Supporting families is a critical step to achieving the region’s targets for school readiness and 3rd grade reading. Across the region, efforts are expanding to support parents to be their children’s first and best teachers.
Reach Out and Read is a national, evidence-based program that uses the medical system to help prepare young children to succeed in school. Doctors participating in the program prescribe books during “well-child” check-ups and encourage families to read together. In the last few years, Reach Out and Read Washington State has expanded in the Road Map Project region to 33 medical clinics serving an estimated 24,312 children. In 2014, there were 48,624 well-child check-ups that included conversations with parents about the importance of reading and provided a book to the family. That’s more than 21,000 more check-ups than in 2010. This growth demonstrates the power of leveraging the parent-doctor relationship to support families at a large scale.
The Parent-Child Home Program is another national, evidence-based effort that has expanded in the region. The intensive program supports vulnerable families with twice-weekly home visits from staff members who share their language and cultural backgrounds. In 92 visits over two years, staff members help parents develop skills and confidence in supporting their children’s education by modeling parent-child activities that build language, math, physical and social skills using developmentally appropriate books and toys left as gifts. In the Road Map Project region, the number of families served has grown from 160 in 2010 to 818 in 2014. The program’s success can be attributed to a network of community-based organizations coordinated by United Way of King County.