We Have a Prescription for Reading

Doctors at Charles Henderson Child Health Center have a prescription for all children age’s 6 months to 5 years who are being seen for well baby appointments. The Center has a program encouraging all children from infancy to school age to become acquainted with books and to learn to love them.

“ We are not interested in teaching the children the alphabet, “ states pediatrician Dr. Pat Block. “ We want children to learn that by sharing books with someone they love, parents or other family members, they will learn to love books.” Reach Out and Read is a program that was founded by Dr. Barry Zuckerman of the Boston Medical Center in 1989. The program was so successful that it turned into a national crusade. Dr. Zuckerman, whose Reach Out and Read program is based on the connection between reading and well-being, believes that loving books is the first step toward literacy. He believes that illiteracy is the catalyst for other negative child health outcomes, such as school failure, substance abuse and teen pregnancy. The Reach Out and Read Program relies heavily on the relationship between parent and health care provider and has two components:

In the examining room, the pediatrician gives an age-appropriate book to the child, comments on the child’s response and counsels parents on how to use books to support their child’s health development. At each well-baby visit to the Charles Henderson Child Health Center the child is invited to take home a new, developmentally and culturally appropriate children’s book. Over time, the child acquires a home library of books to share with family and friends. Charles Henderson Child Health Center believes that young children are especially eager for a parent’s full and close attention which being read to provides. Being held and read to is the beginning of a love of books. The Center is pleased to be able to offer a program to their patients and their families that will have a lasting positive impact and will hopefully start them on a road to successful learning.

For more information on the Reach Out and Read program call 566-7600.