Reach Out and Read Event
May 14, 2001
Remarks of Laura Bush at Reach Out and Read Event
Thank you very much.
Im thrilled to be at the University of Illinois Chicago Medical Center to talk about the
Reach Out and Read program.
Dr. Zuckerman, its good to see you again.
Thank you Cecilia for telling your story...and for reminding us how important reading is to
your sister and to all children.
I also want to congratulate the Medical Center for the work youre doing here through Reach
Out and Read. Your success is worth highlighting, and I applaud your dedication to the good
health and the bright future of Chicagos children.
Cecilia and her sister and this program all show that reading together has
Children who are read to learn two things: First, that reading is worthwhile, and second,
that they are worthwhile. The most important result of reading together, though, is that it
builds a strong foundation for reading and learning later in life.
With that in mind, I recently launched an initiative called Ready to Read, Ready to Learn.
Part of that initiative includes working with programs such as Reach Out and Read.
Reach Out and Read is a great way for doctors to help families and parents understand how
important it is to read to their babies.
Doctors tell young parents that, just as the human touch fosters physical and emotional
growth in babies, reading to babies also benefits a babys brain and emotional development.
The effort is a success in part because parents trust and respect their pediatricians.
It is also a success because doctors have a chance to identify reading problems early, when
they are easier to remedy.
One example comes from a Texas pediatricians experience. She gave her very first
prescription for reading to a mother who brought in her asthmatic son. She outlined the
prescription for reading and started to show the mother how to hold her baby and the book
After a few minutes, the babys mother finally leaned over and whispered, "I cant read".
The doctor referred the mother to a local literacy provider that partners with Reach Out
and Read so she could learn how to read to her child and read the labels on her childs
What an opportunity to improve a mothers life and break a cycle that would limit her
childs chances for success!
Im proud to support to Reach Out and Reads further development throughout the United
I consider it a great opportunity to continue doing what I love to help others
experience the joy and benefits of reading with children, and to make sure that more
children have the chance to succeed in school and in life.
I want to thank the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center for making sure
children grow up healthy and ready to read and succeed in life.
So, I encourage the people of Chicago and all Americans to support this worthwhile
program. Reach Out and Read could use funds for books to give to children, and they
always need volunteers to read in the waiting rooms.
Thank you for supporting Reach Out and Read. I believe in this program, and I am thrilled
that you do, too.