Early Childhood Reading, and Spellings

Issue Date: 
September 25, 2006


U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings read to young patients during a Sept. 14 visit to the UPMC St. Margaret Lawrenceville Family Health Center, spotlighting the importance of early reading to children. Among those who greeted Spellings was Jeannette South-Paul (pictured with Spellings at right), chair of the Pitt School of Medicine’s family medicine department.

The Lawrenceville facility is one of five UPMC Family Health Centers that participate in Reach Out and Read, a nationwide early childhood literacy program. Doctors and nurses at the five UPMC sites distribute more than 2,500 books each year to children during health checkups and advise parents about the importance of reading aloud to their children. Studies of childhood literacy show that parents who receive books and literacy counseling from their children’s doctors and nurses are more likely to read to their young children, leading to better language development.