Pediatricians Reach Out and Read -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Pediatricians Reach Out and Read

April 30, 2004

Tifton- Julianne Chambliss says she has a bigger job than just being the wife of Senator Saxby Chambliss. The retired fifth grade teacher of 30 years is a major advocate of education.

"It was so important that when they got to me that they knew how to read and obviously reading is the foundation of our education," she says.

In her fight to highlight the importance of pediatric literacy, she's joined the Reach Out and Read Program and is visiting pediatric centers to share her love of reading with children.

"The more the child hears the more the child learns and develops a love for books, an understanding of the language, it gives them that jump start to start school, and that's what this is all about."

During regular check-ups, pediatricians who participate in Reach Out and Read prescribe more than medicine.

"Starting at six months the pediatrician gives the children an age appropriate book," explains Dr. Christine McCuistion.

So, by the time they return for the 5th year well-child visit, they'll have accumulated a library of 10 books.

The program also encourages parents to read to their children at home.

"Studies have shown that children who are read to by their parents at a young age, by the time they are three and four years old they actually have improved literacy skills," adds Dr. McCuistion.

There are 32 Reach Out and Read Centers in the state and more than 2,000 across the nation. More than 3 million books are given away through the program every year.

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