Building brains: UW researchers say early steps to improve children’s lives will help them succeed in school and life.
The Elephant in the Clinic
Early Literacy and Family Well-Being
by Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD and Amy Shriver, MD
Promoting early literacy directly with families in primary-care clinic settings is a concept that stretches back over twenty years. One of the best-studied and widespread interventions is Reach Out and Read. Well-documented with a strong evidence base, Reach Out and Read has enjoyed popularity among many front-line providers offering preventive care for children. However, the "book giveaway" aspect has been so striking that many have not recognized that much more is possible through this approach.
With proper training and careful implementation, the model offers a number of different strengths: a path to proactively address school readiness, conduct developmental surveillance, make relational health assessments, build parental capacities and capabilities, help buffer toxic stress in families, integrate public health principles into clinical care, and use an inexpensive, scalable, evidence-based model.
This report, written with a powerful mix of storytelling, scientific evidence, and data, highlights the types of interventions we need in today¹s busy environment to work meaningfully with children and their parents.
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