As we head into September (!), it’s back to school time and National Literacy Month. It’s the perfect time to review how to promote literacy in our practices. We have a terrific Reach Out and Read (ROR) program in Washington thanks to Dr. Jill Sells, an alum of our residency program. In addition to clinic, residents can also promote literacy in the hospital, thanks to our inpatient ROR program (contact me if you’re interested to be involved with this team!). Keep delivering those books to patients!
Here are this week’s materials:
- Case and Discussion
- AAP Clinical Guideline on Literacy Promotion, Pediatrics
- Speech and Language Delay, Pediatrics in Review, 2011
Take-home points for literacy promotion:
- Educate yourself: ROR is an evidence-based, nationally recommended program started by pediatricians that improves literacy outcomes. The #1 thing you can do to effectively use Reach Out and Read (ROR) is to complete the online training and additional ROR training resources.
- Support parents with positive feedback about reading: When children reach for the book and start interacting with it, we can highlight the child’s natural interest in books. We can provide positive instructive feedback for parents about how reading aloud with their young children enriches their relationships and enhances their children’s social-emotional development. This builds brain circuits to prepare children to learn language and early literacy skills.
- Describe dialogic reading: Share with parents how to do interactive reading through “dialogic reading”. Parents prompt the child to have “a dialogue” or conversation about the pictures and story as they read together. This interactive technique helps the child become the storyteller and promotes language development more quickly.
- Provide books: ROR is founded on providing developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate books at health supervision visits for all high-risk, low-income children. Also we can provide books in the waiting room, and educational materials including info on local libraries.
- Review the 5 R’s of early education: These are the foundation of healthy early brain development: 1. Reading together as a daily, fun, family activity; 2. Rhyming, playing, talking, and singing; 3. Routines with regular times for meals, play, and sleep; 4. Recognition (praise) for everyday successes, particularly for effort toward worthwhile goals such as helping; and 5. Relationships that are reciprocal, nurturing, purposeful, and enduring.