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Published on March 07, 2014

Children Helped to Be Better Readers with Books Received During Well Child Visits

Jaden Sublett and  Misty Carey, MAFamily medicine physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants associated with MidMichigan Community Health Services are helping children learn to read during their check-up exams through the Reach Out and Read Program.

Patient Jaden Sublett, 3 years old, received the book, “Goodnight Moon,” from Misty Carey, medical assistant, while he was at his Well Child Check with provider Heather Tonello, PA-C at MidMichigan Health Park-Houghton Lake.

Reach Out and Read is a non-profit organization that trains and supports medical providers who give books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud during well-child exams.

MidMichigan providers participating in the program are: Kevin Denlinger, DO, Sheri Fox, PA-C, Tish McGuire, FNP, June Stefanko, FNP, Jeffrey Strickler, MD and Heather Tonello, PA-C.

The program works to build a unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop essential early literacy skills in young children through the network that providers already have with their patients.

During children’s regular check-ups, MidMichigan Community Health Services providers give their young patients new, developmentally-appropriate books for children, ages 6 months through 5 years. They also advise parents about the importance of reading aloud.

Parents learn new ways to stimulate their children’s literacy development, have more books in their homes, and read to their children more. Parents are supported as their children’s first and most important teachers, and children grow up to become readers.

The first five years of life offer a critical window for learning, with rapid brain development that does not occur at any other time. Children who grow up without sufficient exposure to language arrive at school without basic literacy skills and often struggle with reading in early grades.

Reach Out and Read delivers results. Each year, Reach Out and Read serves 4 million children across all 50 states. The program is a proven intervention, supported by 15 independent, published research studies. During the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests, preparing them to start school on target.

Reach Out and Read medical providers work with families to prepare all children to enter kindergarten ready to read, learn and succeed. Research shows that children who start school on track are more likely to reach their full educational, social, and life potential.

Those interested in a primary care provider for their child may call MidMichigan Health Line toll-free at (800) 999-3199.