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Reach Out and Read literacy program introduced at Geisinger-Susquehanna University

CONTACT: Michael Ferlazzo: 570-214-7410
Jan. 2, 2013

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Getting books from the doctor is now part of regular pediatric checkups at Geisinger-Susquehanna University, a service of Geisinger Medical Center, as doctors and nurses welcome the Reach Out and Read program to the practice. The clinic joins nearly 5,000 program sites nationwide that are preparing America’s youngest children to succeed in school.

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based program implemented into regular pediatric checkups that advises parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally appropriate books to children.

“Reach Out and Read is a three-step process that involves nurses, doctors and parents,” said Amy Hedges, M.D., pediatrician, Geisinger-Susquehanna University. “It begins with consultations about the importance of reading and tips for age-appropriate materials. It then follows up with a new book provided by the pediatrician at each checkup and a literacy-rich environment in the waiting room.

“It is never too early to start a love of reading. The look of joy on a child’s face when they get a new book is priceless” said Dr. Hedges.

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 and stronger language skills.

Reach Out and Read is supported by 15 independently published research studies. During the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read were found to score three to six months ahead of their peers on vocabulary tests.

The Reach Out and Read program at Geisinger – Susquehanna University is funded by Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger. Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger helps fund programs and services for pediatric patients throughout Geisinger Health System including, Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville, Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, the Geisinger Medical Group and Pediatric Specialty Services offices throughout Pennsylvania.

About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development of innovative care models such as ProvenHealth Navigator® and ProvenCare®. As the nation’s largest rural health services organization, Geisinger serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. The physician-led system is comprised of more than 17,000 employees, including a 900-member multi-specialty group practice, six hospital campuses, two research centers and a 290,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $5.5 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania economy. The health system and the health plan have repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit  Geisinger. Follow the latest Geisinger news and more at Twitter and  Facebook.

About Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based, national nonprofit organization that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.  The end goal of Reach Out and Read is to prepare all children to enter kindergarten ready to read, learn, and succeed. The Reach Out and Read model is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the program has one of the strongest records of research support of any primary care intervention. This year, Reach Out and Read’s 12,000 volunteer medical providers will distribute 6.5 million new books to more than 4 million children at nearly 5,000 healthcare locations in all 50 states.

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