The learning experience a child has before they reach 5 years of age establishes the foundation for educational success for the duration of their lives. During this initial stage, the brain evolves at a rate faster than any other time within the developmental process, and children acquire language skills that prepare them for success in literacy and learning when they enter kindergarten, and throughout their education.
Throughout the United States, one out of six children between the ages of 1 and 5 regularly goes to bed without hearing a story read aloud. For children living in poverty, this figure may be higher, and often these children don’t have access to books in their homes. Because of numbers like these, Reach Out and Read (ROAR) was founded as a national program by a group of pediatricians and educators who recognized the tremendous significance of infancy and toddlerhood in setting the stage for learning.
ROAR prepares children to succeed in school by engaging health care professionals to work with parents to reinforce the connection of literacy as an important part of childhood development. The program partners with pediatricians to provide each child with a free book at every check-up visit and extends literacy counseling to parents by providing tips and encouragement.
Through funding from the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, the ROAR program at Children’s Hospital of Michigan has impacted children’s lives by providing books and literacy counseling to thousands of families. Reach Out and Read incorporates early childhood education into pediatric care with the hope that one day all children will be prepared to succeed in school.