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The Children’s Council of Watauga County, Inc Launches Early Literacy Pilot Project PDF Print
Written by Tracy Zimmerman   
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 14:06

Getting books from the doctor will soon be a routine part of regular pediatric checkups at Blue Ridge Pediatrics and the Watauga County Health Department in Watauga County.  The Children’s Council of Watauga County is partnering with Reach Out and Read® to make books and literacy guidance a reality for children and families in Watauga County. The new Reach Out and Read clinical locations join more than 4,779 programs nationwide that are preparing America’s youngest children to succeed in school.

“We feel so honored to be a part of this wonderful program.  Through strong collaborations with the local medical providers, we hope to reach the majority of children ages birth to five years old in Watauga County.  The Children’s Council is committed to partnering with area providers, community members, families, and agencies to invest in early childhood.” ~Crystal Kelly, Executive Director

Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read's evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children.

The program begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities. Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills, and better prepared to achieve their potential.

During the 2011 legislative session, The North Carolina General Assembly added a requirement for Smart Start to implement an evidence-based pilot literacy program. The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc, the organization that oversees Smart Start, chose Reach Out Read because it builds upon Smart Start’s success in working with pediatricians. Smart Start currently works with pediatric offices to provide developmental screenings during well-child visits. Smart Start has always included a focus on developing early literacy skills and has been implementing the evidence-based program, Raising a Reader since 2007.

The Children’s Council of Watauga County, Inc. is one of 14 Smart Start partnerships selected to implement Reach Out and Read. The others include Alexander County Partnership for Children, Anson County Partnership for Children, Children & Youth Partnership for Dare County, Inc., Smart Start of Davie County, Inc., Down East Partnership for Children, Duplin County Partnership for Children, Franklin Granville Vance Smart Start, Madison County Partnership for Children and Families, Inc., Randolph County Partnership for Children, Region A Partnership for Children, Rockingham County Partnership for Children, Inc., Smart Start Rowan, Inc., and Wilkes Community Partnership for Children

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