Why do our pediatricians prescribe books to their youngest patients?

What did your doctor prescribe at your last check-up? At Nationwide Children’s 10 Primary Care Centers every check-up for children through age 5 ends with the prescription of a new book. Our Primary Care Centers attend to children in under-served areas of Columbus where many families are living in poverty. These are the same children that often have trouble succeeding in school.

That’s where our Reach Out and Read program comes in. This unique program gives pediatricians the opportunity to encourage families to read together; improving a child’s chance of succeeding academically while using books to assess language, motor and cognitive development milestones. It also encourages parents to read more to their children. In 2011, our pediatricians prescribed 49,179 new books and parents report reading to their child 40% more. These books are often the first and only that many of our patients own and they are a treasure to take home from each check-up.

Additional gently used books are stocked in the waiting areas and families are encouraged to take several books home with them each time they visit. Last year, our centers provided 97,700 gently used books to patients and families of our Primary Care Centers.

Read Out and Read volunteer readers transform waiting areas into positive learning environments by engaging children and their families in literacy and music related activities. Volunteers model storytelling techniques that parents can observe and easily duplicate at home. Our volunteers are so engaging that children often don’t want to leave, begging their parent’s to let them listen to “just one more story!”

The Reach Out and Read Program is funded primarily through grants and generous support from the community. We can always use the gift of new or gently-used books.

Thank you to Claudia Barrett our Reach Out and Read Coordinator for providing this great information.

Donna Teach
Donna Teach is Chief Marketing & Communication Officer at Nationwide Children's. Her job is to help the hospital feel "connected" – Connected to each other, connected to our patients and their families, referring physicians, the community and the world.

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