In this year’s State of the State address, Gov. Scott Walker emphasized the importance of reading to ensure every child in the state “has access to a great education.”
Access is important, but for children to fulfill their intellectual potential, they must begin school with age-appropriate language skills. Our children deserve to enter kindergarten ready to learn, not ready to remediate.
Reach Out and Read is a nationally recognized, evidence-based program. We recognize that the first five years of life offer a crucial window for learning, with rapid brain formation that does not occur at any other time. We partner with medical providers to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. They learn how to teach parents to engage infants and toddles in reading aloud. At the six-month visit, children receive the first of 10 new, developmentally appropriate books. And, medical providers gain a new tool — the book — to access the child’s development and the parent-child relationship. As a primary-care family physician myself, I know that walking into a well-child exam without a book for that child is like walking in without my stethoscope.
The governor’s Read to Lead Task Force Report in January 2012 endorsed Reach Out and Read as an effective way to engage parents in their child’s development. At roughly $5 a visit, Reach Out and Read is inexpensive to implement, easy to replicate and makes a difference. Reach Out and Read Wisconsin works to make literacy promotion a standard part of pediatric care so that all children in Wisconsin grow up with books and a love of reading.
Learn more at www.chawisconsin.org/ror.htm and www.reachoutandread.org. Remember, books build better brains.
Wendy Molaska, M.D.
Physician Trainer for Reach Out and Read Wisconsin
Board of Directors, Wisconsin Medical Society
Dean Clinic Platteville
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