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'Reach Out and Read' encouraged


Video of Kingston's visit.

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Congressman Jack Kingston visited Southcoast Pediatrics in Richmond Hill on Friday in order to endorse the national "Reach Out and Read" program. He playfully read a children’s book to them while interacting and stressing the importance of reading.

"We want to make sure kids realize that books are their friends, reading is fun, and a good book takes you to a different place," Kingston said. "Reading is a matter of household culture, so for Southcoast to take this step, it may be the first introduction to a lot of kids to the fun of reading."

Dr. William Webb said the Richmond Hill medical group has been involved with the reading program for five years now, distributing books to young children during check-ups in hopes of encouraging them to read at an early age which improves language development, a critical component of school readiness.

Southcoast is one of seven medical groups in Kingston’s congressional district that participate in Reach Out and Read, together providing books to more than 2,700 children annually. Reach Out and Read serves children at 57 locations across the state, reaching more than 58,000 infants, toddlers and preschoolers each year. Nationally, thousands of doctors this year will give 4.6 million new books. The program targets low income families.

Webb said they start distributing books to child patients of all ages and as early as six months old to stimulate their brain by looking at the pictures and also to encourage parents to read to their kids. "It will hopefully set the foundation for reading for years to come as they grow older in order to better in school and in life."

Webb said the Richmond Hill office was excited to have been chosen by Kingston for the visit. "I’ve seen him on TV and have written to him about a couple things, so I’m really excited about him coming here and about the exposure it’s going to give about what we’re doing here with the program," Webb said. "The more exposure this program gets could potentially lead to more funding toward it, so we’re glad to be able to do this."

Studies show that parents who get books and literacy counseling from their doctors and nurses are more likely to read to their young children, read to them more often, and provide more books in the home.

For more information on "Reach Out and Read", visit

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