Coos County health providers join literacy effort
And the numbers illustrate that economically disadvantaged children are at particular risk.
So administrators of the three major health clinics in Coos County joined the national Reach Out and Read program, using well-child clinics in Berlin and Gorham as the contact point to encourage early literacy for families. Coos County Family Health Services, Weeks Medical Center and Indian Stream Health Center are participating.
“The books are used as a discussion point with toddlers as a good activity to promote language development,” said physician Brian Beals.
While the overall statistics present a cause for concern, research shows that children who are read aloud to from an early age are more likely to have higher scores on language measures in elementary school.
Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based program that provides free books to children from ages 0 to 5 years at each well-child visit. The program partners with doctors and clinicians to promote attachment and family reading by putting books in the health providers clinics to give to parents and to encourage parents to read to or point out the pictures to the child every day.
“Reading aloud is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills; it also builds motivation, curiosity and memory.
“Giving parents the information and the books to make reading aloud a daily activity enables parents to better prepare their children to succeed in school,” CCFHS administrators said in a news release this week.
Children in the Reach Out and Read program are observed to be invariably excited when they get to pick their own book from among three or four choices provided.
Books are made available to local clinics at a reduced cost through the national program. CCFHS administrators are seeking additional funding to provide books to siblings of the younger children at the well-child visits, and to have “new, good quality books” available in the waiting rooms.
To learn more about the program or support it with a donation, contact Bridget Laflamme at 752-3669, ext. 4016 or 54 Willow Street, Berlin 03570.
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Bob Hookway may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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