Doctors promote book use

Published 7:47 am Monday, August 27, 2007

By Staff
Traditionally, the month of August provides an opportunity for members of Congress to spend time in their districts holding town meetings, meeting with constituents, and visiting local businesses and organizations.
Earlier this month, I had the privilege to visit the Mostellar Medical Center in Irvington to read to a group of young children in support Reach Out and Read - Alabama (ROR-AL).
I don't think reading through a brochure or an information packet can provide nearly as adequate a view of how important this program is as talking first hand with the doctors and staff members as well as the parents and children who benefit from the services they provide.
ROR-AL seeks to make early literacy a standard part of pediatric primary care. Pediatricians encourage parents to read aloud to their young children and give books to their patients to take home at all pediatric check-ups from six months to five years of age.
Through the process, parents learn that reading aloud is the most important thing they can do to help their children love books and to start school ready to learn.
A 1985 National Commission on Reading study reported that reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for literacy development and eventual reading success.
Numerous studies have found that children who are read to from an early age are more successful at learning to read and that early exposure to print is an important part of literacy development.
Research on emergent literacy skills in young children found important links between their ability to read and their exposure to literacy experiences prior to school.
Doctors at Mostellar Medical Center provide free, developmentally appropriate books to their young, low-income patients.
Each child who participates in ROR-AL starts kindergarten with a home library of up to 10 books.
ROR-AL, a branch of the Alabama chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, serves children at 39 locations across Alabama, reaching more than 37,800 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers each year.
To find out more information, visit their website http://www.reachoutandread. org/cgi-bin/ .
For those of us fortunate enough to be raised in a family that loved books or were read to as a child, it can be easy to take reading for granted.
However, the importance of reading to our children cannot be over-emphasized. ROR-AL continues to promote the significance of reading to and inspiring a love of books among our children.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721.
Jo Bonner serves as the U.S. representative for Escambia District.

Email newsletter signup