Monday, October 03, 2016

Between the Lines: Kids and Books

by Zinta Aistars

for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate

Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Dr. Robert Needlman

Literacy volunteer with a student at Belle Haven Elementary School in Menlo Park, California, in 2015

Early childhood expert Robert Needlman is a leading pediatrician, professor, and author. He's also the co-founder of Reach Out and Read, a literacy program that helps millions of children grow up loving books. And Needlman is a widely-sought speaker on early learning, literacy, and developmental-behavioral pediatrics.

“Overall, the United States doesn’t do as well as it should,” Needlman says. “The richest and most powerful country around, and we’re not even near the top of the list in terms of literacy.”
Needlman developed the Reach Out and Read program in 1989. It's designed to play a part in regular pediatric care. He works with parents to teach them storytelling skills, and with children to give them foundational language skills. Needlman says learning to read and enjoy books also gives kids living in poverty a better chance at success in school, and improves behavior by giving them the ability to express their thoughts and feelings in more constructive ways.
“It often doesn’t take much,” he says. “Just a little encouragement, a little empowerment, one or two picture books the kids can take home from the doctor’s office, and the parents and kids are off and running, doing wonderful reading aloud. And that’s because it’s ..."

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