Trenton – In an effort to promote early literacy, the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz which would direct the Department of Health to encourage healthcare facilities and licensed healthcare professionals to implement a “Reach Out and Read Program.”
“Early literacy skills are crucial to the healthy development of children’s language, social, and emotional skills,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Using the Reach Out and Read Program in pediatric primary care practice has shown to help stimulate optimal patterns of brain development, strengthen parent-child relationships, and build a child’s early language and literacy skills. It is critical we continue to take a holistic approach to early childhood development.”
The bill, S-1009, would require the Department of Health to encourage health care entities to implement a “Reach Out and Read Program.” The program promotes early literacy by providing new parents with free books and resources as part of a well-child visit.
Under the bill, the Department of Health would assist licensed health care professionals and facilities by providing information online regarding the national Reach Out and Read program, and offering an online application to become a Reach Out and Read program site.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 7-0.