable activity.  For both children and adults, these special times help reduce stress and build relationships over time. 

 

sallie book

Reach Out and Read came into being because pediatricians who specialized in children’s development were concerned about their observations that parents were not in conversation with their infants and children; parents were not in close physical contact with their infants and children.  The strategy of having a health care provider give a prescription to caregivers to share books with children, along with the gift of a new, developmentally and culturally appropriate book, was the pediatricians’ response to those concerns.

 

Reading aloud, (or book sharing – making up one’s own stories based on the pictures, talking about the pictures on the page – the colors, the objects) is a time when caregivers can experience serve-and-return communication.  The caregiver reads/comments, and then listens/watches for the child’s response, and then reads/shares some more.  It is a great way for children and caregivers to connect.

 

Babies are attuned to the voices of people in their environment even before they are born.  After birth, their brain is changing rapidly, in part based on their environment.  The first 1000 days are the most sensitive times for the development of vision, hearing, language, and emotional attachment.  Connections between neurons can either be strengthened or pruned during this sensitive time.  One hopes that connections that are helpful to children’s well-being will be the ones strengthened – and this can be a challenge, especially for families who are living in stressful circumstances.

 

Sharing a book while snuggling a baby or young child strengthens important connections in the brain. Snuggling/being in conversation ameliorates the negative physiologic effects of toxic stress (stress that is unremitting, or intense, or frequent) and fosters the development of close emotional bonds. Reading aloud or sharing books of course helps build vocabulary and enhances a child’s readiness to learn in school, but most importantly, sharing that book makes a connection between things baby loves most – your voice, your closeness, and  books –a love for caregivers plus a love of books translates to a love of learning and a healthy life.

 

Executive Director, Mark Mattison

Giving Thanks, Giving Literacy

Executive Director, Mark Mattison

Executive Director, Mark Mattison, in ROR-KC book processing room

Everyone knows the holidays are a time for thanks giving and for giving back. As I reflect on the past year, I am so very grateful to have been entrusted with this wonderful opportunity to spend every day giving back alongside the mighty staff of five, 46 clinic partners, and over 200 active volunteers of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. Also, I am thankful to you, for your past support and ongoing commitment to helping ensure every child in Kansas City will enter school ready to learn.

 

Since coming on board as Executive Director in September, I have been challenged, inspired, and ever-so-honored to play a part in the important work we do and the contributions we make to improve the lives of children. Not only do I hear it every day in testimonials from our volunteers and clinic staff, in a recent Parent Survey 98% of our families reported getting a book at their child’s well-child visit, 95% of families reported getting literacy advice, and, as a result, 82% of families reported reading to their children three or more times per week!

 

Reach Out and Read Kansas City Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, during a well-child visit with four month old Katie.

ROR-KC Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, during well-child visit with four month old Katie

As you take a moment to give thanks this holiday season, I invite you to share your good fortune by also giving the gift of literacy – truly a gift that keeps on giving. A donation of just $60 to Reach Out and Read Kansas City provides a child with their own starter library, a new book received at each well-child visit from birth to 5 years old.

 

Your gift will spark the joy of learning in thousands of children throughout Greater Kansas City. Thanks to you and other advocates, in the next twelve months medical providers will meet with parents over 72,000 times to prescribe the importance of sharing books with their children. 30,000 children will take home a brand new age, language, and culturally appropriate book from their well-child pediatric appointment. And volunteers trained and provided by Reach Out and Read Kansas City will model book sharing skills as they read to children in clinic waiting rooms.

 

Research confirms that parents who receive literacy counseling from their health care providers, according to the Reach Out and Read model, are more likely to read to their young children, read more often, and have more children’s books in their homes. Over 70% of the children who visit Reach Out and Read Kansas City clinics come from low income families, and many of these families are struggling just to cover the basic necessities of food, rent, utilities, and transportation. They wish they could provide books for their children but their hard earned paycheck just doesn’t stretch that far. With your gift, Reach Out and Read Kansas City can help these children start the first day of kindergarten having experienced the joy of owning their own book, ready to read and learn.

 

Best wishes and Happy Holidays,

Mark Mattison
Executive Director

dad reading to daughter

Parent Surveys Confirm Program Success

Results from our annual survey to parents have been tallied and we have good news to report! Of the 1085 families reporting between late August and late October, 98% of families said they received a book at their child’s well-child visit,  95% remember receiving literacy advice from their medical provider, and 82% say that they read to their children three or more times per week! Purchasing, delivery, and inventory statistics tell us how many books we provide to children by way of our clinic partners, but this self-reporting from parents is true confirmation that we are fulfilling our mission of preparing Kansas City’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.

