Reach Out and Read aims to build reading skills from birth

(FOX 17)

A Michigan program is working to expose children to language and increase literacy as early as birth.

Reach Out and Read, a program of Ready for School, provides books to help families build a personal library with their babies.

“It works by us partnering with pediatricians to provide books at well-child visits for children birth to five years old,” explains Amanda Rios, Program Specialist for Reach Out and Read Michigan. “At that age, you would think that… they can’t read, you know, they’re not understanding what you’re saying. But just that, talking with them and connecting with them and building those special moments and creating that found the strong foundation for them.”

Lakewood Family Medicine in Holland has partnered with Reach Out and Read Michigan since 2010.

Dr. Beth A. Peter enjoys handing out the books and knows it is a critical time for brain development.

“It is such a time when bonding is such a key thing,” she told FOX 17 News. “As children develop, they start to have more skills with their book. Four-month-olds are going to chew on it, they learn about the world through putting everything in their mouth. And by around nine months to a year, they’re actually going to be starting to be able to turn those board book pages.”

The books are age-appropriate and even come in different languages.

Watch the video and read the full article at FOX 17 here.