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Reach Out And Read Introduced At The Atlantic Health Center

Getting books from the doctor are a routine part of regular pediatric checkups at Atlantic Health Center. Atlantic Health Center recently joined more than 5,000 program sites nationwide that are preparing America’s youngest children to succeed in school through the Reach Out and Read program.

Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read's evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups, by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children. They are essentially providing families with “prescriptions to read.”

Reach Out and Read begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities. Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills, better prepared to achieve their potential.

Pediatric healthcare providers are trained in the three-part Reach Out and Read model to promote early literacy and school readiness:

  • In the exam room, doctors and nurses speak with parents about the importance of reading aloud to their young children every day, and offer age-appropriate tips and encouragement.
  • The pediatric primary care provider gives every child 6 months through 5 years old a new, developmentally-appropriate children's book to take home and keep.
  • In the waiting room, displays, information, and books create a literacy-rich environment.

“Reach Out and Read is an efficient and effective concept,” said Reach Out and Read Acting Executive Director Brian Gallagher. “Our doctors and nurses know that the most important thing that parents can do to prepare their children to succeed in school and beyond is to read aloud to them every day. Encouraging parents to stimulate their children’s early language and brain development during regular pediatric checkups is a simple model that has a lasting, invaluable impact on the life of a child.”

Reach Out and Read is a proven intervention that delivers results, and is supported by 15 independent, published research studies. During the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests. These foundational language skills help start children on a path of success when they enter school.

“This is a wonderful program that gives the gift of reading as a reward for a wellness checkup,” said Deborah Wolf, director of the Atlantic Health Center. The books come in all reading levels and languages, which allows our associates to personalize the book to the child receiving it. For many of the children the book that we provide is the first book that they have ever received. Both the parents and children have been very appreciative.”

About Atlantic General Hospital

Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) counties since May 1993. Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md., combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology and services. It provides quality specialty care such as weight loss surgery, orthopedics, outpatient infusion for individuals with cancer or blood/autoimmune disorders, retina surgery and a comprehensive women’s diagnostic center. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 40 primary care providers and specialists, care for residents and visitors throughout the region. For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit

About Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based nonprofit organization of medical providers who promote early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud. The end goal of Reach Out and Read is to prepare all children to enter kindergarten ready to read, learn, and succeed. The Reach Out and Read model is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the program has one of the strongest records of research support of any primary care intervention. This year, Reach Out and Read’s 20,000 volunteer medical providers will distribute 6.5 million new books to 4 million children at more than 5,000 healthcare locations in all 50 states.