This week on the blog, we're featuring one of the first content partners to offer content on the Social Cascade platform - Reach Out & Read of the Carolinas.
Learn more about the organization and its mission through our Q&A with the organization's Regional Director, Callee Boulware.
Tell us more about Reach Out & Read. Who does it support and serve?
Reach Out and Read gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. We support medical providers with training and resources to provide all children with a strong foundation cognitively, socially, physically, and emotionally, giving them the best possible start to life, leveling the playing field for all children, and building strong, resilient families. Creating these powerful everyday moments builds strong brains, bodies, and relationships. We are a regional chapter of a National organization. The ROR Regional Office we represent supports our work in NC, SC, VA, and the Greater D.C. area. We have a staff of 20 supporting quality implementation and scale across the geographic footprint.
How was Reach Out & Read started?
ROR has been around for over 30 years and was born out of the lived experiences of our founders - pediatricians practicing in Boston, MA.
What is the mission of your organization?
Starting at birth, providers enter the exam room with a new, developmentally and culturally-appropriate children's book and hand the book to the child. They use the book to assess the child's developmental progress, assess the parent-child relationship, model age-appropriate interactive read-aloud techniques, and discuss upcoming developmental milestones. The provider then gives the book to the child to take home and keep.
During the visit, the provider educates parents and caregivers on the importance of reading aloud; they learn that reading aloud is the most important action they can take to help their child's healthy cognitive, social, and emotional development and start school-ready to learn. These everyday moments are the foundation of strong relationships together.
Because we embed our program in the preexisting medical system, our model is powerful, cost-effective, and scalable. When pediatric providers deliver our model with high fidelity, children and families can realize the powerful outcomes shown in our evidence base.
Reach Out and Read is building towards a day when the ROR intervention is a comprehensively integrated part of a high-performing medical home. As a tier-one public health intervention, the ROR model is a critical tool to support both clinicians and families during the unique touchpoint of primary care visits. Children and their adult caregivers are supported early and often at these visits in the early years of life. At these touchpoints, the ROR intervention is a critical tool for clinicians and a resource for families to strengthen healthy routines and relationships. By utilizing this public health approach to early relational health in their work, clinicians improve the care of children across the lifespan and refocus on what really matters: healthy, positive child development. Studies show that social drivers, including safe and secure nurturing relationships, substantially impact health, accounting for 80% of an individual's overall health. Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based approach designed to address this critical component of health by supporting social drivers. As a proven model, ROR should be widely implemented as a standard best practice of primary care for children.
Research shows that lifelong health is connected to and positively correlated with developing literacy skills. We also know that the development of literacy skills relies on emotional connections, interactive exchanges, and positive childhood experiences. Reach Out and Read supports the development of literacy skills through discussion of age-appropriate literacy milestones and the important underlying emotional connections by fostering crucial moments together. ROR is a preventative health intervention that supports overall healthy development.
What is the potential audience you'd like to reach?
Reach Out and Read seeks to serve all children and families, starting with those growing up in poverty.
How does social media factor into the success of those you provide services to?
ROR utilized social media as an organization but largely for communication with donors and partners. Our clinics sometimes have a social media presence as well.
How does working with Social Cascade assist the Center's goals?
Partnership with Social Cascade provides a way to connect with families from the trusted voice of the clinician in between the well visits, extending the power of that relationship and allowing clinicians to support families.
How can someone learn more about the Center?