Inspired by a similar project in Dyersville, the Jackson County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is partnering with Maquoketa Medical Associates to launch a pilot project to share books and the importance of reading to parents of young children at well-child visits.
“It’s so crucial for parents to be engaged in the home with their children,” says Jackson County Coordinator Rachel Williams. “Nationally, an estimated 61 percent of low-income children have no books at home. Our hope is that by reaching families at these essential well-child visits, we can help increase access to books for people in need and stress the importance of reading with your kids.”
In June 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement declaring that literacy promotion is “an essential component of primary care pediatric practice.” Within the policy statement, the AAP emphasized that providers of pediatric health care can and should promote early literacy development for the children and families that they serve.
The pilot program will provide a free, developmentally appropriate book to children at their well-child checks and will also include educational print materials with each book that highlights developmentally appropriate ways for parents to support their child’s literacy and socio-emotional growth, as well as local community resources. Maquoketa Medical Associates has approximately 75 well-child checks per year at each age level.
The project was funded by a grant from the Iowa Department of Human Services and will continue the Campaign’s work to improve access to books for children in Jackson County.