Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Reach Out and Read: Building Early Childhood Literacy in Cabarrus County

The first five years of life offer a critical window for learning, with rapid development that does not occur at any other time.  Many children, especially from low-income families, are not read to from birth.  Without sufficient exposure to language, those children start Kindergarten without basic literacy skills, and often struggle with reading in early grades.  

The Reach Out and Read program helps Cabarrus County's youngest children get the exposure they need to develop essential early literacy skills before entering Kindergarten.

What is Reach Out and Read?   

During regular pediatric checkups, pediatricians, family physicians, and nurse practitioners who are a part of our Reach Out and Read program give new, developmentally-appropriate books to children, ages 6 months through 5 years, and advise parents about the importance of reading aloud.  The medical provider models reading a book aloud to the child and encourages parent-child interactions as part of pre-literacy and language development.

Why is Reading Aloud to Young Children so Important?

Reading aloud to young children stimulates language and cognitive skills and builds motivation, curiosity, and memory.  Research also shows that the more words parents use when speaking to an 8-month-old infant, the greater the size of their child's vocabulary at age 3.  Click here to find out all of the benefits of reading aloud and the Reach Out and Read program.

Who offers this program?

Cabarrus County's Reach Out and Read program is funded by Cabarrus Partnership for Children, who has contracted with Community Care of the Southern Piedmont (CCSP) to implement the program.  CCSP works with partner medical facilities to implement the program throughout the community.  Cabarrus Health Alliance, Concord Children's Clinic, and Suburban Pediatrics of Kannapolis & Davidson currently provide this program at their practices.

How do I qualify? 

Any child going to a participating clinic can qualify for Reach Out and Read.  Please contact Starla Hatley with Community Care of Southern Piedmont at 704-262-1058 for additional information.

How can I help?

Currently, this program is in need of additional funding for books so more children can be reached by this program.  If you would like to donate or would like to learn more about helping this program, contact Starla Hatley at 704-262-1058.

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