Paterson -- Pediatricians at Great Falls Pediatrics are sending families home from checkups with free books and a very important prescription – “read aloud to your children.” Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) visited the health center, not only to cheer them on, but to practice what doctors preach by reading to a group of young patients.
"I was thrilled to connect with so many amazing children today as part of the Reach Out and Read program," said Rep. Pascrell. "As a former public school teacher, I understand that the most valuable thing we can give to our children is a good education, and that begins at home. Reading aloud to our children at home provides them the critical foundation of language skills they will need to succeed. It is up to us as parents to best prepare our children for the challenges they will face. I applaud Great Falls Pediatrics and St. Joseph’s Family Health Center for participating in this outstanding program and for focusing on literacy of youth in Paterson."
Dr. Manuel See and Great Falls Pediatrics participate in Reach Out and Read, a program that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.
Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read's evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups, by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children.
Through Reach Out and Read, each child starts kindergarten with a home library of up to 10 books and a parent who has heard at every health supervision visit about the importance of books and reading. The program begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities.
Great Falls Pediatrics is one of six programs in Representative Pascrell’s district that participate in Reach Out and Read, providing books to more than 2,700 children and their families annually. Reach Out and Read serves children at 75 locations across the state of New Jersey, reaching more than 70,000 infants, toddlers and preschoolers each year.
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.
“Research shows that if you intervene in the first five years of life and partner with parents, you can dramatically improve the early literacy skills of a child, putting them on the track for success in school and in life,” said Reach Out and Read- NJ Director, Kim Byam. “Childhood development experts tell us that the most important thing that parents can do to prepare their children to succeed in school is to read aloud to them every day. “
The Reach Out and Read model is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the program has one of the strongest records of research support of any primary care intervention.
Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses distribute over 6.5 million books to more than 4 million children and their families annually at 4,946 pediatric practices, hospitals, clinics and health centers in all 50 states.
More than 28,000 medical providers nationwide currently participate in Reach Out and Read.
For more information, visit www.reachoutandread.org.