By making reading aloud together a daily activity, Reach Out and Read helps ensure that every child has the healthy foundation they need—cognitively, socially, and emotionally.
When parents and caregivers snuggle with their children and hold them in their laps while sharing books, these simple, everyday interactions stimulate optimal patterns of brain development and strengthen parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development.
Building on the growing research-based understanding of the developing brain, we know that 80 percent of brain growth happens before the age of three. Reach Out and Read is committed to supporting families in everyday moments to foster early brain development in their young children.
Books prescribed during Reach Out and Read visits are tools for families and medical providers. Just as the stethoscope is an instrument used to listen to a child’s heartbeat, a book is a valuable tool for primary care providers to evaluate cognitive, motor, social and emotional development.
Research demonstrates that our two-generation approach supports a baby’s healthy development by creating early attachment experiences. When caregivers create routines, such as reading together, the baby feels secure, safe and loved, and we know shared reading can help develop strong parent-child bonds that last a lifetime, buffering toxic stress and building resilience.
When a provider uses a book as a tool during a checkup, it creates an opportunity to support families in understanding children’s developmental milestones. Research shows that books effectively increase parental knowledge of the expected growth and development of their children and encourage social and emotional bonding between parents and babies.
Our clinics create a literacy-rich environment in the medical home, exposing children to additional print concepts, connecting them to community resources, and encouraging parent-child interactions while offering authentic opportunities to become engaged with books.
We’re consistently innovating to meet the needs of a changing landscape. As the importance of the medical home continues to grow, we are helping providers understand how to utilize Reach Out and Read throughout their interactions with families to go beyond literacy.