(Pittsfield) October 1, 2007 -- Doctors at Berkshire Pediatrics are sending their youngest patients home with free books and important advice for their parents – “Read to your children every day.” Today, Senator Ben Downing (D-MA) visited the pediatric practice on North Street and read to a group of young children, emphasizing the importance of reading aloud.
"The many benefits of reading to children include language development, vocabulary building and school preparation. As children get older, a love of reading can help prepare and motivate them for a lifetime of learning and enjoyment," stated Downing. "I love the proactive stance Berkshire Pediatrics is taking in nurturing a new generation of book worms and I thoroughly enjoyed reading to a group of wide-eyed children."
Berkshire Pediatrics has recently joined Reach Out and Read (ROR), a national children’s literacy program that helps children enter school prepared to learn. At every well child checkup under age five, doctors encourage parents to read aloud to their children every day, and give each child a carefully selected new book. By the time that child enters school, he or she will have a home library of up to 10 books. According to Dr. Jacqueline Jones, pediatrician at Berkshire Pediatrics,
“We are very excited about the opportunity to provide our youngest patients with the books that will enable them to develop a lifelong love of reading. Senator Downing’s support of this program has been greatly appreciated.”
Berkshire Pediatrics joins MACONY Pediatrics and Children’s Health Program, both in Great Barrington, to provide Reach Out and Read in Berkshire County. Interest is steadily growing from other medical providers in both North and South County. This year the Commonwealth of Massachusetts contributed $1 million to Reach Out and Read through the Department of Early Education and Care. This amount is matched by private dollars. Across the state, 183 Reach Out and Read sites serve over 154,200 infants, toddlers and preschool age children each year and distribute over one quarter of a million books.
For further information about Reach Out and Read, please visit the website at www.reachoutandread.org.