MANKATO, Minn. — Getting books from health care providers will soon be a routine part of regular pediatric checkups at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, as providers welcome the Reach Out and Read program to the practice. Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato joins more than 5,500 program sites nationwide, including over 240 sites in Minnesota, that are preparing America’s youngest children to succeed in school.
Doctors, nurse practitioners and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read's evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children.
“Reach Out and Read is a wonderful way to encourage healthy development in children and engage with families in our communities,” says Shabbir Khambaty, M.D., Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Mayo Clinic Health System. “The program helps young children with brain, speech and vocabulary progression, and it gets parents more involved in their children’s early learning experiences.”
Dr. Khambaty also notes the importance of physical books. He says reading on tablets and phones doesn’t provide the same experience as a hardcopy.
Reach Out and Read begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities. Research shows families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills, which better prepares them to achieve their potential.
Pediatric health care providers are trained in the three-part Reach Out and Read model to promote early literacy and school readiness:
- In the exam room, providers and nurses speak with parents about the importance of reading aloud to their young children every day and offer age-appropriate tips and encouragement.
- The pediatric primary care provider gives every child 6 months through 5 years old a new, developmentally-appropriate children's book to take home and keep.
- In the waiting room, books create a literacy-rich environment.
“Reach Out and Read is an efficient and effective concept,” said Reach Out and Read CEO Brian Gallagher. “Our doctors and nurses know that the most important thing that parents can do to prepare their children to succeed in school and beyond is to read aloud to them every day. Encouraging parents to stimulate their children’s early language and brain development during regular pediatric checkups is a simple model that has a lasting, invaluable impact on the life of a child.”
Reach Out and Read is a proven intervention that delivers results and is supported by 15 independent, published research studies. 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 foundational language skills help start children on a path of success when they enter school.
For more information, visit reachoutandreadmn.org.
Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals and other health care facilities that serve the health care needs of people in more than 60 communities in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality health care close to home.
Press ContactMicah Dorfner