(Marlborough, MA) March 15, 2010 – Medical providers at Marlborough Pediatrics are sending their youngest patients home with free books and important advice for their parents – “Read to your children every day.” Today, State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) visited the practice and read to a group of young children, emphasizing the importance of reading aloud.
Marlborough Pediatrics, which is affiliated with Marlborough Hospital, participates in Reach Out and Read (ROR), a national children’s literacy program that focuses on young children at risk of entering school unprepared to learn. At every checkup, clinicians in ROR guide and encourage parents to read aloud to their young children every day, and give each child a carefully-selected new, developmentally-appropriate book. By the time that child enters school, he or she will have a home library of up to 10 books.
Reach Out and Read has one of the strongest records of research support of any school readiness intervention. Studies show that parents who get books and counseling on reading aloud from their doctors and nurses are more likely to read to their young children, read to them more often, and provide more books in the home. Children exposed to Reach Out and Read show improved language development, giving a child as young as 2 years old a six-month head start developmentally.
The program has gained broad bipartisan support on Beacon Hill, and has received state funding since 2000. “I commend the doctors, nurses, and staff at Marlborough Pediatrics for their outstanding advocacy on behalf of children’s literacy,” said Senator Eldridge. “Reading to infants, toddlers, and young children every day is a critically important component of early childhood development and contributes greatly to a child’s ability to arrive at school ready to learn and achieve. Reach Out and Read distributes hundreds of thousands of books to children in our state each year in support of this worthy goal, and I am proud to support this outstanding program.”
Marlborough Pediatrics is one of 3 ROR Programs in Senator Eldridge’s district that participate in Reach Out and Read, providing books to more than 1,100 children annually. Reach Out and Read serves children at 247 locations across Massachusetts, reaching more than 178,000 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers each year.
Nationally, more than 25,000 doctors this year will give 6 million new books to 3.8 million low-income families at more than 4,535 healthcare locations nationwide. Reach Out and Read serves 32 percent of American children living in poverty. For more information, please visit www.reachoutandread.org.