How Reach Out and Read Is Improving Early Literacy and Physician Job Satisfaction

(Minnesota Family Physician)

Literacy is a social factor that influences health and health outcomes across the lifespan. Efforts to promote and improve early literacy can reduce health disparities; support cognitive development, language acquisition and academic success; improve emotional regulation; and more.

For family physicians and other primary care clinicians, routine well-child checks provide an opportunity to monitor developmental milestones, including language and literacy. That’s where programs like Reach Out and Read — a nonprofit putting books in the hands of kids and families and equipping parents and caregivers to support early literacy needs — can make a big impact.

Reach Out and Read’s Communication and Development Manager Liam Mackin shared: “Research has shown the [Reach Out and Read] program, a pediatric intervention for kids in early childhood (infancy through age 5), results in more frequent reading at home, more enjoyment by families reading together and accelerated language development. [Physicians] have told us that the books they give families are often the first and only books their young patients experience.”

Across Minnesota, nearly 1,200 family physicians are using the program. Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians member Mike Mercer, MD, a Reach Out and Read board member and faculty physician at the United Family Medicine Residency, had this to say about United’s partnership with Reach Out and Read: “We are all passionate about encouraging and fostering reading at home with families, and Reach Out and Read makes this an integral part of our well-child visits. It’s a joy to view the interaction of caregivers and children through books. After graduating, some of our resident physicians have gone on to start Reach Out and Read sites at their new clinics.”

Read the full article here.