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Features Health & Wellness Region A Partnership for Children Launches Early Literacy Project

Getting books from the doctor will soon be a routine part of regular pediatric checkups at six medical practices in Region A. The Region A Partnership for Children is Partnering with Smart Start and Reach Out and Read® to make books and literacy guidance a reality for more children and families in Region A. The six new Reach Out and Read clinical locations join more that 4,779 programs nationwide that are preparing America’s youngest children to succeed in school.

“Children who live in print-rich environments and who are read to during the first years of life are more likely to learn to read on schedule and to be more successful in school and life. The Reach Out and Read program is also an excellent way to engage children and families in early literacy activities which provide a solid foundation for building strong child and parent relationships,” stated Janice M. Edgerton, Executive Director of the Region A Partnership for Children. “We are pleased to be able to partner with six medical practices in the region including WNC Pediatric and Adolescent Care and Wellspring Family Practice in Jackson County, Franklin Pediatric Associates in Macon County, and the Clay, Haywood and Jackson County Departments of Public Health. These medical providers are true champions for children!”

Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read’s evidenced-based model into regular pediatric checkups by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children. The program begins at the six-month checkup and continues through age five, with 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 and stronger language skills, and are better prepared to achieve their potential.

During the 2011 legislative session, the North Carolina General Assembly added a requirement for Smart Start to implement an evidenced-based pilot literacy program. Smart Start has always held a strong focus on early literacy and the Region A Partnership for Children has implemented the evidenced-based Raising a Reader program in the seven county region since 2007, along with a number of early literacy projects in partnership with local libraries and family resource centers. Reach Out and Read builds upon these efforts and expands Smart Start’s relationships with Pediatric offices and Health Departments in providing developmental screenings and referral information during well child visits.

The Region A Partnership for Children is one of 14 Smart Start partnerships from throughout North Carolina selected to implement Reach Out and Read.

About Region A Partnership for Children

The Region A Partnership for Children administers North Carolina’s Smart Start and More at Four initiatives in the seven westernmost counties of the state and on the Qualla Boundary. The overall goal of the Partnership is to ensure that all children arrive at school healthy and prepared to succeed.


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