Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fixing healthcare in America begins with growing good readers : : Every Child Achieves Act

David Griffith,
ASCD Public Policy
April 20, 2015
Fixing healthcare in America begins with growing good readers
The Hill: 7.09.2015 by David J. Bailey, MD, MBA

Reading is an essential building block of learning — but it may come as a surprise to many that reading proficiency is one of the strongest predictors of overall health through adulthood. Much of the conversation about literacy is focused on the economic impact of decreased worker productivity and lost income. In doctor’s offices and health systems across our country, we see first-hand the effect of reading challenges on our patients and its lifetime impact on health outcomes.  The relationship of literacy to health outcomes and expenditures is real, with a conservative annual estimated price tag of more than $106 billion.

In the United States today, thirty to forty percent of children are at risk for reading failure before they reach kindergarten. As a physician and the CEO of a children’s health system, I am encouraged by the bipartisan support for addressing reading failure for early learners contained within S.1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.

This pivotal legislation includes several important provisions for quality early childhood education that are the foundation of improving reading readiness, providing health education, and ensuring our children have a strong and healthy start in life. These programs are highly cost effective with an average return on investment for every dollar spent of seven to ten dollars in averted costs related to special education, grade retention, health care, welfare, and crime. Changing the cost equation in our healthcare system over the long-term begins with our children and starts at infancy.

Good readers have confidence that they are smart and are motivated to do their best each day in school, building a foundation for life-long self-esteem and productivity. Struggling readers often have bright minds that just learn differently, but they lose their confidence without proper support. Our experience with reading readiness through our Nemours BrightStart! program shows that when the needed supports are available starting in pre-kindergarten, an investment of as little as 12 hours can help struggling readers catch up with their peers.  READ MORE !

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