Our FAITH PLANET Children’s Ministry and GIRL SCOUTS Ministry Troop has partnered with local medical centers to have our children donate books to the children who have appointments to see the doctor at these centers. Donated books will be going to children at one of the following medical centers in the Southern Jersey Family Medical Center Network:
- Burlington City Health Center
- Atlantic City Center
- Pleasantville Center
- Hammonton Medical and Dental Center
- Buttonwood Medical and Dental Center
Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based nonprofit organization of medical providers who promote early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud.
Reach Out and Read builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning at 6 months of age. Reach Out and Read serves more than 4 million children and their families annually. Reach Out and Read families read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten better prepared to succeed, with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills. During the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests. These early foundational language skills help start children on a path of success when they enter school.
Reach Out and Read was founded in 1989 with its first program at Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center). By 2001, dramatic growth brought the Reach Out and Read model to all 50 states, with almost 1,500 sites distributing 1.6 million books per year.
Today, Reach Out and Read partners with nearly 5,000 program sites and distributes 6.5 million books per year. The program currently serves more than one-third of all children living in poverty in this country, and continues to grow each year with the vision that one day Reach Out and Read will serve all at-risk children.
- Reading aloud is widely recognized as the single most important activity leading to literacy acquisition. 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.” Torgeson, J. Avoiding the Devasting Downward Spiral, American Educator. (2004)
- 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. Bardige, B. Talk to Me, Baby!(2009), Paul H Brookes Pub Co.
- Reading aloud stimulates language development even before a child can talk. Bardige, B. Talk to Me, Baby!(2009), Paul H Brookes Pub Co.
- Research shows that the more words parents use when speaking to an 8-month-old infant, the greater the size of their child’s vocabulary at age 3. The landmark Hart-Risley study on language development documented that children from low-income families hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers before the age of 4. Hart, B. Risley, T. Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children (1995), Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
- 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 is a proven technique to help children cope during times of stress or tragedy.
- “What happens during the first months and years of life matters, a lot, not because this period of development provides an indelible blueprint for adult well-being, but because it sets either a sturdy or fragile stage for what follows.” J.S. Shonkoff & D. Phillips, Eds., From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development (2000), Washington D.C.; National Research Council & The Institute of Medicine, National Academy Press.
- Once children start school, difficulty with reading contributes to school failure, which can increase the risk of absenteeism, leaving school, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy – all of which can perpetuate the cycles of poverty and dependency.
- 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.
- Reading aloud gives children the opportunity to practice listening – a crucial skill for kindergarten and beyond.
In 2008, some of Reach Out and Read’s Medical Champions published an article in the Archives of Disease in Childhood that provides an overview of key research on reading aloud to young children, and its influence on children’s language and literacy development. Read the article – called “Reading aloud to children: the evidence” here.