First Lady Georganne Nixon promotes children's literacy during visit to Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis

March 23, 2012
Doctors at Cardinal Glennon prescribe books and encourage families to read together through the Reach Out and Read program
St. Louis, MO

First Lady Georganne Nixon today visited Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center to read to children and encourage Missouri parents, grandparents and caregivers to devote time each day to reading to a child. 

Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals at Cardinal Glennon participate in the Reach Out and Read program, which incorporates children's literacy into regular pediatric checkups by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children.

"Children must be strong readers to be successful in school and all through life," Mrs. Nixon said.  "As adults, we must help children understand the importance - and the joy - of reading.  With summertime just around the corner, I encourage every adult to spend time each day reading with a child."

"I commend Cardinal Glennon's commitment children's literacy through their participation in the Reach Out and Read Program," Mrs. Nixon said. "One thing every child should be prescribed is simply a good book."

Mrs. Nixon, who has worked as a teacher, read "The Last Time I Saw Harris" by Frank Remkiewicz to children waiting in Cardinal Glennon's Danis Pediatric Center, and handed out copies of a variety of books to children staying at the hospital.

Reach Out and Read is a national, nonprofit, school readiness organization founded in 1989 at Boston Medical Center, through a collaboration of pediatricians and early childhood educators. The Reach Out and Read model is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.

Nationwide, Reach Out and Read serves more than 3.9 million children and families annually and provides more than 6.4 million new, developmentally-appropriate books to children each year. More than 28,000 medical providers currently participate in Reach Out and Read, including 31 sites in the Greater St. Louis Area.

The program begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities. Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills, and a six-month developmental edge.