Reading with kids is important for their development and long-term health. With help from Reach Out and Read programs, several Epic community members are using the power of storytelling to increase children’s language score and school readiness, promote brain development, and enhance their relationships with their families.
Several Epic community members are part of the national network of Reach Out and Read partners who prioritize reading in the early care of nearly 4.8 million children, half of whom come from low-income families. During routine check-ups, clinicians talk with parents or guardians about the importance of reading with children and send kids home with new, developmentally appropriate books. By the end of the program, participants have a small home library and a meaningful daily habit.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has partnered with Reach Out and Read for over 20 years and now supports the program at 21 primary care practices in the greater Philadelphia area. In 2019, Epic contributed $4,000 to CHOP’s Reach Out and Read program. During this fiscal year, CHOP plans to give at least 80,000 new books to 45,000 children.
Many Epic staff also support Reach Out and Read through book donations. Since 2014, Epic staff have donated 6,931 books to Reach Out and Read Wisconsin. New books are intended to go home with patients, and gently used books are used in the clinic.
“Childhood literacy leads to short and long term benefits for individuals that can cascade through entire communities,” said Epic software tester Kate Parr, who has helped organize the Verona campus book drive since 2014. “The gift of storytelling is a great way to invest in our community.”