BRIDGEPORT, CT - Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together, today announced their receipt of a $2,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Bridgeport. With the help of this donation, Reach Out and Read’s programs in Bridgeport will continue to provide new, developmentally-appropriate books and early literacy guidance during regular pediatric checkups to the over 2,300 children and families served by Reach Out and Read in the City through seven clinical locations.
“Education is one of Rotary International's six areas of focus. The Rotary Club of Bridgeport is pleased to provide this grant to Reach Out and Read to support your work in encouraging families to read together. We believe that discovering the joy of reading great children's books together will provide a firm foundation for future success in education.” Rotary Club of Bridgeport.
“Through this donation, the Rotary Club of Bridgeport is providing critical program support to our Bridgeport program sites, allowing pediatric medical providers to enter their exam rooms with more than their stethoscopes--they also carry colorful, new children's books for patients to take home,” said Reach Out and Read Executive Director for Connecticut and Massachusetts, Christine Garber. “We are thrilled and thankful to have this new partnership with the Rotary Club of Bridgeport.”
Embedded within the existing healthcare system, Reach Out and Read’s model includes providing a new, age-appropriate book for each child to take home at well-child visits from 6 months through 5 years. Along with the free book for the child, medical providers offer guidance to parents about the importance of reading aloud with their children every day starting at the newborn visit. With medical providers delivering the program, Reach Out and Read is uniquely positioned to reach nearly all children and their parents as they visit their doctor. The organization focuses on children growing up in low-income families as research shows they are at the highest risk for reading failure.
“In addition to using the books to encourage reading at home, medical providers use the books to open a discussion about reading at home with parents, as well as see whether a 1-year-old patient can grasp the book and turn pages, or a 3-year-old can point to a shape on a page or identify a color,” added Garber. “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 beyond. Childhood development experts tell us that the most important thing that parents can do to give their children a foundation for success is to read aloud to them every day. “
At a cost of only $100 per child for the full five years, over 300 Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses distribute over 70,000 new books to 40,000 children and their families annually in Connecticut, through 73 clinical locations.
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.
For more information on Reach Out and Read in Connecticut and Massachusetts, to get involved, or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit their website at http://www.reachoutandread.org/ctma