Reach Out and Read Now in Select Pediatric Clinics at Willis-Knighton

Jun 15, 2023

Reach Out and Read, a national program that promotes the lifelong benefits of families reading aloud to their children, is now available in five pediatric clinics within the Willis-Knighton Physician Network.  Participating clinics are WK Tots to Teens Pediatric Center, WK Center for Pediatrics-South, and WK Pediatric Health &  Wellness in Shreveport as well as WK Internal Medicine & Pediatric Specialists  and WK Preferred Pediatrics in Bossier City.

The program, which is the only national literacy model endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics,  provides books for well visits for infants through age five. Funding for the books has been provided to the clinics through Willis-Knighton’s tithe the bottom line community philanthropy.  

At the beginning of each well visit, each child is introduced to and given a developmentally appropriate book, says Sheyenne Carper, MD, of WK Tots to Teens Pediatric Center. “Healthcare providers discuss with parents and caregivers the importance of reading aloud to their children and how it helps promote healthy brain development,” Dr. Carper says.

Eighty percent of a child’s brain is formed between birth and age three. Reading aloud to a child improves language development, helps physical, cognitive and emotional development, grows curiosity and memory, and develops a lifelong love of reading.

During the visit, parents are shown how to hold the book and engage their child, and how to interact with text and images to help the child follow along. In addition to giving books to children to take home, participating clinics are encouraged to offer books in waiting areas for families and children to read as they wait for their visit.

Dr. Carper notes that having these books in the waiting areas helps keep children engaged and creates a positive experience when coming to the clinic for their doctor visit.  

“Parents are their child’s first teacher,” Dr. Carper explains.  “Giving them a lifelong love of reading is an invaluable gift. It will help ensure they will be more successful as they grow and develop.”