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Reach Out and Read: Doctors prescribe reading for young children

Most people get their books from the library or at school, but for some children, it comes during their first medical exam.
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 3:41 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Most people get their books from the library or at school, but for some children, it comes during their first medical exam.

It’s part of a program called “Reach Out and Read,” dedicated to getting children and their parents to read together starting at an early age. Anyone who makes an appointment for a child 0-5 can walk away with a new book at participating locations.

“It doesn’t matter if the child can read or not; it’s about starting that conversation,” said Helen Tanner, an assistant medical provider at the Daily Planet Health Services. “If you read to your child every day for 20 minutes, your child will be exposed to two million words by the time they are entering Kindergarten.

‘Reach Out and Read’ lets doctors and medical staff talk to parents early about the future of their baby and how to incorporate reading. In Richmond, this lesson can be especially important as 73,000 people lack basic literacy skills.

“Families will get their best advice while listening to their doctor, and now that includes reading,” said Melissa Rice, program manager for Reach Out and Read. “Even for those who do not have English as their first language, there are bi-lingual books to help ease the process and strengthens the bond even more between families.”

There are hundreds of participating locations across the nation, but 11 of them can be found within the Richmond area. For more information on how to get involved, click HERE for more information.

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