From Februrary 26 to March 2, Duke Children's Primary Care will be celebrating its 2nd annual literacy week. The celebration coincides with National Read Across America Day on March 2 in recognition of Dr. Seuss's birthday. During this week, Duke Children's Primary Care clinics will host a variety of events to encourage reading and a love of books, including visits by the Durham County Library Book Mobile and volunteer readers from Book Harvest, Duke Athletics and Durham County Government. This year's celebration is particularly notable because it will mark the official beginning of universal implementation of the Duke Children's Primary Care Reach Out and Read Program resulting from a partnership between this program and Durham County.
Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based program that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. During well-child visits, the doctor prescribes reading by modeling read aloud strategies while teaching and training the parent about how to share books and why it is important. Each child is given a new, culturally and developmentally-appropriate book to take home, building a collection of 10-15 new books in the home before the child goes to kindergarten. Fifteen published, peer-reviewed research studies support the efficacy of the model and show that the program results in more frequent reading at home, accelerated vocabulary and critical brain stimulation. The effectiveness of the Reach Out and Read model is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics in a policy statement that recommends early literacy promotion as an essential component of pediatric care.
Reach Out and Read has changed the way that I interact with my patients. By engaging with children and their families around books, I am able to ensure that they are getting the best start in life through activities that promote brain development and healthy family relationships. --Ellie Erickson, MD, primary care pediatrician
This year, Reach Out and Read programs at Duke Children's Primary care and Lincoln Community Health Center will receive funding from Durham County government to ensure that all children receive a book at their well child visits beginning at birth. It is estimated that this funding will allow the clinics to provide nearly 20,000 books to the children of Durham.
“We are thrilled to deepen our partnerships and reach in Durham County through a literacy lens. Durham County’s investment in Reach Out and Read Carolinas is the first and largest investment of its kind by county government in the Carolinas,” said Callee Boulware, executive director, Reach Out and Read Carolinas. “The ROR intervention is designed to ensure that the neediest families in North and South Carolina are connected to a more complete suite of resources which help them build a life of literacy, learning, health, and happiness for their children from the very beginning."
"Reach Out and Read has changed the way that I interact with my patients," said Ellie Erickson, MD, a primary care pediatrician. "By engaging with children and their families around books, I am able to ensure that they are getting the best start in life through activities that promote brain development and healthy family relationships. We are grateful to the County for their support of this evidence-based program and are excited about the opportunity to expand our book distribution to include all children from birth to age five. This support also gives us the opportunity to explore more ways to enhance literacy promotion efforts in our community through existing relationships with Book Harvest, our local library system and other exciting new literacy initiatives throughout the County."