Early Childhood Guide: Reading to your child is a lifelong gift

(Addison County Independent)

By Dr. Elizabeth Coogan

One of my favorite times of day as a parent is curling up with my kids to read to them at bedtime. In addition to being a rare time in our busy lives when we can have a quiet moment together, this routine helps ensure that my kids are exposed to books and language every day. In my practice as a pediatrician at Porter I also make sure books and reading are part of my daily routine with patients.

Unfortunately, the majority of kids in the United States are not read to daily, and children from low-income families are significantly less likely to be read to daily. Furthermore, one-third of American children start kindergarten without the appropriate language skills they need, which continues to impact their learning through elementary school and beyond.

To help address these disparities and promote early literacy in our office at Porter Pediatrics in Middlebury, we participate in a program called Reach Out and Read, or ROAR. ROAR is a national nonprofit organization that provides books to give out at routine visits. At every check-up from age six months through five years providers give children a new book to take home. In addition to adding a fun, positive spin to visits (that can otherwise sometimes be scary at this age), we use this opportunity to discuss the value of reading out loud with parents and children. Since we started this program in October of 2022 we have given out more than 2,000 books. Funding comes primarily from ROAR directly and is supplemented by Porter Pediatrics and local community donors.

Read the full article at Addison County Independent here.

(Image credit: Addison County Independent)