Meet Krista Cox, a pediatrician that began her career at Baby and Child Associates Pediatric Practice in 1999 and has been there ever since. Dr. Cox was kind enough to take time out of her busy day to share a little bit about herself and Baby and Child’s new office. Dr. Cox has always been an advocate for early literacy and has continuously integrated the Reach Out and Read model into her practice. She has seen the positive impact books and family reading time can make on a young child’s life and future.
When Reach Out and Read Kansas City first began in 1997, Dr. Cox was completing her residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Right away she saw the benefit of incorporating books into pediatric care. In 1999 she began working at Baby and Child and carried Reach Out and Read’s mission with her. She knew through a myriad of studies that early literacy initiatives are important and work. For her early literacy is a way to not only encourage reading but also positive family time.
When a child develops a love a reading from their parents, a world of possibilities can open up to them.
A love of reading is a tool they can use for the rest of their lives.
What’s your favorite piece of family reading advice (or encouragement) to share?
When the baby is an infant, I like to ask parents to read and talk to their babies every day. It will make them smarter I say, and that makes parents smile. For older children, 3 and up, I like to tell parents that the more they read to their children the better they will do in kindergarten.
What are some of your favorite books to use with your patients and why?
Anyone who steps into our office will know that we are big fans of Eric Carle here at Baby and Child. His artwork is in almost every room. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a great book to use during well-child visits because of its use of color and repetition.
What’s your fondest personal reading memory as a child or reading to your own children?
I was an avid reader growing up, and I wanted to pass that on to my kids. When my children were little, I read One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Seuss more times than I can count. It’s fun to share that same book with parents in our waiting room and say, “Hey, I read this book to my kids thousands of times. Your child might really enjoy this book too.”
What is your favorite Reach Out and Read memory at Baby and Child?
While I don’t have one specific memory, there are certain moments that I love. When I walk into an appointment with a 9-month old (a child that might only babble or say things like mama) and the child sees the book in my hand and says, “book!” That is a good sign, it means that someone is reading to that child on a daily basis.
Baby and Child has quite a few ROR-KC volunteers. How do volunteer readers impact Baby and Child?
Even though parents know in their mind that reading is important, a volunteer reader can set an example of what goes into a good story time. The reader can be interactive, silly and use different voices. A reader can ask questions. Story time is a chance for the parent to have fun and interact with their child.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
One of the most rewarding things about working with Reach Out and Read Kansas City has been looking back a noticing the change in how parents view the importance of reading.
When I first started a generation ago at Baby and Child, parents would ask me why they need to read to their child? Especially if their preschool or daycare has reading time built into the day. But now there are ROR-KC children that have grown up and have babies of their own. As parents, they are showing greater interest and excitement when I talk about reading to their young children. I know that because of Reach Out and Read Kansas City I have been a part of that change.