Family medicine providers at Horizon Health, with funding from the Horizon Health Foundation of East Central Illinois, have joined a nationwide initiative that emphasizes the importance of reading and language in early childhood development.
As a local “Reach Out and Read” site, families at Horizon Health receive a new book for their children (infants to age 5) during each well-child visit. They also receive encouraging advice about reading aloud to their children, which is a simple and effective way to foster brain development and create a foundation for success.
To operate a local Reach Out and Read program, Horizon Health primary care providers completed national training about the program’s mission, its model, best practices, book choices, and evidence-based results.
Lauren Fore, MD, is leading the program at Horizon Health. Dr. Fore was introduced to Reach Out and Read during her family practice residency at Southern Illinois University in Decatur.
“Because of the great benefits of the program, I felt it was important to bring this to Horizon Health,” said Dr. Fore. “I already talk to parents about the importance of reading to their children, and I am excited to be able to provide them with the material to do just that.”
All books are age-specific and include such popular titles as: Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks, Clifford’s Animal Sounds, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, and Goodnight Moon. Children are able to keep the books to create their own home library.
“The role of the Horizon Health Foundation of East Central Illinois is to help our hospital, clinic, and staff better meet the health and youth development needs of our community,” said Dave Frisse, foundation chairman. “With Dr. Fore’s leadership, we’ve realized the important connection between reading and developmental health. This program allows us to further support Horizon Health’s mission of not just treating illness and injury, but fostering improved health for all our citizens and patients.”
According to Reach Out and Read officials, independent research shows that children who participate in the program are read to more often by their parents, have improved language skills, and have a greater love of reading. The first five years, they proclaim, is the best time to influence a child’s future given this timeframe of rapid brain development.
More about Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read is a non-profit organization that delivers books to children who would not otherwise receive them. Founded in 1989 at Boston City Hospital, Reach Out and Read serves 4.7 million American families in all 50 states. The program is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
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