We're thrilled at the
overwhelming bipartisan support for a bill that recognizes the
importance of pediatric early literacy promotion. President Obama
has just signed into law the reauthorization of the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act, titled the Every Student Succeeds Act (S.
1177), that seeks to ensure the provision of a quality education
for all children.
Significantly, this bill authorizes the Reach Out and Read model
in federal education policy for the first time. In signing the
bill, President Obama talked about expanding access to early
childhood education as one of its three aims. Increasingly,
research shows that the foundation children need to succeed in
school and beyond is built in the early years, from infancy. We are
pleased that Reach Out and Read has been recognized as a leader in
the field of early learning, and that our model, reaching families
with young children through pediatric care, is recognized in this
Inclusion of pediatric early literacy promotion in this act is
fully consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics' policy
statement, published in 2014, recommending that pediatricians
incorporate book promotion and literacy guidance as an essential
element of pediatrics starting in infancy.
We have received amazing, bipartisan support on our journey to
this point: we are grateful to U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI)
and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who have tirelessly supported early
literacy services for children, and have been the leading advocates
in the Senate for Reach Out and Read for over 15 years; to U.S.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D- MA-02), who has championed Reach Out and Read
in the House for well over a decade; and to Senator Elizabeth
Warren (D-MA) and Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA-05), who
were instrumental in ensuring support for pediatric early literacy
intervention in the Every Student Succeeds Act in their roles on
the education committees.
"Literacy is the foundation for learning. Developing and
building these skills begins at home, with parents as the first
teachers…..This initiative empowers parents to help their kids, and
provides them with free books to get started."
--Senator Jack Reed.
We believe that this act will bring us closer to our vision of a
day when all children will know what it's like to explore a book in
the arms of someone who loves them!
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