Reading to your child(ren) at a young age is one of the greatest gifts that you can give them. Research shows that babies as young as 6 months old can benefit from being read to. At a very young age, your child(ren) are reaching developmental milestones of early literacy. These milestones reflect the motor and cognitive stages of early literacy that your child has achieved.
Reach Out and Read is a nation-wide program that partners with pediatric clinics to encourage reading at home and help develop children with both healthy bodies and healthy minds. Reach Out and Read works primarily with low-income communities – hoping to prepare children for school and encourage at-home learning.
Through this program, age-appropriate books are purchased for children ages six months to six years. These books are given to the children at every visit to their doctor. Dr. Patricia Bradshaw, a pediatrician at Eskenazi Health, greets all of her patients and their siblings with a new book. Dr. Bradshaw has children’s books in both English and Spanish and tells families that reading aloud daily is best for their children.
Lisa Robertson, Regional Director of Reach Out and Read Indiana, networks with foundations and companies who support their mission.
MDwise supports the program by donating office space, financial support and outreach services. The Kiwanis Service Clubs create reading corners in Pediatric Clinics where gently used books can be read. Other local organizations that have helped grow the services of Reach Out and Read Indiana include the Jr. League of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Foundation and the Hoover Family Foundation. You can help by providing gently used books for waiting rooms by contacting Robertson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about how reading can benefit your child, visit the Reach Out and Read website: www.reachoutandread.org. Some tips that I would like to pass on to Indy’s Child parents:
• Hold your infants and toddlers on your lap as you read to them so they can see your expression and watch your lips and truly engage with you.
• Make reading an interactive experience where children finish sentences—children love to hear the same book over and over.
• Praise them for bringing you a book to read.
Surveys show that only 48% of parents in the United States read to their young children daily. I am certain that 100% of Indy’s Child readers will read to their children today. Don’t forget the Indianapolis Public Library has two wonderful resources for young children: Baby Bunny Book Bags, with 12 board books in each bag, and the Bunny Book Bag, with 20 picture books in a bag. Each bag can be kept for up to 21 days. These bags are prepacked and books carefully selected by library staff, so start reading today!