Patient receives 10,000th book

Published 10:21 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Canryn Boykin reads through a book she received recently at Pediatric Adolescent Medicine along with her parents, Curtis and Danielle, as well as Dr. Patricia Robinson and site coordinator Tomeka Smiley.--Laura Fenton photo

Camryn Boykin is laughing and smiling not because she had received a lollipop during her doctor’s visit but because the 15-month-old Boykin was eagerly flipping through her brand new book given to her by her doctor at Pediatric Adolescent Medicine.

This is a “special” book received by Boykin because she is receiving the 10,000th book given by Pediatric Adolescent Medicine’s Reach Out and Read Program. Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit program that began in 1989 in what is now Boston Medical Center as an effort by doctors, nurses and educators to instill an early interest in reading.

Since then it has spread to more than 4,000 private practices throughout the 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. More than 20 million books have been distributed nationwide through the Reach Out and Read sites.

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The Reach Out and Read program focuses on children ages six months to five years. Doctors give brand new age appropriate books at checkups along with literacy advice. Boykin has received a book during her regularly scheduled visits at her pediatrician’s office since she was six months old as a part of the program. It has been scientifically proven from studies that parents who get books and literacy advice from their doctors are up to four times more likely to read to their children, read to them more often, and provide more books in their homes. These children would enter school ready to learn with the vocabulary and communication skills that would increase their chances for academic success.

Dr. Patricia Robinson and her staff at Pediatric Adolescent Medicine have participated since 2008.

“We were thrilled to become the 47th site for the Reach Out and Read program in Alabama and the first pediatric office in Selma” said Robinson. “Sharing books and advocating early childhood reading have become as routine in our practice as immunizations.”

The program has not only directly benefited the children but also the parents. In addition to the literacy advice, the parents are given information regarding the public library, children’s programs, parental reading lists and adult literacy programs. The parents along with community volunteers have the opportunity to read out loud in Robinson’s waiting room.

Although the program targets children up to five years, Robinson also continues to encourage her young elementary and high school patients to have fun reading. Some of Robinson’s activities include discussing her patients’ favorite books with them, giving out reading list and this summer her office had a reading challenge for all age groups. She also sponsored a book club session for students who were part of the Selma city summer reading program. The most popular book discussed during one of the book club meetings was “The Secret Life of Bees.”

“Giving out over 10,000 books is an achievement,” said Tomeka Smiley, site coordinator. “We are proud that we are helping so many children grow up with books and with a love of reading but we must continue to strive to increase our efforts. In addition we are always looking for reading volunteers, books, donations and partner organizations.”