UMH Implements Reach Out and Read Program

Jun 26, 2020 /

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Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) is thrilled to announce the implementation of Reach Out and Read. The new program promotes early literacy beginning with newborn patients in the hospital’s Women’s and Newborns’ Center, and carrying on through age five at the child’s wellness visits with participating local family medicine providers.

Reach Out and Read is a national program that understands the best opportunity to influence a child's literacy future is in the first five years of their life. The program helps ensure children are exposed to books in these early, crucial years to develop a strong foundation. Most importantly, the program encourages families to read aloud and engage with their infants, toddlers and preschoolers every day.

As a Reach Out and Read site, UMH will give a book to each child born in the hospital’s Women’s and Newborns’ Center beginning July 1. Additionally, local providers who opted in to the program with UMH will distribute a book to children during well-child visits at Sage Family Medicine Associates and Uvalde Family Practice Association. Children will receive a brand-new, age appropriate book at each of their 2, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24-months appointments, as well as 3, 4 and 5-years.

“We firmly believe in the program’s methods to encourage reading and are eager to begin providing books to the children of our community,” said Karla Radicke, marketing manager at UMH.

Participation in the program stems from findings of the hospital’s 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in which an opportunity was identified to assist with promotion of early literacy. With that finding in mind, representatives from UMH reached out to UCISD and El Progresso Memorial Library for a brainstorming session in early 2019. Shortly after, library director Mendell Morgan shared a program he’d come across called Reach Out and Read. The program proved to be the perfect way for a healthcare facility to partner in early literacy efforts.

The hospital began the process of becoming a Reach Out and Read site and training for interested providers took place into early 2020. In March 2020, UMH received their official designation as a Reach Out and Read site partner.

The program will help integrate reading into pediatric practices, advise families about the importance of reading with their children, and share books that serve as a catalyst for healthy childhood development.

Effectiveness of the Reach Out and Read model is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics in a policy statement that recommends early literacy promotion as an essential component of pediatric care. Reach Out and Read currently serves 4.7 million children in the United States.


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