Prescribing Books: Beale Pediatricians Promote Child Literacy

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Frederick A. Brown
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing

Young Emerson Hales sits on her moms’ lap as her eyes look up and down the colorful pictures of the book she just received. As Nicole Hales reads to her daughter, Emerson takes a quick break from the story to look up at her mom and smile.

The magic of reading and storytelling is a typical setting at the Beale pediatric’ s clinic after Beale pediatricians partnered with the Reach Out and Read program. Reach Out and Read provides age-appropriate books to a national network of clinicians extending to Beale’s pediatrics clinic.

The goal is to encourage the importance of reading from a young age, especially as a family. The effects are clear when seeing children like Emerson bond with her mom as they read together.

Maj. Scott Corrigan and Capt. Michael Migita, pediatricians with the 9th Healthcare Operations Squadron, continue the charge to incorporate reading into clinical visits. The pediatrics clinic aerospace medical service technicians Airman 1st Class Madelyn Wall and Airman Nicholas Beintker, give the donated books to parents to read to their children, inspiring a passion that will grow as the children grow.

“Part of a pediatrician’s job is to ensure development is progressing normally and language is a key part of development,” said Corrigan. “We always encourage parents to read and talk with their babies even in infancy and Reach Out and Read provides us an avenue to provide books for reading as well as for families who may not always have the means to buy new books.”

Beale’s involvement with Reach Out and Read began under the previous pediatrician, Lt. Col Eldon Palmer. Like many pediatricians in the military, he saw the benefit Reach Out and Read could bring to his young patients.

The medical technicians that assist the doctors take great pride in the opportunity to be involved with Reach Out and Read. They are often the ones to deliver the books right to the parents.

“It’s so special watching the children grow as they come to each appointment,” said Wall. “My favorite part of being involved with Reach Out and Read is getting to be part of that growth as we provide books at every developmental level.”

The first few years of a child’s life can have a lasting impact. According to Reach Out and Read, greater exposure to reading has significant effects on a child’s development, providing cognitive, emotional, and social benefits.

Through programs like Reach Out and Read, the care of Dr. Corrigan and Dr. Migita, and of course their loving parents, Beale’s military children are on their way to realizing their full potential. In the hands of our next generation, the future looks bright.