Fairview, University of Minnesota Health, and HealthEast clinics have been giving free books to children at their medical checkups for many years – 50,000 books in 2018 alone.
With 100 percent of the other primary-health-care practices in Minneapolis joining us, the city has been recognized by Reach Out and Read as a "Bookend City."
Our goal in working with Reach Out and Read is to create a literacy-rich environment for our patients. We promote early brain development and help prepare children for school by “prescribing” books and encouraging families to read together.
When they come in for checkups, children ages 5 and under get a free book to take home. A child’s reaction can be revealing.
"Sharing a book with a patient at the beginning of a visit is a great way to get a sense for a child's development," says Emily Borman-Shoap, MD, Pediatric Program Director at Fairview University Children's Clinic, "from watching a 6-month-old try to put their book in their mouth, asking an 18-month-old to point out the eyes and ears of a character in the book, or letting a 4-year-old proudly point out the letters they recognize on the page.”
A positive and lasting impact on brain development
Reading to young children improves family bonds, boosts parents' confidence, and creates a foundation for learning. Studies have found that parents of Reach Out and Read participants are four times more likely to read aloud to their children. The kids enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills, starting them on a path of success.
The 32 medical practices in Minneapolis join more than 5,500 other sites nationwide working to give parents advice about the benefits of reading aloud. In Minnesota, there are 262 active clinic locations, with more than 154,000 children participating – over 40 percent of all children statewide age 6 months to 5 years.
Reach Out and Read is supported by generous donations to our Employee Giving Campaign and fund-raising events.