Grand County Public Health Nursing Service urges parents to ‘Reach Out and Read’ |

Grand County Public Health Nursing Service urges parents to ‘Reach Out and Read’

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

The Grand County Public Health Nursing Service is prescribing a different kind of medicine to promote children’s health.


Reading is a proven way to promote child development such as speech and language aptitude and overall intelligence, according to countless studies on the subject.

For this reason, acquiring books from the health nurse will soon become a routine part of immunization visits at the public health clinic.

“We are excited to be able to offer this program to our clients, ” said Gail Van Bockern, RN ” Grand County’s Reach Out and Read program coordinator. “It warms the heart to see children’s eyes light up when they get a new book.”

Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit program that is working to make literacy promotion a standard part of pediatric primary care. The program encourages doctors and nurses to relay to parents the importance of reading aloud to children and to provide books to children at pediatric check-ups from 6 months to 5 years of age, with a special focus on children growing up in poverty.

According to the program, it has provided 5.4 million books to more than 3.3 million children at more than 3,797 programs throughout the country.

“Giving a book to a young child, along with age-appropriate advice about sharing books for the parents, may be the only concrete activity a pediatrician or nurse can routinely do to promote child development,” said Reach Out and Read co-founder Barry S. Zuckerman, MD, who is chief of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.

A statement prepared by Reach Out and Read says that for more than a decade, studies have indicated that parents who get books and literacy counseling from their doctors and nurses are more likely to read to their young children, read to them more often and provide more books in the home. Several studies have also shown improvements in the language scores of young children exposed to the Reach Out and Read program, according to the statement.

The way the program works is nurses read with children in the clinic waiting areas, nurses educate parents about the importance of reading daily to their children, and every child from 6 months to 5 years receives a new book to take home and keep when they come in for immunizations ” all to send them onto a healthy road of learning.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail

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