Representative Joe Courtney Reads Aloud to Young Children at Day Kimball Healthcare in Support of Reach Out and Read

Medical providers at Day Kimball Healthcare are sending their youngest patients home with free books and important advice for their parents – “Read to your children every day.”

Today, U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02) visited Day Kimball’s Thompson Pediatric Center and read to a group of young children, emphasizing the importance of reading aloud.

Day Kimball’s three pediatric centers participate in Reach Out and Read, a national school readiness program that focuses on young children at risk of entering school unprepared to learn. At every checkup, Reach Out and Read medical providers guide and encourage parents to read aloud to their young children every day, and give each child a carefully-selected new, developmentally-appropriate book. By the time a child enters school, he or she will have a home library of up to 10 books.

“The Reach Out and Read program has made a difference in the lives of thousands of children across eastern Connecticut, and the partnerships between Reach Out and Read and doctors across the country has become one of the most successful literacy initiatives in history,” said Representative Courtney. “Having made literacy a key focus of my education agenda, I am proud to join Dr. Matsen and Connecticut Reach Out and Read to see firsthand the benefit of this program.”

Reach Out and Read has one of the strongest records of research support of any school readiness intervention. Studies show that parents who get books and counseling on reading aloud from their doctors and nurses are more likely to read to their young children, read to them more often, and provide more books in the home. Children exposed to Reach Out and Read show improved language development, and enter school with a six-month developmental edge.

“Research shows that if you intervene in the first five years of life and partner with parents, you can dramatically improve the early literacy skills of a child, putting them on the track for success in school and in life,” said Reach Out and Read CEO Earl Martin Phalen. “Childhood development experts tell us that the most important thing that parents can do to prepare their children to succeed in school is to read aloud to them every day.“

Day Kimball’s Thompson Pediatric Center is one of nine sites in Congressman Courtney’s district that participate in Reach Out and Read, providing books to a total of more than 5,600 children annually. In Connecticut, Reach Out and Read serves more than 47,000 children in 43 clinical locations.

“We are enthusiastic about promoting literacy and hope we can inspire our patients to grow up with a love of reading,” said Dr. Krista Matsen of Day Kimball Healthcare. “We are grateful that Congressman Courtney understands the importance of this endeavor and excited to have him here in person to help us do just that.”

Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses distribute 6.4 million books to more than 3.9 million children and their families annually at more than 4,600 pediatric practices, hospitals, clinics, and health centers in all 50 states, targeting those centers which serve children at socioeconomic risk.

More than 27,000 medical providers nationwide currently participate in Reach Out and Read.

For more information, visit www.reachoutandread.org.