Doctors encourage reading for families with small children

BALTIMORE - Two-year-old Ryan and 1-year-old Cameron are visiting the Harriet Lane Clinic at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center for a checkup.  They are not only receiving medical services, it is also a chance for these little ones to receive a new book.

It's part of the Reach Out and Read Program.

"We actually start this early. We don't want kids not to be introduced to a book until they are old enough to read. The idea of starting so early its an opportunity to share an experience with their parents," said Dr. Tracy King, Assistant Medical Director for the Harriet Lane Clinic at Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

The program is offered at 65 sites in Maryland.  Children come in for a medical visit and doctors offer age appropriate books for kids six months to five years old.

Each year more than 84,000 books are passed out to children in Maryland.  Rachele Jones is grateful for the educational help for her kids.

"It benefits the kids. It's a wonderful program.  Every time they come they get a nice book.  It goes with their age.  They have a good selection to choose from.  They encourage us to give them 15 to 20 minutes reading time with mommy," said Jones.

Studies show that children who receive books during visits were more likely to succeed in school.  The Reach Out and Read Program wants to give low income families a chance academically.

"It is great for children who receive books and learn about reading.  It gives them an edge above their peers when they begin kindergarten so it really gets children loving books and helps with their vocabulary and gets them ready for school," said Jessica Chupnick, Child Life Specialist.

The Reach Out and Read Program is always in need of volunteers and donations to buy more books and keep the program alive.

Vice President and General Manager for WMAR-TV, Bill Hooper, presented a check for $8,000 to the Reach Out and Read Program on Good Morning Maryland at 9am.

 

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