Katherine Holmes, MD, a family physician, is introducing a program that puts free books into the hands of pediatric patients at UHS Primary Care Johnson City. The program, called “Reach Out and Read,” promotes early literacy and school readiness to young children and their families in all 50 states. Each year, medical providers at the nearly 5,000 Reach Out and Read program sites nationwide distribute 6.5 million books to children and invaluable literacy advice to parents.
“Every time a child comes in for a regular checkup, we will make sure they go home with a brand-new book at their reading level,” Dr. Holmes says. “We will do this from age 1 to age 5. At the end of five years, the child will have their own library of 10 books.”
Parents will be encouraged to read to their children and help them develop a love of reading at an early age, which can make a big difference in their ability to succeed in school, work and life.
“In a multicenter study, families exposed to Reach Out and Read were more likely to report reading aloud at bedtime and to owning 10 or more children’s books, both of which encourage literacy,” Dr. Holmes says. “And it’s widely known that children who develop an early love of reading perform better throughout their school careers.”
Working with a publisher who is in tune with the program, she was able to buy a quantity of new books at a discounted price. The UHS Foundation funded the first year’s supply. Dr. Holmes says, “We at UHS Primary Care Johnson City are excited about this opportunity to get kids reading, loving books and enjoying learning.”