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 more positive attitudes 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 to help parents and caregivers know how to use books 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 to 5 years old at all well-child doctor’s office visits. Medical practitioners 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. Families also have a secure space in which to share any concerns about literacy, language, and overall child development.
Doctors advise families about how best to introduce books at different ages and how to build a love of reading by making book times warm, interactive, and enjoyable for everyone. All practitioners involved in the program must complete an hour-long training about how to present books and information to ensure model fidelity.
Reach Out and Read 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 libraries and storytimes.
How Many Children are Served?
Reach Out and Read is present in partnership with BPFC at 2 sites in Asheville: French Broad Pediatrics and Our Family Doctor. These sites serve over 1,600 children annually.
Buncombe County has additional Reach Out and Read partners at 5 MAHEC sites and the Western North Carolina Community Health Services.
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% 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 parents/caretakers and their 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.
Find out more at www.rorcarolinas.org.
French Broad Pediatrics offers well care for patients ages 0-21 years of age. The team specializes in newborn and childhood services and adolescent care (wellness, skincare, nutrition, and behavior). French Broad Pediatrics uses a patient-centered practice model focusing on individual patient needs and working closely with patients.
Our Family Doctor is on a mission to provide exceptional healthcare and a superior patient experience. Whether it’s prenatal counseling, newborn care, regular well-child care, individualized and non-judgmental immunization counseling, contraceptive services, women’s health care, diabetes management, nutritional and wellness counseling, dermatological procedures, or geriatric care, they can do it.
In addition to their excellence in providing these services alongside Reach Out and Read, Buncombe Partnership for Children is grateful for both practices’ financial support of the program.