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January 28, 2020

What we’re doing is great, but can we do better?

Early brain development, parent engagement, and school readiness are important keys to every child’s success. When local Pediatricians support parents, share anticipatory guidance, and give each child a book during well-child visits from birth to five years, the providers scaffold a foundation for success. It strengthens families helps combat the effects of income inequality.

For the past 30 years, Reach Out and Read has provided an exceptional national program — training pediatricians, pediatric healthcare providers, and helping children and families. Reading and talking together may seem like a natural part of parenting, but children are not born with instruction books, and parents are busy and lack confidence in their parenting skills.

Recently, Reach Out and Read’s state leadership team, Alix Harper and Dr. Natalia Cap, visited three of our Suncoast clinics to conduct a Site Quality Classification (SQC). The purpose of the SQC is to motivate medical champions to implement high-quality Reach Out and Read (ROR) programs and to engage with parents and children during well-child visits.

What was the state leadership team looking for when they met with ROR medical champions?

  • Have at least 75% of the providers completed the ROR training?
  • Will new providers complete the training in three months?
  • Does the medical consultant inspire and provide program leadership?
  • Do all providers give books at the beginning of a well-child visit accompanied by anticipatory guidance?
  • They wanted to inspect the book’s storage area. Were the books high quality, developmentally, and culturally appropriate and easily accessible to providers before the well-child visit?
  • Are the books distributed during at least 85% of visits?
  • They asked providers to explain their storage system and methods they use to track book distribution.

Then, the state leadership team looked for evidence of a literacy-rich environment

  • How does the practice create a literacy-rich environment in the waiting room or in the exam rooms?
  • Does the clinic provide information about community resources such as libraries and adult literacy?

Next, they turned their attention to program management?

  • Does the clinic submit accurate reports on well-child visits and demographic data on time?
  • Is there a funding plan in place to ensure books are available?
  • Do medical providers refer their patients with literacy concerns to community resources and share adult literacy as needed?

The SCGLR Reach Out and Read program is a collaboration with The Patterson Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, MCR Health, CenterPlace Health (formerly the Dept. of Health Sarasota) and Capote Pediatrics —serving families in three of our four counties.

Our small team works with amazing volunteers. We order the age and culturally appropriate books based on clinic demographics, and volunteers sort the books and pack them for delivery to the clinics. We add information on VROOM, informative bookmarkers, and postcards that, when returned, provides SCGLR an opportunity to collect data to help us understand a little more about the families served by this program.

The ROR site assessment team evaluated three of our Suncoast clinics, and we are waiting for the results.

To learn more about what our clinics are currently doing great, what we can do better, and how you can participate, please look for my next blog.

Happy New Year!

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