Pediatricians and nurses at Community Health Alliance of Pasadena are sending families home from checkups with free books and a very important prescription – "read aloud to your children." Today, Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-29) visited the clinic, not only to cheer on the young patrons, but to practice what doctors preach by reading to a group of young patients.
Community Health Alliance of Pasadena participates in Reach Out and Read, a program that prepares America's youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. Reach Out and Read's medical providers advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and give free books to children at checkups from 6 months through 5 years of age. The books are new, carefully chosen, and developmentally-appropriate. Through Reach Out and Read, each child starts kindergarten with a home library of up to ten books and a parent who has heard at every health supervision visit about the importance of books and reading.
Congressman Schiff has long championed a "Kids First" legislative agenda, supporting funding increases for crucial programs such as Head Start, Healthy Start and Reach Out and Read, to give all children the support they need to mature and succeed.
"Children from families that read together are often better prepared to succeed, with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills," Congressman Schiff said. "As a father of two, I believe that capturing the imagination of children through books is one of life's great pleasures. I love reading to my kids and hope all families can be inspired to do the same."
Community Health Alliance of Pasadena is one of five Programs in Congressman Schiff's district that participates in Reach Out and Read, providing books to more than 1,200 children annually. Reach Out and Read serves children at 580 locations across California, reaching more than 585,000 infants, toddlers and preschoolers each year.
Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses distribute 6.2 million books to more than 3.9 million children and their families annually at 4,535 pediatric practices, hospitals, clinics and health centers in all 50 states, targeting those centers which serve children at socioeconomic risk. Reach Out and Read has one of the strongest records of research support of any primary care intervention. For more than a decade, studies have indicated that parents who get books and literacy counseling from their doctors and nurses are more likely to read to their young children, read to them more often, and provide more books in the home.
More than 26,500 medical providers nationwide currently participate in Reach Out and Read. For more information, visit www.reachoutandread.org.