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Reach Out and Read has a Prescription for Success

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Ed. Note: This blog was originally posted by UpNext, the Official Blog of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The original post can be viewed here.

Reach Out and Read is pleased to announce the launch of our Prescription for Success Toolkit, designed to support collaborations between libraries, museums, and Reach Out and Read program sites, natural partners that have a collective impact on the lives of young children. 

In January 2015, we embarked on a yearlong project, Prescription for Success, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project is aimed at helping more families benefit from museum and library services that foster literacy development in young children. As a national nonprofit organization comprised of doctors, who promote early childhood literacy, Reach Out and Read has deep and broad relationships within the medical community. Prescription for Success has leveraged these connections to explore new ways doctors and their staffs can collaborate with museums and libraries.

Waiting_roomReach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that gives books to children at pediatric checkups, and encourages families to read aloud to their infants and toddlers. For many of the low-income families that we serve, this is the first book in the home. Encouraging families to make use of local libraries and museums extends the impact of our program, giving them opportunities to read more books together, and to spend time enjoying library and museum activities. And library and museum staff can reinforce our message that engaging with young children through reading and playing together helps foster healthy brain development that gives them the best start in life.

Conversely, Reach Out and Read can further the special role that museums and libraries have in meeting the needs of America's youngest learners and their caregivers. With unparalleled access to young children through pediatric checkups, we are able to open the door to libraries and museums for many families, especially those struggling on a low-income, who might otherwise not know the value of these institutions.

IMLS_Rx_Pad The Prescription for Success Toolkit is a compilation of best practices learned from a survey of current state and local partnerships between Reach Out and Read, libraries, and museums. It provides ideas and resources for those who currently, or would like to, work together.

The toolkit encourages local libraries, museums, and Reach Out and Read program sites to open conversations with one another to explore common interests and learn about one another to build trust and community. It suggests ways they can support one another, such as clinics prescribing visits to the library using a prescription pad, libraries distributing Reach Out and Read materials or helping to create literacy-rich waiting rooms at Reach Out and Read clinics. Links to materials and resources and examples of successful established partnerships help with collaborations.

Written by Nikki Shearman at 12:00

Two Dynamic “Prescribe A Book” Advocates Join the Reach Out and Read Board

The Reach Out and Read Board of Directors is very pleased to welcome two new members, Dipesh Navsaria and Susan Hildreth, who both bring their extraordinary talent and vision to the organization. Dipesh and Susan are both strong Reach Out and Read advocates, and are characterized by their ability to think across boundaries, using their respective specialties in pediatric medicine and librarianship to influence the field of early childhood literacy.

Dipesh photo

Dipesh Navsaria is a one-of-a-kind primary-care pediatrician, with degrees in public health and children's librarianship, along with his work in child health advocacy. He is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin, Founder and Director of Pediatric Early Literacy Projects at the University of Wisconsin, and founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin.

According to his website, Dipesh is a "siruclast" - his own term for someone who thinks broadly and makes connections via different schools of thought and approaches to problems.  His website also explains why he's often seen wearing a bowtie - six reasons starting with "They're refreshingly distinctive…"

Earlier this month, Dipesh was selected to join the 2015 class of Aspen Institute Ascend Fellows in recognition of his work building "economic security, educational success, and health and well-being for low-income families in the US."

"As an undergraduate research assistant, I worked down the hall from the location where Reach Out and Read first began at Boston City Hospital," says Dipesh.  "As both the program and I have 'grown up', it's a delight to have remained involved and to now serve the national organization in this capacity."

Susan Hildreth has had a more than 30-year-long distinguished career in the leadership of public libraries. After positions as the City Librarian of San Francisco Public Library, State Librarian of California and the City Librarian of Seattle Public Library, in 2011 President Obama swore her into a four-year term as Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Susan Hildreth

At IMLS, Susan developed grant programs and initiatives to provide $857,241,000 for museum and library programs that supported lifelong learning, with a strong emphasis on early learning, STEM-related projects and connectivity.

A firm believer in collective impact - "what we can accomplish when we partner effectively with each other to address society's needs,"  - Susan is interested in continuing to promote connections between early learning and libraries. She led efforts to integrate Reach Out and Read with California public libraries, and has helped Reach Out and Read negotiate a grant that will improve collaboration with libraries and museums to better serve local communities.

"Reach Out and Read is making a big difference in the lives of children across America," said Susan. "Reach Out and Read and libraries are natural partners to enrich reading opportunities for families and I hope to strengthen those connections."

We are thrilled to have such uniquely qualified and passionate advocates join our board!

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Written by Nikki Shearman at 00:00

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Reach Out and Read National Center
89 South St, Suite 201
Boston, MA 02111