Delta Dental of Ohio is teaming up with Reach Out and Read to launch a yearlong pilot project in the state that will promote good oral health and reading together for children ages 6 months through 5 years during routine well-child visits to the doctor.As part of the pilot, medical providers who participate in Reach Out and Read will integrate oral health information into their young patients’ routine visits. The program will impact approximately 7,000 Ohio children and their parents.
During checkups, each patient will receive a new, developmentally appropriate book, while their parents hear individually tailored guidance on how to use the book at home to both promote early literacy and establish good oral health habits. Parents will gain increased knowledge about how good brushing and reading habits are important for a child’s oral and overall health and well-being, as well as school success.
“The partnership between Reach Out and Read and Delta Dental will allow medical providers in Ohio to blend critical guidance of two very important routines in a young child’s day — oral health and reading aloud,” said Lori LeGendre, director for the local and state initiatives of Reach Out and Read and program logistics consultant for the Delta Dental collaboration. “Both are key factors in good school attendance and school success later in life.”
The oral health pilot project will take place at three host locations in Toledo, including UT Health Rocket Pediatrics.
Reach Out and Read of Northwest Ohio, coordinated by The University of Toledo Department of Pediatrics, is established in 22 medical offices in the region. The local program distributes more than 25,000 new books each year, and it seeks to partner with area programs and organizations to promote awareness of the importance of early literacy.
Reach Out and Read, a national evidence-based program focused on improving literacy, was founded in 1989. By 2001, dramatic growth brought the Reach Out and Read model to all 50 states. Today Reach Out and Read partners with more than 5,200 program sites and distributes 6.5 million books per year.