When Eric Rader, DO, sees one of his young patients for a well visit, they leave with something that at first may not seem related to health: a new book. American Academy of Pediatrics says that early reading is an important tool in promoting healthy brain development and overall well-being, now and in the future.
That’s why ProMedica Perrysburg Pediatrics has partnered with the Reach Out and Read program, a national nonprofit organization that incorporates books into pediatric care and encourages families to read aloud together.
Dr. Rader feels passionate about this program. “I try to stress the importance of reading with your children to every parent who comes through my door,” he says. “Reading aloud and being read to helps develop speech, which is directly tied to overall intelligence.”
Dr. Rader explains, “We give one book to every child who comes in for a well visit, starting at 6-months-old to 5-years-old. At 6-months-old, the book may go straight to the mouth, but if the parent takes the time to read to their child, there are real benefits such as stimulating language development, expanding vocabulary and building memory.” He adds that the children are always all smiles to leave with a book in hand and it makes him happy to see that, too.
Children are able to choose a book from the bookshelf in the front lobby of the pediatrics office. The books are arranged on the shelves based on age. The program is such a hit they have a hard time keeping the shelves full before their next order of books arrives.
Dr. Rader took his own advice and made reading a part of his two kid’s (5 and 8-years-old) bedtime routine. Every night, his kids would pick three new books and rotate reading before falling asleep. By exposing his kids to books at a young age, he believes they will grow up to be more intelligent. Reading aloud also gives children the opportunity to practice listening, a crucial skill for kindergarten and beyond.
“I encourage parents to make reading a priority by making books more prevalent in their life,” says Dr. Rader. “We provide one book per well visit, but this is just a start. I encourage everyone to get a library card and take advantage of it. The more books the better!”
What is your child’s favorite book? Let us know in the comments below! And earn about why and how one mom is bringing reading in her children’s lives.