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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Reach Out and Read Program

Florida Department of Health in Lake County

The Florida Department of Health knows that the ability to read, write, and understand numbers is a basic component to maintaining good health and eliminating health disparities. 

A parent can help nurture their child's brain development with healthy foods, a safe place to live and lots of love and attention. This attention may be shared with a child by reading books, singing songs, and telling stories.

Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.

Reach Out and Read is a program that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms.  During well-child and immunization visits at the Florida Department of Health in Lake County, children between the age of 6 months to 5 years and their parents, are provided information by trained doctors and nurses about the importance of reading aloud, singing and engaging in conversation with their young child. The child is given a new developmentally age appropriate book to take home.  Parents may receive an additional book at no charge by completing the online survey.

Research shows that in families served by Reach Out and Read:

  • Parents are 2.5X more likely to read to their children.
  • Parents are 2.5X more likely to read to their children more than three times a week.
  • Families are 2.5X more likely to enjoy reading together or have books in the home.
  • Children’s language development is improved by 3-6 months.
  • Children’s language ability improves with increased exposure to Reach Out and Read.

Studies indicate that parent-child interactions during the early years support healthy brain development that forms the foundation for success later at school and in life.

Local libraries are a great resource for families to engage in reading, participate in fun activities and check out books at no cost. To locate a local library near you, please visit Florida Public Libraries.

Imagination Library is a program that mails new, age appropriate books to homes in an effort to ensure that every child has books, regardless of their family’s income.

The Institute for Healthcare Advancement and local libraries have additional information specific to health and adult literacy. 

To learn more about early childhood literacy, please visit: Florida Health.