Child Health Advocacy and Safety

Reach Out and Read

Two young girls readingAmerican Family Children's Hospital is a strong advocate of childhood literacy. As such, the Children's Hospital's Safety and Child Health Advocacy program is proud to promote the Pediatric Early Literacy Project.

A central component of the Pediatric Early Literacy Project is Reach Out and Read.

What is Reach Out and Read?

Reach Out and Read makes literacy promotion a standard part of pediatric primary care, so that children grow up with books and a love of reading. Reach Out and Read trains primary-care clinicians to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and to give books to children at pediatric checkups from six months through 5 years of age, with a special focus on children growing up in poverty.

UW Health pediatrician Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD is the medical director for Reach Out and Read Wisconsin.

By building on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers, Reach Out and Read helps families and communities encourage early literacy skills so that children enter school prepared for success in reading.

The Reach Out and Read Model

  • In the exam room, primary-care clinicians trained in the developmental strategies of early literacy encourage parents to read aloud to their young children and offer age-appropriate tips.
  • The pediatric primary care provider gives every child from age six months through 5 years a new, developmentally-appropriate book to take home and keep.
  • In the waiting room, displays, information, and gently-used books create a literacy-rich environment. Where possible, volunteer readers entertain the children, modeling for the parents the pleasures - and techniques - of reading aloud.

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