Reading program needs help

Published 7:12 pm Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Washington Pediatrics’ Reach Out and Read program has been helping young children develop their reading skills. Now, the program needs financial help so it can continue helping children.

ROAR is a national program that promotes early literacy skills in children who are at an increased risk for reading failure.

“We have made a major in-kind and monetary commitment to ROAR, but we need assistance to continue this program. Washington Pediatrics distributes over 3,000 books annually; therefore outside financial assistance is needed. If you choose to help fund this program, the monies will go to the Washington Pediatrics Foundation and every penny will be used for the purchase of books. All other supplies and employee time are in-kind donations from Washington Pediatrics. We truly appreciate your consideration of our request for financial assistance,” reads a letter from Dr. Debbie Ainsworth, a pediatrician at Washington Pediatrics.

The medical practice gives new, age-appropriate books to children from the ages of 6 months to 5 years old at their well-child checkups. They can wind up getting a total of nine new books by the time they’re 5 years old by getting well-child checkups.

“It’s one of the few studied programs that’s shown to be effective in term of promoting early literacy. It’s been around for over 20 years. Multiple pediatric offices throughout the nation, thousands of practices participate in Reach Out and Read,” Ainsworth said Wednesday. “What it does it gives us an opportunity to give a child a book. For many families, especially early on, they may not know that reading to your child is an important way to interact with them. It gives us a tool to be able to do that.”

The reading program helps Washington Pediatrics follow a child’s development, she said.

“We can watch how a child interacts with the book and learn a lot about their development. Six-month-old babies will automatically put everything in their mouth. These books hold up well. As you’re handing them the book, because everything goes in their mouths, on cue the baby has put the book in his mouth. Then, I can watch older kids look at the book, turn it around and make sure it’s right-side up and start to look through pages. So, you can learn a lot by handing a child a book. At the same time, it starts to build up their own libraries,” Ainsworth said. “Being able to give a child a new book throughout their formative years is pretty cool.”

The books are expensive.

That’s where the Washington Pediatrics Foundation comes in. The foundation conducts a variety of fundraising events to obtain the money to continue the program. One fundraising activity is the sale of cookbooks. The cookbooks include recipes provided by Washington Pediatrics doctors, staff, patients’ parents and others in the community, McDonald said.

To help its program, Washington Pediatrics is selling cookbooks for $15 each to raise funds for the local Reach Out and Read program. The local program is affiliated with the state and national Reach Out and Read programs.

Copies of the cookbook may be purchased at Washington Pediatrics, 1206 Brown St., Washington, during weekdays and Saturday mornings, at both Petals & Produce locations (in Washington and near Pinetown) and Uniforms PRN at Washington Square Mall.

For more information about Reach Out and Reach or to donate money to the program, call Sara Cutler at Washington Pediatrics, 252-946-4134.






About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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