AUSTIN, Texas -- When children go in for a checkup, pediatricians typically examine their ears, eyes, and heart.

  • Texas doctors furnishing books to families
  • In the interest of cognitive development
  • Reading proficiency an indicator of future success 

Doctors are also interested in brain development, and that’s why increasingly they’re prescribing books.

At CommUnityCare clinic in Austin, talking about the importance of reading is part of what’s called the Well-Child Visit. Families take home a book thanks in part to the efforts of BookSpring.

Pediatricians believe they’re well-positioned to promote literacy while assessing a child’s physical health.

“The other very important thing that we are doing is monitoring child development. And that includes how their language is progressing and includes how their social emotional connections are progressing,” pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Duc said.

“It’s important because of their speech therapy, and also because I get to interact with them,” Austin grandmother Martha Guajardo said.

In fact, doctors encourage parents to read aloud to their children. The benefits can be seen right away.

“Most of them speak Spanish, and they don’t know about libraries, so they don’t have time to go. I think most of them [parents] work, so it’s hard for them to get their hands on a book. So it’s a very good idea for them to be giving the books to the parent,” Austin mother Maricela Barrueta said.

Research shows reading proficiency by the third grade is a predictor of high school graduation and future success.