Reach Out and Read- Alabama launches its third-annual summer campaign

Published 4:27 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reach Out and Read-Alabama pediatric practices and clinics are ready to read together and make physical activity fun this summer with Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance. Using the book as inspiration, the campaign is encouraging children to connect with dance and movement this summer to exercise their bodies.

The 700 pediatric healthcare providers statewide who will also be talking to parents about getting their kids outside and moving this summer will distribute copies of the book.

Barnyard Dance activities and events sponsored by Chilton Pediatrics of Alabama are being held at Clanton City Park Pavilion on Friday, June 29 at 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend and encouraged to wear western attire.

As in past years, Book-A-Million stores throughout the state will be collecting books during the summer campaign to be distributed through the Reach Out and Read program at the 70 Reach Out and Read-Alabama practices and clinics.

“Using the message of a book can help families get outside and initiate activities in their backyard that encourage a healthier lifestyle. Having the support of partners like Books-A-Million, Inc. and the resources of We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition), a science-based, National Institutes of Health movement that teaches parents, caregivers, kids and communities ways to eat healthier, increase physical activity and limit screen time, enables us to reach many more children and their families in our efforts to decrease childhood obesity,” said Polly McClure, statewide coordinator for Reach Out and Read-Alabama.

The Read Together and Make Physical Activity Fun initiative could not have launched at a more critical time. Obesity rates in our state are skyrocketing, and the problem starts in childhood. According to the latest data on obesity rates, 17.9 percent of kids ages 10 to 17 in Alabama are considered obese.

“As a pediatrician, I know that both reading and exercise are critical to a child’s whole health. Research shows that if you intervene in the first five years of life and partner with parents, you can dramatically improve the early literacy skills of a child, putting them on the track for success in school and in life,” said Dr. Gladys Alolod, Medical Coordinator for Reach Out and Read at Chilton Pediatrics of Alabama. “Childhood development experts tell us that the most important thing that parents can do to prepare their children to succeed in school is to read aloud to them every day. That’s what the Reach Out and Read-Alabama’s summer campaign is all about.”

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based, national nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud at regular pediatric checkups. The model includes providing a carefully selected, new, age-appropriate book for each child to take home from every checkup from 6 months through 5 years.

Along with the free book for every child, doctors and nurses also provide guidance to the parents about the importance of reading aloud with their children every day. The research proves that 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.

Nationwide, Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses serve 3.9 million children and their families annually at 4,688 pediatric practices, hospitals, clinics and health centers in all 50 states, targeting those centers which serve children at socioeconomic risk. The 70 Reach Out and Read Programs in Alabama serve a total of 129,000 infants, toddlers and preschoolers annually.

Call 205-280-3333 to sign up and reserve an entry number for prizes.