MVP Now Provides Books to Young Children Posted on September 20, 2018October 4, 2021 More than 1 in 3 American children start kindergarten without the skills they need for success at school. Missoula Valley Pediatrics has became an approved Reach Out and Read program site. Through support from Community Medical Center we have joined approximately 5,800 sites across 50 states in supporting early childhood literacy through primary care. Reach Out and Read is a proven early literacy intervention that capitalizes on the special relationship formed between pediatric providers and families to promote literacy. At more than 10 routine health checkups from infancy through 5 years, Reach Out and Read-trained primary care providers will give a new book to the child to take home and keep. At the end of the Reach Out and Read program, every child will have a home-library of books. 95% of the brain in formed in the first 6 years of life. What happens during the first few years of life sets the stage for a child’s future. More than 95 percent of a child’s brain is formed during this critical period, and a child’s experiences irreversibly effect how the brain develops. Pediatricians will use the book as an opportunity to specifically talk with parents about: How important it is to read aloud and engage with young children Demonstrate how best to look at books and talk about the stories with their infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and reinforcing that they are their child’s first and most important teacher. Encourage them to cuddle up and read together at home and build a routine around books Then give a new book to the child to take home and keep Nurturing family interactions support healthy brain development. Research shows that when pediatricians promote literacy readiness according to the Reach Out and Read model, there is a significant effect on parental behavior and attitudes toward reading aloud as well as improvements in the language scores of young children who participate. These effects have been found in ethnically and economically diverse families nationwide. The body of independent, peer-reviewed and published research supporting the efficacy of the Reach Out and Read model is more extensive than for any other psychosocial intervention in general pediatrics. Some of the most notable findings from this body of research include the finding that parents who bring their children to a Reach Out and Read practice are 2.5 times more likely to read to their children and a child’s language development is improved by 3-6 months. Over the coming months we will be transforming the waiting room at Missoula Valley Pediatrics into a literacy rich environment with books, volunteer readers and educational materials for families. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to combine efforts with the United Way to also ensure that books from the Imagination Library which did not reach their intended families by mail, are repurposed to be used for our Reach Out and Read Program. For more information about Reach Out and Read, go to reachoutandreach.org. For more information on the Imagination Library, go to imaginationlibrary.com.