headshot of Senator Flexer (lo-res)

News From

State Senator

Mae Flexer

Deputy President Pro Tempore
& Federal Relations Liaison

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Contact: Kerensa Konesni

January 29, 2016

Flexer Reads Aloud to Young Children in Support of ‘Reach Out and Read’

MANSFIELD—Medical providers at Mansfield Pediatrics are sending families home from checkups with free books and a very important prescription—read aloud to your children every day.

Today, state Senator Mae Flexer (D-Killingly) visited the medical office to practice what doctors preach by reading to a group of young patients.

“Pediatricians providing books to young children and their families is a critical investment in early learning,” said Sen. Flexer. “We’re putting hundreds of kids on the path to success.”

Mansfield Pediatrics participates in “Reach Out and Read,” a national program that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.

Medical providers incorporate Reach Out and Read’s evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups, by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children.

“Reach Out and Read is a wonderful program that helps us give the gift of books to young children, and provides us with a wonderful opportunity to enrich our time with our patients,” said Dr. Anne Willenborg of Mansfield Pediatrics.

Through Reach Out and Read, each child starts kindergarten with a home library of up to 10 books. Reach Out and Read’s model includes providing a new, age-appropriate book for each child to take home at every checkup from age 6 months through 5 years. Along with the free book for every child, medical providers offer guidance to parents about the importance of reading aloud with their children every day starting at the newborn visit. The organization focuses on children growing up in low-income families as research shows they are at the highest risk for reading failure.

“Research shows that if you intervene in the first five years of life and partner with parents, you can dramatically improve the early literacy skills of a child, putting them on the track for success in school and in life,” said Reach Out and Read Connecticut Executive Director Christine Garber. “Childhood development experts tell us that the single most important activity that parents can do to prepare their children to succeed in school is to read aloud to them every day. “

Mansfield Pediatrics is one of 72 clinical locations in Connecticut that offer Reach Out and Read, serving 1,000 children annually and distributing over 2,000 new books. Reach Out and Read’s team of over 300 medical providers distribute over 70,000 new books each year to nearly 40,000 children and families in Connecticut. Nationally, the organization distributes 6.5 million books to nearly 4.5 million children and their families annually, including 1 in 5 low-income families in the U.S.



Chair: Aging; Veterans’ Affairs

Vice-Chair: Environment; Higher Education & Employment Advancement

Member: Appropriations; Judiciary

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Press Aide

Kerensa Konesni

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Legislative Office Building
Room 1800
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

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