Weatherford Democrat

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December 27, 2012

Doctor prescribes reading to young patients

(Continued)

They recommend starting when a child is 6 months old, she said.

They also talk about how to do it with children of different ages.

Doctors will demonstrate to parents how to read to a 6-month-old, a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old, Strickland said.

“You don’t want it to be a chore,” Strickland said. “You want it to be fun and pleasurable.”

While children are naturally drawn to books, it’s OK that children walk away when they get bored, Strickland said.

The books they offer to children are also age-appropriate, according to Strickland.

For infants, they offer a soft, squishy, vinyl book that they can chew and slobber on, Strickland said.

Depending on the child’s reading level, they also give away books for pre-readers and preschool and kindergarten-age children.

She also has magazines or books on hand for older children, according to Strickland.

Reading aloud to children at a young age has many benefits, Strickland said.

It can help children bond with their guardian, teach them the story and ideas, and help children practice social interaction and social skills such as learning to be quiet and listen, Strickland said.

Reading aloud at a young age also helps children learn to read, Strickland said, adding that some 2-year-olds know some words by sight.

Though the national program is targeting younger children, Strickland said she has used her own money to purchase books for older readers, as well.

Perhaps the most fun part of program is the happy surprise for the children and parents.

“There’s just so much joy and happiness” when kids learn they can take the book home, Strickland said.

Another part of the program is keeping age appropriate books in the lobby.

“By end of day, there’s books scattered everywhere,” Strickland said of the items on her five-shelf bookcase.

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