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Letter: United Way support helps Smart Start promote reading

For over two decades, Smart Start Rowan has served young children and their families, to ensure that children enter school healthy and ready for success. One key component of Smart Start Rowan’s work is promoting early literacy programs that develop a love of reading in young children and educate parents on the importance of reading to their children.

Through its partnership with the Rowan County United Way, Smart Start Rowan is able to provide Reach Out and Read, a nationwide evidence-based program with exceptional literacy outcomes, to over 70 percent of children birth-age 5 in Rowan County. At local medical practices and the Health Department, children receive a book and a “prescription to read” from a medical professional during each well child visit. This “prescription to read” includes advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud to their children.

The following success story by Dr. David Caron of Novant Health Granite Quarry Internal Medicine & Pediatrics is a wonderful illustration of the impact Reach Out and Read makes:

The Reach Out and Read program is vitally important to our community.  The tiny patients that we serve often times have never “owned” a book, so it’s genuinely our pleasure to present them their first prized piece of reading material.  Parents are grateful and some have been in tears as our direct pediatric patient base consist of all backgrounds, however many are in lower income households.  We are proud to do our part in encouraging reading at an early age in the home. 

The early literacy partnership between Smart Start Rowan and the United Way is vitally important. The early years are the time when a child’s brain architecture is formed, creating the foundation for kindergarten readiness and for future learning and success. With the next United Way campaign right around the corner, you can feel confident in your decision to join this partnership, as your contribution will definitely make a meaningful, lasting impact right here in our local community.

— Amy Brown

Salisbury

Brown is  executive director of Smart Start Rowan.

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