Variety Provides Funding for 1,000 Books for Children in Need

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Wednesday, July 26, 2023


Not all children begin life with equal opportunity for academic success. The earliest years are a critical window of opportunity, with rapid brain development that is unparalleled in other life stages. Yet many children, especially those growing up in low-income families, are not read to from birth, an essential way to develop foundational literacy skills. As a result, disadvantaged children often lag behind their higher-income peers in vocabulary and other important pre-reading skills. Variety granted funds to Reach out and Read to purchase 1,000 books for children in need to help bridge this gap for children facing literacy challenges.



Reach Out and Read is a powerful intervention on the importance of shared reading, providing families with age and developmentally appropriate books and training clinicians to model it in the exam room. They are working to help all children enter school on a level playing field by engaging parents to read more often with their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Reach Out and Read provides both the information and tools needed to make reading part of a child’s healthy daily routine. Their unique model of working with medical providers helps keep their operating costs low, and because parents hear early literacy guidance from the doctor, they are more likely to act on it and read more often. “It is especially rewarding to offer a book to a family that is unfamiliar with Reach out and Read. Their excitement at the first visit we talk about ROR and the free books is matched by the child,” said Dr. James Livermore from Eastern Iowa Health Center.

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