Friday, November 7, 2008

Dr. Robert Needlman - Reach Out and Read!

I attended the Fall 2008 Annual Reach Out and Read Arizona Statewide Meeting today. Wow! I snuck in the attendee list at the last minute yesterday, promised to bring a bag of PBS goodies as a give away, and offered to leave materials for attendees on a community table in the exhibit area. Was I ever glad I did!

If you are not yet familiar with AZ Reach Out and Read, now is your chance! This organization spearheads pediatricians and others in the medical community to distribute materials on literacy to parents and books to families as a "prescription for reading!" Dr. Robert Needlman, M.D., was the keynote speaker and presented "Primary Prevention of School Reading Problems." It was just incredible to learn about what a difference books and early reading makes in children's lives. He reaffirmed much of what I already know and much of what the PBS KIDS Raising Readers Initiative is working on, but he also gave me new food for thought.

Did you know that research shows 1/3 of those mothers who have less than a 12th grade education are reading to their children despite their own educational barriers? Did you know that only 70% of those mothers with college degrees read to their children? Did you know that children's vocabulary at age 3 and 4 is the greatest predictor of school and reading success for later years? That is just the first bullets that pop out from his presentation today.

So... why is all this important to you? Well... WNET's Reading Rockets website offers webcasts and podcasts, and all sorts of other great resources. BUT most importantly, you can view Dr. Robert Neddlman yourself and find out more in "Toddling Toward Reading" hosted by Reba McIntyre! You can share this with your colleagues and parents. (It does make great parent newsletter material, btw.)

I hope you'll take the time to explore. Thank your pediatrician if he or she is involved with Reach Out and Read. Consider sharing these great online resources from PBS with others! It is just too good to keep all to yourself.

1 comment:

James Scott said...

Jim Trelease is a well known author on the subject of reading aloud to children. His books in the 90's we on the NY Times Best Seller list for months, They begin with the title...The Read Aloud Handbook for... I got the pleasure of meeting him about 5 years ago, and he inspired me to read to my 6th graders everyday. They love it. It doesn't matter what book it is. When we read aloud we should select books 2-3 years above the child's reading level, for as Trelease states if they can read it on their own let them. We teach chilren not only the importance of reading but increase vocabuary and fluency skills.

My own daughter started kinder this year and is a beginning reader. She has been read to daily since the day she was born-one of the first things we did with her. She won't go to sleep without reading. We are now readiing chapter books with her. It is an important concept at any child's age. Trelease read to his kids through college.