NORFOLK -- JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED! When you think about doctors you naturally think about prescriptions for medicine. But what if your child's pediatrician prescribed books and reading to your child. Reading aloud is widely recognized as the single most important developmental activity leading to strong literacy skills and language development.

CHKD Pediatrician and Reach Out and Read National Trainer Dr. Dionne Palmer says being able to read is important.

Tip 1: Reading aloud helps children develop positive associations with books and reading. The nurturing and one-on-one attention from parents during reading aloud encourages children to form a positive association with books and reading later in life.
-Reading aloud to young children is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills; it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory. -Reading aloud in the early years exposes children to story and print knowledge as well as rare words and ideas not often found in day-to-day conversations or screen time. It gives children the opportunity to practice listening - a crucial skill for kindergarten and beyond.
-Among other things, reading aloud builds word-sound awareness in children, a potent predictor of reading success. Children who fall seriously behind in the growth of critical early reading skills have fewer opportunities to practice reading. Evidence suggests that these lost practice opportunities make it extremely difficult for children who remain poor readers during the first three years of elementary school to ever acquire average levels of reading fluency.

Tip 2: Why is Reach Out and Read such a trusted and effective messenger in the promotion of early literacy?
-Parents trust and value the advice they receive from their child's medical provider. Reach Out and Read is unique in partnering with the child's first medical provider, in the special setting of the pediatric health examination to promote a child's literacy. -Doctors and nurses are trained to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud to children.
-Participating medical providers offer the Reach Out and Read intervention to all children at each well-child visit from 6 months through 5 years of age. Most children see their pediatrician at least 10 times during this period.
-Reach Out and Read is working toward the day when all children enter kindergarten supported by highly engaged parents, ready to learn, and prepared to excel. By building on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers, Reach Out and Read helps families and communities encourage early literacy skills so that children enter school prepared for success in reading.

Tip 3: Is this program a part of all the CHKD primary practices?
-For more than a decade, Reach Out and Read has been building strong relationships between parents and medical providers. Both see the importance of helping children develop a love of books and reading and the ability to enter school ready to learn.

The Reach Out and Read program is practiced in all 26 primary care practices throughout South Hampton Roads, the Peninsula, and NE North Carolina.

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