FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2014
Alan M. Wolf
Rex Pediatrics of Cary and Holly Springs Partner with Reach Out and Read
Physicians reinforce importance of parents reading aloud to young patients
CARY, N.C. – Getting free books from your child’s physician is now a routine part of regular checkups at Rex Pediatrics clinics, which recently joined the Reach Out and Read program. Supported by funding from the Rex Healthcare Foundation, Rex Pediatrics of Cary and of Holly Springs partnered with the nationwide non-profit initiative that seeks to prepare young children with the tools they need to succeed in school.
Rex pediatricians talk with parents during wellness visits about the importance of reading aloud daily to their young children and offer age-appropriate tips. While parents are encouraged in their roles, the children receive free books aimed at their age group.
The program has become increasingly relevant following recent recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that doctors should urge parents to read aloud to their children from birth. The group wants pediatricians to become advocates for early literacy education, reinforcing reading as an important tool for developing young brains, enhancing vocabulary and improving communication skills.
“Our young patients come to us for physical wellness and sickness care, which gives us an opportunity to promote other aspects of their development,” said Dr. Thomas Flaherty, a pediatrician at Rex Pediatrics of Cary. “Reading is a big part of development because it fosters language acquisition that can prepare kids to succeed the minute they begin school. The response from our parents has been very positive, and it makes me smile every time I give away a book.”
Reach Out and Read targets children between 6 months and 5 years old with a special emphasis on low-income families, where children are at a higher risk of reading failure. Children in under-served families are often at a higher risk to be less successful in school, so it’s important that they get a head start. Rex Pediatrics offers books written in Spanish as well.
“Many of our bilingual parents are learning English, but they’re much more comfortable and confident reading Spanish,” Dr. Flaherty said. “We want to equip these parents with books they can be more engaged with because then they’re much more likely to make time to read to their child.”
Reach Out and Read began in 1989 in Boston and is now implemented at 5,000 practices across the nation. To date, 4.1 million children have been served through the program. Rex Pediatrics are the first practices within the UNC Physicians Network in Wake County to join the Reach Out and Read program.
For more information about Reach Out and Read, visit reachoutandread.org. To schedule an appointment or receive more information about Rex Pediatrics of Cary and Holly Springs, visit rexpediatrics.com, or call (919) 387-3160 (Cary) or (919) 567-6160 (Holly Springs).