Reading program prescribes a healthy start

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins AIr Force Base Public Affairs
The Reach Out and Read program at Robins received a nod this month following a visit from representatives with the Governor's Office for Children and Families.

The 78th Medical Group's pediatric unit hosted visitors with a tour of its facilities and learned how the program has played an important role for military families.The reading campaign began at Robins in 2011 and is part of the national Reach Out and Read program.

By partnering with medical providers, the program seeks to develop critical early reading skills in children beginning at 6-months old as well as encourage families to read together. Every child who visits the base clinic for a wellness visit receives a free, age-appropriate book, from 6-months old all the way up to five years of age.

For example, bright board and cloth books are given very early on, all the way up to books with letter and number recognition with fewer pictures for older children.

The books serve as an important developmental tool during wellness exams, and are used to assess how children are growing and learning.

Including Robins, Georgia military installations that have implemented the program include Fort Benning, Fort Gordon and Fort Stewart.

The program first began in 1989 at then-Boston City Hospital, and has reached all 50 states with nearly 5,000 program sites distributing 6.5 million books per year. A total of 4 million children are served annually through program sites.