For the past three years, Agnesian HealthCare and Fond du Lac Regional Clinic physicians have partnered with the nationwide Reach Out & Read program thanks to continued support from the Agnesian HealthCare Foundation.
As part of the program, Fond du Lac Regional Clinic physicians provide new books at each well-child exam for ages six months to five years to promote early childhood literacy in local communities. Pediatricians, as well as family medicine physicians at the Division Street clinic and coming soon to the Fond du Lac Regional Clinic in North Fond du Lac, are participating.
A recent donation of more than 400 books from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families will help physicians continue this important service to area families.
Reach Out & Read is a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.
“The best opportunity to influence a child’s future is in the first five years, a critical window of rapid brain development that does not occur at any other time,” according to Brenda Grass, MD, internal medicine/pediatrics. “Children who hear fewer words during early childhood start school developmentally behind their peers and may never catch up.”
When families read aloud to their young children, they can give them a better start to life. With unparalleled access to families with young children, Reach Out & Read medical providers give books to children at more than 10 well-child visits from infancy until they start school. More importantly, they encourage families to read aloud and engage with their infants, toddlers and preschoolers every day.
The effectiveness of the Reach Out & Read model is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics in a policy statement that recommends early literacy promotion as an essential component of pediatric care. The program is both cost-effective, and evidence-based: research shows that the Read Out & Read program results in more frequent reading at home, accelerated vocabulary and critical brain stimulation.