Turning the page for a bright future
Reach Out & Read program promotes child literacy
Ten years ago, OneWorld Pediatrician, Wesley Meyer, DO, made a house call to help a family with young children in urgent need. When he walked in the door, he noticed the only books in the house were Reach Out & Read books, books OneWorld hands out to families during well child checks.
“There were no other books, newspapers or magazines,” said Dr. Meyer. “The children in that home’s only exposure to written language and letters until they were in kindergarten would be through books they got at our clinics.”
Flash forward to today, and Dr. Meyer now leads the OneWorld Reach Out & Read program to help children get their hands on books at a young age.
OneWorld has partnered with the nonprofit Reach Out & Read for over 15 years. The OneWorld Pediatric team orders books at reduced prices that are given at well child visits for children ages six months to five years.
When children come in for their well check, nurses hand the books to children before administering their vaccines to help each child feel better about their vaccines.
On average, OneWorld gives out around 4,000 books to children each year.
“This program helps parents get access to age-appropriate, high quality children’s books and to learn why reading is important for their children,” said Dr. Meyer. “A lot of the books we get are in English and Spanish, and this also can help parents see words in both languages.”
Outside of making a child feel more comfortable at their well child checks, Dr. Meyer said this program is vital to school-readiness.
“Imagine going to school for the first time and not knowing any letters or anything about books, but all the other kids do,” said Dr. Meyer. “It’s going to be stressful to struggle while the other kids seem to already know it all. It would be very easy to decide that maybe you aren’t smart and school is too hard. These books can help prevent that from happening.”
While these books are only a piece of a child’s education, they hold a vital key to every child accessing a bright future.
To donate to the Reach Out and Read program, click here.