A Legacy Gift Helps Reach Out and Read

A Legacy Gift Helps Reach Out and Read

Pattee Carrier recently made a gift to Bassett's Reach Out and Read Program through a legacy left in her late husband's will that will have a significant impact on the lives of area children. Reach Out and Read is a national early literacy program run through Bassett's pediatric department.

Mrs. Carrier chose to help this program because she knows that her husband would love it.

A retired petroleum distributor, Charles "Chuck " Carrier volunteered to teach remedial reading in Florida's Sarasota school district where the Carriers spent their winters. He loved working with children.

Mrs. Carrier said that "There was one little girl with red hair that I remember well. He asked her what her name was and she said, 'Annie,' and he said, 'I'm Chuck,' and she started giggling. When he asked her, all serious, 'Why are you laughing?' she said, 'Because my dog is named Chuck!' They were friends after that. She even brought him Girl Scout cookies.

"My husband enjoyed kids," Carrier said--and they had four boys of their own--"but he loved Bassett!" So she decided that supporting Reach Out and Read was exactly what he would have wanted her to do.

Through Reach Out and Read, Bassett's pediatricians are able to give new books to each child they see. Many children grow up in poverty here and live in households without books. Their parents may lack literacy skills, and some may not have been read to as children when they were growing up. Without help, these young people arrive at school unprepared to read.

Children who arrive at school unprepared to read are the most likely to get discouraged, become pregnant early, use illegal drugs, commit crimes, leave school, and remain stuck in poverty. Reach Out and Read was started to address this problem. It makes early literacy a part of pediatric primary care. During each visit to the doctor, pediatricians encourage parents to read aloud to their young children and give their young patients books to take home.

Bassett runs Reach Out and Read at each of its pediatric clinic locations. At every well-child visit, the pediatrician gives the child a developmentally and culturally appropriate new book to take home to keep. The pediatrician also provides extensive instruction and modeling to the parents.

There are nine well-child visits for children from ages six months to five years, which enables pediatricians to have nine extended encounters with parents and children. This also means that each child will begin school with at least nine new, highly-rated books at home. Bassett has been running the program for 18 years now. Many other health care networks nationwide also participate. Multiple studies done in the past twenty years conclude that the program makes an enormous difference in children's lives. It certainly helps them learn to read--but it also helps them to climb out of poverty.

The only cost of Reach Out and Read is the cost of the books that the pediatricians give to the children. Bassett distributes about 7,000 award-winning books to children each year. Early literacy has been shown to increase high school graduation rates, to help children cope with stress, and to provide a solid foundation for later success.

Reach Out and Read is an ongoing program throughout Bassett Healthcare Network. If you would like to help children in your community, a gift to Reach Out and Read is a great way to do it.