Does your child love to read? At ACMC, we know that reading is an important part of a child’s development. Children who develop critical early reading skills enter kindergarten better prepared to succeed, with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills. That’s why in 2005, ACMC began participating in the national Reach Out and Read program. Our providers advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and give out developmentally-appropriate books to children. The program begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age five.
Giving Books to Children
“It’s always a special time for me when I have the opportunity to give a child a book,” states Dr. Amber Vick. “When I give out the books, I make sure to tell the child that I am giving them a book to take home and read with mom and dad. We want kids to know that reading is important, and we also want them to know it’s an important thing to do with their parents. We give out books at every well-child visit and we are lucky to have lots of great books with familiar characters. If we know that our patient loves Thomas the Train, we try to find a book that will encompass their interests. It’s fun because I have parents that come back to me and say that their child just loved the book they got and when it’s time to read, they tell mom that they want to read the “Dr. Vick book”. That tells me the child appreciates the book and I know I’m helping to grow a child’s love for reading!”
“Our providers know that part of a child’s development is learning how to use and handle books. When they give books to children, they are also looking for signs to see if they turn the book the right way so that the pictures and words are correct. They may also ask them to point at colors or pictures to make sure they are meeting the developmental milestones,” states ACMC Care Management Coordinator, Andrea Carruthers, RN, PHN. “We also know that it’s important to meet the needs of the diverse populations in our clinics. We try to make sure that we have books with pictures of East African and Hispanic people so kids have an opportunity to see their own culture come alive in the story they are reading.”
Funding our Program
In 2011, ACMC providers gave out over 10,000 new books to children during well child exams. Our Reach Out and Read program is funded from three different sources; Affiliated Community Medical Foundation (ACHF), ACMC administrative budget and miscellaneous grants from sources such as Target, Reach Out and Read, and the United Way’s EMPOWER: Women United in Philanthropy. We also receive donated and/or reduced cost books from a variety of sources including the Reach out and Read program, wholesale distributors and other publishers that have an excess of books that are geared towards children ages six months to five years. All donations are important; in early 2012 we received 1600 free books from the Reach Out and Read sustainability award. Every year, ACMC budgets $24,000 to fund our Reach out and Read program. Book donations and grants help keep the actual dollars spent within our budget.
You Can Help
Along with the Reach Out and Read program, ACMC Clinics also accept gently used children’s books for our waiting rooms. All books are available for a child to take home if they’d like; this helps them build a reading library. If you have any gently used children’s books you’d like to donate, please bring them in to your nearest ACMC location and drop them off with the front desk staff so they can be checked. We check all of the books to make sure they are appropriate and in good condition for children in our communities.
At ACMC, we want to help prepare our youngest patients to succeed in school by sharing books and encouraging families to read together. Our hope is that it develops an early love for reading!
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