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Reach Out and Read

Buckeye Health Plan Promotes Well Checks and Literacy

Going to the doctor is good for a child’s health, and now it can be good for early literacy, too.

Did you know?

  • In Ohio, 37 percent of Kindergarteners (over 73,000 students) are not on track at the beginning of the school year in language and literacy.1
  • By age 4, there is a 4 million word gap between children from the wealthiest and poorest families.2
  • The gap in reading proficiency between lower- and higher-income fourth graders has grown by 20 percent in the past decade, with 80 percent of low-income fourth-graders not reading at their grade level compared to 49 percent of their wealthier counterparts.3 
  • In the United States, more than 60 percent of low-income families have no children’s books in their homes.4

Buckeye wants to change these statistics.

In honor of National Literacy Month in September, Buckeye Health Plan is kicking-off its year-long partnership with Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit organization that incorporates books into pediatric care to give young children a foundation for success. Throughout September, Buckeye will distribute more than 5,000 books to children at eight pediatric clinics statewide to encourage families to read aloud together. In addition, Buckeye will host a kick-off event at local clinics, “Little Bear Healthy Clinic,” the week of September 9, National Teddy Bear Day. During these clinics, children will receive a book about going to the doctor, be guided through a Teddy Bear “checkup,” and complete a teddy bear craft. Parents will receive early literacy and milestones tips and resources. The interactive experience is aimed at decreasing fears and helping children feel more comfortable and confident about visiting the doctor.

Visit one of Buckeye’s partnering clinics:

  • Dayton - Five Rivers Health Centers
  • Cleveland – MetroHealth Medical Center
  • Cincy – Crossroad Health Center
  • Toledo - Rocket Pediatrics (UT)
  • Columbus - PrimaryOne Health

Support your child’s learning and development

Make reading part of every day, even for just a few minutes.5 As you read:

  • Talk about the pictures. You do not have to read the book to tell a story.
  • Let your child turn the pages.
  • Show your child the cover page. Explain what the story is about.
  • Run your finger along the words as you read them.
  • Choose books about events in your child's life such as starting preschool, going to the dentist, getting a new pet, or moving to a new home.
  • Make the story come alive. Create voices for the story characters.
  • Ask questions about the story. What do you think will happen next? What is this?
  • Let your child ask questions about the story. Talk about familiar activities and objects.
  • Let your child retell the story.
  • Visit your local library often.

It’s never too early to start reading! Learn more about age appropriate literacy milestones by visiting Reach Out and Read’s Milestones of Early Literacy Development guide (PDF).