Congressman Jim McGovern

Representing the 2nd District of Massachussetts
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Feb 3, 2015
Press Release
Legislation promotes early literacy

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02) today introduced in the House of Representatives the “Prescribe a Book Act” (HR 523).

The bill seeks to build upon the successful “Reach Out and Read” (ROR) program by codifying an early literacy competitive grant program.  This approach to promoting early language and literacy development has enlisted pediatricians and other health care providers to encourage parents to read aloud to their children, sending them home from each doctor visit with a “prescription” to read together.  Reach Out and Read operates through a network of 20,000 medical providers at 5,000 hospitals, health centers, and clinics.  They serve 4 million children across all 50 states.

The bill introduced today would authorize a five-year federal grant program based upon the Reach Out and Read model.  Rep. McGovern has long been a strong supporter of funding for Reach Out and Read.   

“Over the last several years we have seen just how powerful the Reach Out and Read program can be,” Rep. McGovern said.  “The Prescribe a Book Act represents an attempt to strengthen and enhance the gains we have made.  Research clearly demonstrates that early exposure to reading goes a long way toward preparing children for school.  And we know that families value and trust their pediatricians.”

Katherine Clark (MA-05), a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, has signed onto the bill as an original cosponsor.