In recognition of the importance of school readiness, the Board of County Commissioners of Manatee County and Sarasota County have both declared April 2017 Reach Out and Read month!
A child’s first five years set the stage for all future learning. That’s why school readiness is one of the key solution areas of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading – because early learning directly influences a child’s ability to learn and succeed. In order to thrive in school and in life, children need to enter kindergarten ready to read and learn. That’s where programs like Reach Out and Read come in.
Reach Out and Read is a school readiness program that incorporates books into pediatric care. Through Reach Out and Read, pediatricians give families prescriptions to read by providing developmentally appropriate books for children from 6 months to 5 years old and advising parents about the importance of reading aloud.
Children may not be enrolled in a formal early education program, but chances are they are regularly going to the doctor. In fact, more than 90 percent of young children routinely see a pediatrician. This makes pediatricians a highly efficient outlet for early literacy messaging. By introducing a new book at the beginning of each well-child visit, doctors can better engage and calm children, provide meaningful, positive literacy promotion messages to the parent or guardian, and build stronger connections with the family.
The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, through funding from The Patterson Foundation, United Way of Manatee County, the Manatee Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, has brought Reach Out and Read to our region. The program will be implemented at three locations in Sarasota County and five locations in Manatee County.