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News at PeaceHealth Medical Group - Bellingham/Lynden, WA

PeaceHealth Medical Group Pediatrics to Host ‘Reach Out and Read’


Getting books from the doctor will soon be a routine part of regular pediatric checkups at PeaceHealth Medical Group (PHMG) Pediatrics, as physicians welcome the Reach Out and Read program to the practice. 

PHMG Pediatrics joins 162 other medical offices in Washington that are helping prepare our youngest children to succeed in school. Doctors, nurse practitioners and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read's evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups, teaching parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally appropriate books to children.
The program begins at the six-month checkup and continues through age five. Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills, better prepared to achieve their potential.

 “Early literacy and language skills are essential for healthy development and school readiness,” said PHMG pediatrician Jennifer Rosquist, MD, who along with Joan Cervisi, RN, has worked for more than a year and a half to launch the program. “We are so excited to incorporate this national, evidence-based early literacy intervention into our practice.”

Pediatric caregivers at PHMG decided to launch the Reach Out and Read program this week, which is National Literacy Advocacy Week and National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. The program is funded in part by donations from the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Community Health Committee, PHMG Pediatrics, Washington State Reach Out and Read, Target and the Lions Club.  The program is launched in partnership with the Whatcom County Library System. 

The Reach Out and Read capstone event will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31 at PHMG, 4545 Cordata Parkway.  There will be tables in two Pediatric waiting rooms with balloons, book marks, sample books and providers reading aloud.  

Pediatric health care providers are trained in the three-part Reach Out and Read model to promote early literacy and school readiness:
  • At each well-child checkup from six months through five years, doctors talk with parents about the importance of reading aloud daily to their young child, offering age-appropriate tips and encouragement.
  • At these visits, the pediatric primary care provider gives each child a new, developmentally-appropriate children's book to keep.
  • In the waiting room, displays, information, and books create a literacy-rich environment that families experience whenever they visit the doctor. 
“We are thrilled to have PHMG-Pediatrics start the program,” said Jill Sells, MD, executive director of  Reach Out and Read Washington State. 

“This pediatric practice cares for a large percentage of children in the Bellingham area. It is wonderful that families with young children will now receive a new book and advice on reading together, as research clearly shows that one of the most important things that parents can do to prepare their children to succeed in school is to read aloud to them when they are young. 

“Thanks to PeaceHealth participating in Reach Out and Read, more children will be ready for kindergarten, and on the path toward achieving their dreams.”

Reach Out and Read is a proven program that delivers results, demonstrated by 15 independent, published research studies. During the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read have improved language and vocabulary skills over their non-Reach Out and Read peers. These foundational language skills help children be ready for kindergarten, and on a path toward success in school and life.

For more information about Reach Out and Read or to donate or volunteer, please contact clinic manager Kris Sandholm, at 752-5230 or Joan Cervisi, Nurse Practitioner, 738-2200.

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