‘Read me a story’ – Bringing books to the youngest patients

With three children ages 2, 5 and 8, Dr. Daniel Schlegel has many-a-time answered a wistful call to “Read me a story, Daddy.” There is “nothing better” than snuggling with a child and a book, as tiny, chubby hands impatiently turn its pages into a world of imagination, he says.

“It does wonderful things for the parent-child bond,” said Schlegel, assistant professor of family and community medicine.

Inspired by a request from Dr. Sukhjeet Kamboj, Schlegel and Dr. Julie Radico, psychologist and assistant professor, were excited to hear about an innovative program out of Boston called Reach Out and Read. Medical providers hand out free books at well-child appointments, which opens the door to discuss the importance of literacy with moms and dads. Reading to a child aids in brain development, social interactions and emotional health, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For the past year, the Department of Family and Community Medicine has implemented its own version of Reach Out and Read with great success. It started with two clinics and has since expanded to six because of high interest, says Corinne Gibilterra, program coordinator.

“Reach Out and Read programming in central Pennsylvania has raised the care that children in our area receive and sets us apart from other health care providers,” she said. Radico and Gibilterra continue working to expand the program to all family medicine clinics.

Learn more about how the Reach Out and Read program is being put to use in central Pennsylvania in this Penn State Medicine article.

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Last Updated July 27, 2017