Getting more kids ready to read

More than one-third of American children lack the basic language skills they need to learn how to read. Less than half of U.S. parents read to their young children daily - an activity that helps build children's thinking, communication and reading readiness skills. Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic is doing its part to get more kids ready to read.

Doctors and staff members at the clinic hand out free books to children, ages 6 months to 5 years, during their well child exam visits. The program started in August 2012 and 3,200 books were distributed through the end of the year. Most were in English, but Hmong, Spanish and Russian families received books in their languages.

"All 13 of our pediatricians participate," said Nicole Truniger, RN, BSN, manager of clinical services. "They select a book for the child's age, then hand it to the child to see how he or she interacts with it. The kids love the books, and the parents appreciate it so much. Many times, you can tell it's probably the only book they have at home."

The program is part of a national effort called Reach Out and Read. The nonprofit Reach Out and Read organization was founded in 1989 at Boston Medical Center. Participating groups raise funds to buy the books. At Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic, book purchases are funded by a $24,000 gift from Charlie Kratsch, owner of Infinite Campus.

Source: Healthy Communities magazine, spring 2013
Reviewed By: Nicole Truniger, RN, BSN, manager of clinical services
First Published: 04/08/2013
Last Reviewed: 07/13/2016