Community leaders gathered yesterday at an Indianapolis health center to discuss a national school readiness initiative called “Reach Out and Read.” Reach Out and Read CEO Earl Martin Phalen said the program targets children from birth to 5 and will allow low income families to get free books from their pediatricians twice a year.
“A lot of parents don‘t know that reading regularly to your child, talking regularly to your child is so important. In fact, now 50 -percent of all children in the U.S. go to bed without any bedtime story and many children don‘t have any books in the home,” Phalen said.
Phalen said the most important years for brain development are birth to 5 and the program will allow children to start kindergarten with a home library of up to 10 new books.
“Reach out and read really leverages the fact that parents go to their pediatricians twice a year from 0 to 5 and everytime they go the pediatrician hands the child a brand new book and emphasizes reading to their parents,” Phalen said.
Log onto reachoutandread.org to find pediatricians involved in the program.