State Rep. Vincent Pedone reads to children at Plumley Village Health ServicesWritten by admin on March 3rd, 2009
Doctors and medical staff at Plumley Village Health Services in Worcester are sending their youngest patients home with free books and important advice for their parents – “Read to your children every day.” Today, State Representative Vincent Pedone (D-Worcester) visited the practice and read to a group of young children, emphasizing the importance of reading aloud.
Plumley Village Health Services, which is part of the UMass Memorial Health Care System, participates in Reach Out and Read (ROR), a national children’s literacy program that focuses on young children at risk of entering school unprepared to learn. At every checkup, clinicians in ROR guide and encourage parents to read aloud to their young children every day, and give each child a carefully selected new, developmentally and culturally appropriate book. By the time that child enters school, he or she will have a home library of up to 10 books.
Reach Out and Read has one of the strongest records of research support of any school readiness intervention. Studies show that parents who get books and counseling on reading aloud from their doctors and nurses are more likely to read to their young children, read to them more often, and provide more books in the home. Children exposed to Reach Out and Read show improved language development, giving a child as young as 2-years-old a six-month head start developmentally.
The program has gained broad bipartisan support on Beacon Hill, and Representative Pedone has been a leading advocate in the State House for the program’s state funding. “Representative Pedone has been a terrific champion for Reach Out and Read,” said Dr. Barry Zuckerman, founder of the program. “We’re grateful for his strong leadership on behalf of young children in his district and across Massachusetts.”
“I commend the doctors, nurses, and staff at Plumley Village Health Services for their outstanding advocacy on behalf of children’s literacy,” said Representative Pedone. “Reading to infants, toddlers, and young children every day is a critically important component of early childhood development and contributes greatly to a child’s ability to arrive at school ready to learn and achieve. Reach Out and Read distributes hundreds of thousands of books to our state’s children each year in support of this worthy goal, and I am proud to support this outstanding program.”
Representative Pedone reads to children in Worcester
Plumley Village Health Services, which became a Reach Out and Read Site in 1999, provides books to more than 250 children every year. There are five Reach Out and Read Sites in Representative Pedone’s district, which together serve more than 7,800 children annually. There are a total of 11 Reach Out and Read Sites in the City of Worcester. Statewide, Reach Out and Read serves children at 230 locations, reaching more than 174,000 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers each year.
Nationally, thousands of doctors this year will give 5.7 million new books to 3.5 million low-income families at more than 4,121 health care sites nationwide. Reach Out and Read serves about 25 percent of America’s at-risk infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Reach Out and Read was the only American literacy program featured at the recent White House Conference on Global Literacy.
Since it was founded in 1989, Reach Out and Read has trained more than 50,000 doctors and nurses who have given over 20 million books to children in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands. International programs modeled on Reach Out and Read have been started in Bangladesh, Italy, Israel, the Philippines, England, and Canada. For more information, please visit www.reachoutandread.org.