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Amanda Reynado, MPAS, PA-C

Each year, one-third of all children entering kindergarten lack the basic skills needed to learn to read. By fourth grade, most of these children who were initially behind in reading will not catch up with their peers. Juvenile delinquency, absenteeism, polysubstance abuse, and school failure have all been shown to have an association with poor reading skills in childhood.

In light of these staggering statistics, this year Reach Out and Read was selected as Texas Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA) President’s Project. TAPA President Lauren Dobbs PA-C chose Reach Out and Read because it is a national, non-profit organization that trains medical providers to counsel parents during well-child visits on the importance of reading aloud to their children. Reach Out and Read also provides children’s books to participating pediatric clinics to be given out every six months for the child’s first five years of life.

During this year’s National Physician Assistant (PA) Week, October 6th through 12th, the seven Physician Assistant education programs in Texas competed to see which program could collect the most books (per student) for Reach Out and Read. Students and faculty set up donation bins located all around campuses, advertised the program, and volunteered invaluable time for the cause. After PA week came to a close, all books were donated to local pediatric clinics that participate in the Reach Out and Read program. Congratulations to University of Texas Southwestern for donating the most books per student, with an overwhelming 925 books! All of the programs did a great job, and TAPA is proud of our students.

For more information on Reach Out and Read please visit www.reachoutandread.org

President’s Message (part) - Lauren Dobbs, PA-C

Two initiatives began at the fall conference: the presidential philanthropic project, Reach Out and Read, and the Texas Physician Assistant Foundation student scholarships fund.

Reach Out and Read is a non-profit national organization that promotes early literacy skills in the clinical setting focusing on children 6 months to 5 years old. Reach Out and Read partners with medical providers to provide literacy education to parents, promote reading in the home, and provide a new book to patients during well child checks. The parents are advised to read everyday with their children and provided examples of literacy milestones for patients at specific ages. The program has had multiple research studies completed to ensure the validity of the program. Those studies show that children who have been introduced to the Reach Out and Read program are more likely to have the literacy skills necessary to start school and are more likely to have grade level reading skills. Parents who participate in the program are more likely to read to their children at home. I chose this program as one of TAPA’s presidential philanthropic projects because a small item such as a book can make a big difference with our patients or our fellow PA’s patients. As we participate this year, book drives will be held at every conference and TAPA’s student representatives are hosting book drives at their PA programs. Donations of new or gentle used books are greatly appreciated. At the fall, Corpus Christi conference we collected 240 books for an area Corpus Christi clinic. You can find out more about Reach Out and Read at www.reachoutandread.org.



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