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MCF Donors Step Up to Fund Reach Out and Read

Exposure to books and reading aloud are essential components in early brain development, preparing young children for success in life.

More than 90 percent of children under the age of six attend routine pediatric visits at least once a year–precious time with a trusted messenger. What if this visit was combined with a discussion about healthy brain development, a book to take home, and a prescription from the doctor to read aloud with your child?

This is the essence of Reach Out and Read, a national program being funded over the next three years here in Manatee County with generous donor support from Manatee Community Foundation and United Way of Manatee County in partnership with the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

According to Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, who recently visited MCF to talk about the program, it’s a powerful win-win for everyone. Using the book as a tool, handed directly to the child, pediatricians can quickly assess the child’s developmental progress and work with the parents to model the best ways to look at books to build the young brain.

Results have shown that participating parents are two and a half times more likely to read to their children and twice as likely to read to their children more than three times per week. To learn more about how you can invest in Reach Out and Read here in Manatee County, contact MCF executive director Susie Bowie at