Changing lives through literacy – Children of Bellevue’s Reach Out and Read program

Changing lives through literacy – Children of Bellevue’s Reach Out and Read program

Reach Out and Read is a national, evidence-based initiative that promotes early literacy and school readiness by giving books to children at regular checkups starting at birth. Parents also receive advice from their nurse practitioner or doctor about the importance of having daily, meaningful, language-rich interactions with their children. Children of Bellevue’s Reach Out and Read was the first of its kind in New York and has distributed more than one quarter million books since its inception. With your help, we can continue creating positive social impact by helping families share stories, bond together and transform their lives by supporting parents in building the foundation for their children’s overall development through those positive interactions.

Trained volunteers transform clinic waiting rooms into literacy-rich areas where they engage children of all ages in reading activities and model for families the joys and techniques of reading aloud.

Doctors and nurse practitioners speak with parents in the exam room about the importance of talking, singing, reading and playing with their children every day. They offer age-appropriate tips and encouragement as well as a beautiful, brand-new, developmentally-appropriate book to take home from birth to 5 years of age. Books are available in 6 languages and children in the program start school with a library of at least 13 books in their homes and the wonderful memories they have created with their parents by sharing those books together.

Our Parent Educators counsel parents in the waiting room by pointing out their child’s reaction to books being read, talking about the importance of language and early literacy, and giving advice about reading. These interactions set the stage for the doctor’s intervention. We also have the rare opportunity to reach parents of infants to help them understand the importance of looking at books with their babies before they can talk. Through the different layers of programming, they conduct in-depth developmental interventions while also referring parents to needed services within the hospital and in their own communities.

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