Read the Room – Using Place and Space to Facilitate Reading

10.31.2023 News

Leveraging technology, family reading and school readiness to improve healthy outcomes for children

Caption: Worldreader’s BookSmart app and the Raising a Reader organization are helping to virtually fill the shelves of little libraries in “Kinder Ready” pediatric clinics.

By Kristen Walter, Director of US Programs, Worldreader

Every clinic waiting room has one: the frazzled adult with several kids in tow, carrying an overstuffed bag filled with Kleenex, crayons, and cracker crumbs. Maybe you’ve even been that adult who hands the kids a screen in a last-ditch attempt to keep them from ransacking the stack of intake forms or emptying the hand sanitizer bottle on the rug. 

Don’t worry. Help is on the way. 

Worldreader has partnered with the Raising a Reader organization and several pediatric clinics in the Bay Area of California, leveraging technology to connect waiting families with high-quality books. This is accomplished with Worldreader’s BookSmart app, providing young readers ages 3 through 12 with free and instant access to hundreds of digital books in multiple languages.

The intent of the partnership goes far beyond simply providing families with a diversion. Raising a Reader’s Senior Vice President of Programs and Partnerships, Michelle Siosin Hyman, said her organization is founded with a belief in strengthening families. “We believe that early literacy is the cornerstone in equity for all,” she said. “We want reading to be in places like housing agencies, medical clinics and home visiting programs. We want families to have access to diverse books in all of the spaces and places where they are.” 

Dr. Reshma Thadani agrees. She is part of a number of pediatricians promoting “Kinder Ready” clinics that focus on school readiness, especially for families less connected to early childhood education programs. Kinder Ready clinics engage parents and guardians as their child’s first teacher, providing learning materials in friendly clinic environments and embedding a school readiness narrative into clinical guidance.

“When I learned about BookSmart, I thought, ‘This is really a perfect solution for us. This is a way that we can promote reading with people who are already on an electronic device.’” 

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