 
We would like to take this opportunity to show our gratitude for the clinics that are excelling in our program. At the following sites 100% of families surveyed reported reading to their children three or more times a week:

 

Brookside Family Medical Group Leavenworth County Health Department
Platte County Health Department Southwest Boulevard Family Care
Swope Central

 

At the following sites, 100% of families reported receiving early literacy advice from their medical providers:

 

Argentine Family Care Brookside Family Medical Group Grain Valley Family Medical Care
Heartland Primary Care Hope Family Care Jackson County Health Department
KU Silver City Clinic Swope Independence Leavenworth County Health Department
Platte County Health Department Samuel Rodgers Health Center Samuel Rodgers Northland Health Center
Swope West TMC – Center for Family Health Turner House Children’s Clinic

 

We want to be sure all of our families receive literacy advice and a book. This survey shows that we are doing well—almost all of our families are getting advice and books and this is translating into a high percentage of families sharing books with their children three or more times per week. Thank you to all our supporters and especially to our providers for making early literacy a critical aspect of your pediatric practice!

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2013-2014 National Annual Report

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We’re thrilled to share our  2013-2014 National Annual Report. 25 years ago doctors created Reach Out and Read in one exam room, in one hospital, and in one city. Today, it has grown to impact 4 million children with 5000 sites in all 50 states.

 

Here’s a short recap of our 2013-2014 year:

-Received David M. Rubenstein Award from Library of Congress in recognition of our groundbreaking work to advance early literacy
-Received a 1 million book donation from Scholastic
-Attended Clinton Global Initiative America meeting, made new commitments with Too Small to Fail, AAP, and Scholastic

 

We hope you’ll take a few minutes to check it out and celebrate an amazing year (and 25-year journey in early literacy) with us. Thank you for your continual support and partnership!

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Reach Out and Read on The Today Show

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 The Today Show: “Hope To It”

 

Our national chapter of Reach Out and Read was  featured on The Today Show! It was an incredible piece about Dr. Carolyn Boone, one of Reach Out and Read’s pediatricians that serves in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Boone and her story were featured as part of Today’s “Hope To It” series, which highlights people who have overcome adversity and are now giving back in their lives.

 

Dr. Carolyn Boone is more than just a pediatrician of 30+ years. She is also a mentor, a teacher, and a part of the families of the patients she serves.  As part of her involvement in the Reach Out and Read program, she starts each appointment with a book, understanding the vital importance of reading. Dr. Boone was a child of teenage pregnancy, raised by a foster mother on a small farm without much, but she did have books — and the message to pass along her love of reading to others throughout her life.

 

She became a doctor, dedicating her life to low-income families and adopting an holistic approach to medicine. “Books are just as important as an immunization,” says Dr. Boone, noting that books make sure the brain develops properly and are a way for parents to interact and talk with their children. Every day she promotes literacy and offers hope to the families she serves. The piece truly captures the power of Reach Out and Read, and how together through reading, we are changing lives, families, and futures.

 

If the video does not work, watch the piece here.

Hil Clinton

Literacy Toolkit for Pediatricians and Parents Unveiled by Hilary Clinton

booksbuildconnectionstoolkit_withtag_800w“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.”

 

Resources include:

-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.”

 

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Early Literacy and Reading Aloud is Taking the Lead

Early literacy has become a popular topic this week as the American Academy of Pediatrics issued its first-ever policy statement focused on literacy promotion. The policy calls for pediatricians to advise all parents about the many benefits of reading aloud, which promotes literacy and motor skills.

 

The new statement, aimed at 62,000 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics’, urges pediatricians to talk to parents about how critical reading aloud is for children’s brain development and literacy skills, and to provide books during visits for all low-income, high-risk children.

 

Reach Out and Read Kansas City is extremely excited to see how this new policy affects children’s development and enhances their lives. For 25 years, Reach Out and Read has trained doctors and nurse practitioners to give books and early literacy advice at well-child visits, and now that it is becoming an official policy for all pediatricians to follow, even more parents will understand the importance of reading to their children every day.

 

Studies have shown that every year, more than one in three children enter kindergarten without the language skills required to learn how to read.  In low-income families, children hear very few words by the time they are three. Reach Out and Read works to solve this problem every day and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new policy is another step in the right direction.

 

Now, there is nowhere to go but up as we continue to fight for children’s literacy and hope to witness even more children enter school ready to read and succeed.