The Literacy Program at Camarena Health was implemented in 2002 with funding from Reach Out and Read and Reading is Fundamental. The program promotes early literacy to children 6 months to 5 years old, by providing anticipatory guidance to parents about early literacy and the importance of engaging their child by reading aloud, providing advice for parents, and giving a book to the child. Camarena Health provides a new free, developmentally and linguistically appropriate book to pediatric patients 6 months to 5 years old. The child receives a free book during their well-child visit and another book at any other clinic visit.
Our medical providers and medical assistants give advice to parents on how to engage the child and read aloud to them; or, in cases when the parent him/herself can’t read, they show them how to interact with the child holding the book and pointing at the pictures and making sounds to make it fun for the child, stressing the importance, developmentally, of early literacy.
What Has Been Some of the Impact or Successes?
The program has been successfully implemented at the health center for the past 14 years. During this time, Camarena Health has distributed a total of 27,399 books to a minimum of 27,000 children ages 6 months to 5 years old.
Camarena Health’s Reach Out and Read Program has impacted the lives of hundreds of our pediatric patients and their families. For many of our families, purchasing a new book for their children is not a possibility due to income limitations. For this reason, they are always very appreciative and excited for the books they receive from our provider or medical assistant. When a family comes to Camarena Health, not only the patient receives a free book as part of their visit, if a sibling comes along, we also provide them with a book from our free bonus books. Because of this, staff has shared that many of our young patients and their siblings ask for their books when as soon as they are in the exam room.[/fusion_text]