LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
Dear Friends of Reach Out and Read Texas:
Welcome to the first edition of the Reach Out and Read Texas e-newsletter. Our goals for this quarterly communication are to provide updates from across Texas, share best practices, and let you know of various ways to support Reach Out and Read in your community.
Before we move forward, I think it is important to take a moment and recognize the tremendous impact Reach Out and Read currently has across our state:
- As of January 2011, there are 252 active Reach Out and Read sites in clinics and hospitals across Texas, reaching 250,000+ children annually.
- Last year, Reach Out and Read Texas medical providers distributed over 396,688 books to children, while advising parents about the importance of reading aloud. Studies show that families served by Reach Out and Read share books together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills, and a six-month developmental edge.
- Families at six active military installations in Texas are benefiting from the Reach Out and Read program—including those at Ft. Hood and Ft. Bliss.
- Reach Out and Read Texas has a waiting list of over 40 medical providers who see the great value of the program and wish to provide it to their families.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the dedication and enthusiasm of our volunteer medical providers and staff, advocates, funders, and friends. Thank you for everything you do to help ensure Texas children enter school ready to learn and poised for future academic success.
Reach Out and Read Texas
REACH OUT AND READ –
THROUGH THE EYES OF A DOCTOR
A book is given, a future is changed
Cheryl Hardin, MD, FAAP(Houston)
Erica* (name changed to protect privacy) came to see me last week for her 18–month checkup. After her temperature, weight and height were taken, she was escorted to the examination room. Upon entering the exam room, I presented her with a brand–new, developmentally appropriate children's book from our Reach Out and Read program. She laughed delightedly, leaned against her mother and began to turn the thick pages of her new book. She pointed out and named animals, body parts and toys. Her mother remarked that reading had become a favorite bedtime ritual for Erica, and that it helped them both calm down at the end of the day. A book is given, a future is changed.
Thirty–five percent of American children entering kindergarten today lack the basic language skills they will need to learn to read. Children who live in print–rich environments and who are read to during the first years of life are much more likely to learn to read on schedule. Fewer than half of parents (48%) in the United States read to their young children daily. Parents of children living in poverty may lack the money to buy books, may not have easy access to good children's books, and may not themselves have been read to as children, with the result that millions of children are growing up without books.
Reach Out and Read, a national nonprofit, prepares America's youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. At every well–child checkup between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, the pediatric primary care provider gives every child a new, developmentally-appropriate children's book to take home and keep. In the pediatric office 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.
It has been such a privilege to include the Reach Out and Read program in my practice for the past 14 years, and I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in changing the future for our children.
Dr. Hardin voluntarily serves as the Medical Director for Reach Out and Read Texas. She practices at Texas Children's Pediatric Associates–Corinthian Pointe. Her site distributes books and literacy–guidance to over 2300 children and families each year.
*If you would like your Reach Out and Read site featured in our newsletter, please submit a vignette to Amanda.Marlow@uth.tmc.edu
TOP 5 REASONS TO SUPPORT REACH OUT AND READ
Photo courtesy of Reach Out and Read National Center.
- Reach Out and Read prepares children to succeed in school.
Fourteen peer–reviewed, published research studies demonstrate that children served by Reach Out and Read are read to more often, have larger vocabularies, and develop stronger early reading skills.
- Reach Out and Read is cost-effective.
Reach Out and Read is delivered to children through the existing healthcare infrastructure (hospitals, health centers, and clinics) by volunteer doctors, nurses, and staff, significantly reducing overhead and enabling Reach Out and Read to serve millions of children at a fraction of the cost of other nonprofit organizations
- Reach Out and Read has been recognized annually for its fiscal responsibility, program effectiveness, and social impact.
Charity Navigator has awarded its highest rating of four stars to Reach Out and Read for five consecutive years in recognition of the fact that Reach Out and Read "consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America."
- Reach Out and Read is doctor–recommended.
The Reach Out and Read model of early literacy promotion is officially endorsed by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. In addition, the Reach Out and Read model is included in the "Bright Futures" guidelines of recommended practices for all pediatric care providers.
- Reach Out and Read has nationwide scale and local impact.
Reach Out and Read serves 3.9 million children annually through 4,600 participating programs across the nation. Together, they distribute more than 6.4 million books every year. Reach Out and Read is serving more than one–third of children living in poverty and more than 25% of U.S. military families. In Texas, over 250 clinics and hospitals implement the program, serving more than 250,000 children annually.
*If you are aware of a foundation, business, or individual who may be interested in supporting Reach Out and Read Texas, please contact Amanda.Marlow@uth.tmc.edu
NEWS FROM ACROSS THE STATE...
- Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D–San Antonio) showed her enthusiasm for the Reach Out and Read program by launching a book drive in collaboration with Representative Susan King (R–Abilene) at the State Capitol on February 28th. To kick–off the event, a resolution recognizing the impact of Reach Out and Read in Texas was adopted by the Texas Senate and House of Representatives. A copy of the resolution can be found at: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/SC00019E.htm
- On March 3, Reach Out and Read coalition leaders and scores of pediatricians who provide early literacy support to their patients through Reach Out and Read met with legislators in Washington, DC to advocate for the national nonprofit. Amanda Marlow, Laura Moore, and Dr. Cheryl Hardin met with staff members and legislators from various Texas offices, sharing firsthand the impact Reach Out and Read has across our state.
- Welcome New Sites (Winter 2010/Spring 2011):
- Premier Pediatrics (Longview, TX)
- The Pediatric Center (Richmond, TX)
- Ennis Pediatrics (Ennis, TX)
- Oak Bend Medical Group (Rosenberg, TX)
- Dr. Paola D. Wiernik (McAllen, TX)
Together, these sites provide the Reach Out and Read intervention to an additional 16,640 children annually.
The editorial staff of the The Reach Out and Read Newsletter would like to hear from you. Please submit your comments, suggestions, and questions to Amanda Marlow at Amanda.Marlow@uth.tmc.edu.
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