Young children who are read to and whose homes have age-appropriate books develop language and pre-literacy skills earlier, have larger vocabularies, and start school with a more positive attitude about books and learning. Reach Out and Read is a program that partners with doctors’ offices to put more books in the hands of families, and help caregivers know how to use them effectively in the early years.
WHAT IS REACH OUT AND READ?
Reach Out and Read is a research-driven program that provides free books to children ages 6 months – 5 years at all Well Child doctor’s office visits. The medical practitioners have a chance to observe the child’s interest in and approach to the book, which is useful for noting on-target developmental stages. Books also open up conversations with families about what to expect in terms of language development at different ages, and to share any concerns the families may have. Doctors advise families about how best to introduce books at different ages, and build a love of reading by making book sharing times warm, interactive, and enjoyable for all. All medical practitioners involved in the program must complete an hour-long training about presenting the books and information to ensure model fidelity.
The sites also include waiting room spaces that support reading with young children – comfortable seating, plenty of books, and information about additional resources that may be of interest to families, such as adult literacy classes, Dolly Parton Imagination Library applications, and information about local library story times.
HOW MANY CHILDREN ARE SERVED?
This year, Reach Out and Read partnered with the Buncombe Partnership for Children to expand into 2 additional sites in Asheville: French Broad Pediatrics and Our Family Doctor. All told, these sites expect to serve over 1600 children this year.
Buncombe County has additional Reach Out and Read partners at 5 MAHEC sites, and the Western North Carolina Community Health Services.
In 2016-2017, Smart Start served over 70,000 children through ROR nationally.
WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES?
Reach Out and Read training and practices are supported by a large body of research.
Families participating in ROR were 84 percent more likely to be using one or more recommended reading strategies compared to those new to the program.
Participating families were 2.5 times more likely to read to their children
Children who participated in the program are an average of 3-6 months ahead of their peers in language and pre-literacy skills
Reach Out and Read has been shown to stimulate an overall increase in the number of words and conversational turns between families and young children
There is also preliminary evidence to suggest that Reach Out and Read helps medical practitioners develop stronger, more positive relationships with families, leading to better compliance overall
More information at: https://www.rorcarolinas.org/
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2229 Riverside Drive
Asheville, NC 28804