Reach Out and Read Book Fair at UMC Celebrates The Importance of Reading to Children, Nov. 8 and 9
The importance of reading to children will be celebrated at the Reach Out and Read (ROR) Book Fair on Monday, Nov. 8, and Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Each child attending will receive a free book.
The ROR Book Fair will be held in front of the Arizona Elks Clinic for Children and Young Adults on the third floor of University Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell Ave. University of Arizona student-athletes from the track and field and baseball teams will read to the children in the afternoon, and ROR volunteers will read to children throughout the day.
Michael Cohen, MD, a retired behavioral pediatrician and coordinator of the ROR program at UMC, knows the health benefits of reading. "Reading to children is integral to their cognitive and language skills development," says Dr. Cohen. He and other ROR volunteers spend time every week in pediatric clinic waiting rooms reading stories to children. Carol Zuckert, coordinator of ROR volunteers, loves to model good reading habits for parents. "Reading to your child is a great way to interact with your kid and be a positive role model," she says.
At UMC, ROR began five years ago. Today, pediatricians in16 clinics across Southern Arizona are participating in the Reach Out and Read program. Pediatricians give each child an age-appropriate book during their well-child visit and write a "prescription for reading" for the parents. The doctors talk to the parents about the importance of reading aloud to their kids. "As pediatricians, we're interested in the child's developmental health as well as their physical health," says Dr. Cohen.
Recent research shows that Reach Out and Read programs positively affect literacy development by improving children's ability to express themselves verbally, increasing children's listening vocabularies, and reducing the number of children with language delays that can prevent them from succeeding in school. "The importance of reading to your kids cannot be underestimated. Research has shown that children who are read to have higher reading scores and perform well on verbal tests," says Will Creamer, director of Reach Out and Read Southern Arizona (RORSA).