An intriguing program was started a few years ago by a local pediatrician, Dr. Shelly Senders, and has more recently been spun off into an independent nonprofit called Daily Dose of ReadingTM
, which is run by a good friend of our family, Susie Bauer.
The idea is simple. A child's pediatrician sees a newborn child and his or her parents several times in the first year or so of life, and has a great deal of influence in the caretaking of that child, both in the first year or so and as the child grows. With this program, the doctor simply prescribes a book or two at each visit, a real prescription written out for age appropriate books that the parents can read to and with their child. The first few visits, these are board books with few words, but build up to picture books. As the child grows, the doctor can prescribe books from a reading list. Local libraries help with the selection of books, and maintain sets of the prescribed books, although many parents may also choose to purchase the books. To quote the website:
The next time you visit your pediatrician, ask for a prescription that you can fill at the library instead of the pharmacy. Just as parents spend time shopping for healthy food for their children each week, they should also spend time shopping for brain food (that's books!).
Susie and the others running this program are spreading the word to more and more pediatricians in the area. They hope to make it a national program over the next few years, and I hope they succeed. A cool idea, and a good cause.
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