As part of an initiative funded in four states by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, Wheatfield Pediatrics has been awarded a three-year grant to promote early literacy and school readiness for its youngest patients.
Reach Out and Read prepares children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.
Kenan was a gifted scientist, executive and philanthropist with business roots in Niagara County. The Kenan Charitable Trust supports educational institutions and programs across the United States, with particular emphasis in New York, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Florida, and also supports organizations serving the basic needs of under-resourced children and their families in these regions.
With the award of this grant, Wheatfield Pediatrics is the newest, and now largest, pediatric practice in Niagara County to incorporate early literacy promotion into its standard care of children and families. During regular pediatric check-ups from infancy through pre-school years, Wheatfield Pediatrics' doctors and physician assistants will now give new, developmentally-appropriate books to children, and advise parents about the importance of reading aloud. As a result of this proven program, parents learn new ways to stimulate their children's literacy development, have more books in the home, and read to their children more. Parents are supported as their children's first and most important teachers, and children grow up to be readers.
"Wheatfield Pediatrics is pleased to become a Reach Out and Read site," says Dr. Ann Marie Jobes. "As pediatricians, we are committed to the health of children today and in the future. We are in a unique position to not only provide children with state-of-the-art, quality medical care in a personal and caring environment, but also to prevent and identify risks for disease, disability and injury through regular health maintenance or 'wellness visits.' With this program, we will be able to further support families to have their children enter kindergarten ready to read, learn and succeed."
According to Sara DeVantier, practice administrator, "We at Wheatfield Pediatrics are grateful to the Kenan Foundation for their generous support, which will allow this practice to promote early literacy to the fullest," noting that the practice had a 93 percent book distribution rate to children ranging in ages 6 months to 5 years of age at their well visits for the month of June.
Dr. Douglas Schultz added, "parental education is a valuable part of a child's health. We know that the first five years of life offer a crucial window for learning, with rapid brain development that does not occur at any other time. "
Dr. Joseph Wittmann added, "We look forward to providing parents with books and advice about the importance of reading aloud to their children from the earliest of ages. We appreciate this opportunity to further support our patients' language and cognitive development, school readiness and lifelong success through implementing Reach Out and Read at Wheatfield Pediatrics."