Reach Out and Read Program Site Aids Local Parent in Quest for Literacy

By amandaberlin on October 20, 2015 in Blog

When we heard that a site in our coalition had success beyond just inspiring children to read, but also inspiring a parent to learn to read, we knew we needed to learn more.

We reached out to Dr. Shira Bassly, a pediatrician at the Morris Heights Health Center, a Reach Out and Read program site in the Bronx, New York.

Dr. Bassly told us the story of a parent of a six-year-old patient of hers who was having a hard time filling out forms pursuant to her son’s care.

“Our health educator helped her fill out the forms,” Dr. Bassly explained, “and gave her information on literacy programs for adults in the neighborhood.”

Over time, the patient and his mother returned to the office and Dr. Bassly and her staff witnessed huge progress not only in the mother’s literacy skill but also in her economic mobility.

“She learned how to read and write,” Dr. Bassly reported, “She got her certificate to become a home health aid. She’s working and was able to move herself and her son out of an apartment they shared with a number of other family members.”

Another incentive for her to learn to read, according to Dr. Bassly, was to help her son, who is speech delayed, with some of his learning challenges.
“Having Reach Out and Read in the office,” Dr. Bassy said, “helps the conversation about literacy.”
“It helps me give a more comprehensive care for my patients. It’s not just their physical care. Their intellectual development is also part of pediatrics. In addition to ‘eating your fruits and vegetables’ you need to read and you need books. It’s a huge part of their development. And Reach Out and Read of Greater New York makes that possible.”
Dr. Bassly continued, “I just think it’s an amazing program. We love having it. And we do everything we can to ensure we have the funding to provide kids with as many books as we can.”

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