Purpose of Project Shelton, WA, has a significant percentage of school-aged children failing to meet WASL standards in reading. A large proportion of the community is of ethnic minority and uses English as a second language. The national program Reach Out and Read (ROR) was initiated targeting early literacy in children ages 6 months to 5 years. The research shows that the ROR program is cost-effective and easy to implement in primary care offices and community hospitals. A randomized trial showed that programs, such as ROR, increase child-centered literacy orientation by nearly fivefold.
Methods ROR was initiated at Shelton Family Medicine with the goal of promoting early youth literacy. This will be accomplished by giving 10 free books to children along with family counseling throughout well-child visits ages 6 months to 5 years. A patient assessment was done by interview to determine the receptiveness of the community to the ROR program.
Results There was overwhelming support for the ROR program by parents, clinic staff, community organizations, and local literacy programs. New partnerships quickly grew between Shelton Family Medicine's ROR program and: Mason County Literacy (adult literacy), Read Write program (ESL), Rotary Club, Shelton School District, and State Representative Kathryn Haigh.
Conclusions Clinic-based programs targeting early youth literacy are both cost-effective and proven to improve child-centered literacy orientation. Such programs may also be effective in addressing adult literacy when partnered with other community programs.
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