In addition to providing medical services to the tiny humans in the community, one pediatric clinic is committed to promote early literacy as well.
Renton Pediatrics Associates has started to participate in Reach Out and Read — a nonprofit organization that helps to incorporate books into pediatric care and encourages to families to read aloud together.
The program allows for medical providers, like Renton Pediatrics, to give free books for kids at each check up. It was founded in 1989 at Boston Medical Center, and is now in all 50 states, with almost 5,500 sites distributing 6.5 million books per year.
Currently in Washington, 204 medical practices and about 1,700 medical providers take part in the program.
Renton Pediatrics started the program at the beginning of November thanks to the prodding by pediatrician Rebecca Shwartz.
Shwartz saw the program being implemented at a clinic where she completed her residency, and said she was inspired by how it helped promote literacy and bring families together, and wanted to bring to Renton Pediatrics.
“I love the model of it,” she said. “These kids, after several visits, they have a library of books that are free… It’s also a great to assess child development and educate families about reading together.”
Reading aloud helps children acquire early language skills and helps build stronger foundation for school success, according to various studies.
Currently, the practice hands out books for kids aged six months through five years, and has books in English and Spanish. Reach Out and Read sends books to the clinic based on how many visits they anticipate each week.
“Everyone has been so enthusiastic,” said Shwartz. “All of our staff here has had so much fun selecting the books and handing them out. The reception at the family-end has been great as well. Parents have been grateful to have these books. My favorite part about is that it provides such a great education.”