Reach Out and Read Colorado Begins in the Clinic Waiting Room
According to Kandice Kramer, Reach Out and Read Colorado Site Coordinator for the Northeast Colorado Health Department, she has noticed a significant change since redecorating their waiting room to provide a literacy- rich environment. Kramer has, “observed more families reading with their children in this space compared to before any changes were made to the waiting area.”
A literacy-rich clinic environment is one of three components that make up the Reach Out and Read model. Since parents and their children spend a fair amount of time in the waiting rooms, literacy-rich clinic environments are designed to reinforce critical messages about the importance of early literacy and healthy development.
Kramer states, “Literacy-rich waiting rooms are important because they reinforce the message healthcare providers deliver to families about early literacy and parent/ child interaction in the exam room.”
One of these literacy-rich waiting rooms designed by the Northeast Colorado Health Department in Logan County. In addition to providing a shelf of books for children to enjoy, and families to engage, there are also important posters on the walls including brochures from local libraries, and information about other community literacy resources.
The Northeast Colorado Health Department serves six counties and distributes books and anticipatory guidance at their Immunization Clinics and Healthy Child Clinics. The health department prescribes approximately 350 books a year.