Reach Out and Read was honored on October 2 to participate in Vertex Pharmaceutical’s 12th Annual Day of Service with a virtual book drive designed to supply our medical sites with beautiful books that meet the primary language needs of our families. Vertex partners with Reach Out and Read in Suffolk County and San Diego County, where together we provide culturally responsive books during well-child checkups to our families who need it most.
More than 27% of the families we serve are Spanish speaking in Suffolk County, and 23% in San Diego County. In these regions, we also serve thousands of families each year that speak Arabic, Haitian Creole, and Cape Verdean, and hundreds that speak Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Tagalog, Japanese. We are committed to meeting families’ needs in their primary languages, which includes providing bilingual books.
When parents engage with their children in the language they speak best, they provide the foundation by which early language and literacy develop. Reading aloud in any language stimulates cognitive growth and the more experience a child has with their family’s native language, the easier it will be for them to learn English when they arrive at school.
At Reach Out and Read, we believe all children should grow up learning a love of reading on the laps of people who love them. That is why our doctors work with parents every day to demonstrate the value of reading aloud and help them make it part of their daily routine. Sharon Callender, Director of Family & Community Health Services at Mattapan Community Health Center says, “Being part of Reach Out and Read over the years has helped promote literacy in our community. This is especially significant since English is not the primary language spoken by a large segment of the population we serve. Giving a new book during well-child visits supports the educational goals of our health center.” At Mattapan Community Health Center and many other sites, Vertex is helping us support all parents to become their child’s first and most important teacher.
Want to learn more about partnering with Reach Out and Read? Visit our partner page.