Reach Out and Read program expands in UT Physicians clinics
Well-child exams come with a brand new book at four additional UT Physicians locations. It’s part of a national program to encourage an interest in reading at a young age.
“Children get so excited, sometimes with a squeal of delight,” said Sevahn A. Carril, M.D., pediatrician at UT Physicians – Rosenberg. “It is one of my favorite parts of their checkup. I love walking in with a brand new book and watching how thrilled they are with it. The hope is that because of the books, parents may read with them every night.”
A well-child checkup is the time for a pediatrician to evaluate a child’s growth, mental development, administer vaccinations and answer any questions from parents. The checkups will generally follow the schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
As a clinical practice of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), UT Physicians partners with Reach Out and Read Texas, which is part of the Children’s Learning Institute at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. The university has been a part of the national program since 1999.
Children receive books from the time they are 6 months old until they are 5 years old as part of the program. Books are available in English and Spanish.
“Pediatric providers have a unique opportunity to impact the lives of our youngest citizens,” said Jocelyn McConnell, M.Ed., director for Reach Out and Read Texas. “By encouraging families to talk, sing, read and engage responsively with their young children, medical providers become a powerful resource for changing the trajectory for children and their brain development. Not only does reading aloud together build language skills and prepare children for school success, it also encourages bonding, which builds resiliency. When used successfully, the book also facilitates the work of the clinic team, assisting with developmental surveillance and engaging anxious or shy little ones. A win for all involved!”
Nearly 20 years ago, the pediatric center at UT Physicians flagship location at 6410 Fannin was the only location. Since then, it has expanded to include four additional clinics. Last year, nearly 7,000 books were distributed.
|Reach Out and Read Clinics||# of Books Distributed in 2017|
|Pediatric Primary Care at Dashwood||1,900|
|UT Physicians at The Heights||2,050|
|UT Physicians Greens Clinic||800|
|Pediatric Primary Care – TMC||1,673|
|UT Physicians – Rosenberg||New Program|
— Melissa McDonald, UT Physicians