Reach Out and Read

mott blog - jess fealy and daughter RoRA trip to the doctor’s office can be scary for small children, but we’ve helped fix that while also encouraging children to read through our involvement in the national “Reach Out and Read” program.

At many of our pediatric primary care clinics, every child from the age of six months to five years who comes in for an annual check up receives a brand new, age-appropriate book for free.

We’ve been participating in this program for 13 years and it’s tremendously valuable to both the doctors and the patients and families.

Encouraging reading

We talk about the importance of reading at every visit. Giving these young children their very own book they can take home reinforces that message. We also talk about minimizing screen time. Reading is such an important skill and this program helps us foster a love for reading.

We have books in many different languages, so each patient receives a book in the language their family speaks. Parents get very excited when they see the book is in their language. That helps encourage the parents to read to their children.

Another tool in the doctor’s kit

As a doctor, the books are helpful to me during well child exams. It’s a great way to interact with the child from the time I walk in the room. I can observe how the child plays with the book so I can assess their development. I can ask a child to point to certain colors or letters. It’s also a great way to keep the child occupied while I talk to mom or dad.

The hardest part of the Reach Out and Read program is when children are older than 5 and no longer receive a book during their well visit. We try to talk at the 5-year-old visit about how this will be thelast book. Sometimes we are able to reach into a selection of donated used books and give out a bonus book at the 6 year well child exam to help minimize the disappointment.

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heather burrows mdHeather Lee Burrows, MD, PhD, has a long-time association with the University of Michigan. After completing an undergraduate degree with distinction in Cellular and Molecular Biology, she earned a doctoral degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology and then graduated from medical school in 2000. She next completed her residency in pediatrics at Mott Children’s Hospital. Her husband Bob is an Internal Medicine Hospitalist. They have a daughter Rose and a small dog Poppy. Her other interests include camping and sewing of all kinds. Dr. Burrows sees patients at the East Ann Arbor Health and Geriatric Center.

best children's hospitalsUniversity of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.