Central Florida pediatricians prescribing books during wellness exams

Children who start reading earlier do better in school

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Doctors are prescribing some patients in Central Florida books during their annual wellness exams.

It’s not a bookstore or a library, but pediatricians have gathered a variety of books to give to patients at the end of their checkups.

"What we've found as pediatricians, that parents don't realize how early on they can start reading to their children," Dr. Genevieve McKinley said.

McKinley is a pediatrician with Advent Health who helped connect the office with a national program called Reach Out and Read that promotes pediatric literacy.

"We've noticed a large trend of children doing very well in school if they have an early introduction into pediatric literacy,” McKinley said.

Patients ages 6 months to 5 years are offered a book from the shelf at the doctors office. McKinley said the doctors work with parents using a developmental milestone chart to help track their progress in the program.

"And we've found some very successful results, actually 100 percent success that our parents are way more willing to read to children as a result of our Reach Out and Read,” McKinley said.

According to the program, parents can start reading to their babies as soon as they arrive home from the hospital. As children grow they will begin to recognize books using eye contact, pointing to pictures and orienting books right side up.

Bobby Olszewski’s daughter Reagan has been picking out books with McKinley for a few years.

“I think in today’s digital culture you have so much focused on screen time rather than, you know, focused on what’s being done for learning,” Olszewski said.

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