The Florida Department of Health knows that the ability to read, write, and understand numbers is a basic component to maintaining good health and eliminating health disparities.  As a result, the public is invited to participate in the Reach Out and Read Program which promotes early childhood literacy on Tuesday, January 29, at the Umatilla Health Center located at 249 Collins Street, Umatilla, FL  32784.  This fun event is free to the public and will be held from 10 am to 12 pm. Activities include story time, activity stations, free children books, and early childhood literacy resources.

The Reach Out and Read Program is designated to promote early literacy, reading and language development skills in young children.  During well-child and immunization visits at the Florida Department of Health in Lake County, children between the age of 6 months to 5 years and their parents are provided information by trained doctors and nurses about the importance of reading aloud, singing and engaging in conversation with their young child. The child is given a new developmentally age-appropriate book to the take home.

“The Reach Out and Read Program has given our agency the opportunity to promote the importance of early reading and its impacts on a child lifelong healthy development and growth,” said Aaron Kissler, Health Officer with the Florida Department of Health in Lake County.

This program is significant to our community because reading aloud during early childhood is the single most important activity that builds the skills needed to start reading and learning.  More importantly, parent-child interactions in these early years support healthy brain development that forms the foundation for success later at school and in life.

Florida Department of Health, Reach Out and Read sites:

Umatilla Health Center, 249 E. Collins Street, Umatilla, FL  32784

Leesburg Health Center, 2113 Griffin Road, Leesburg, FL  34748

Clermont Health Center, 875 Oakley Seaver Drive, Clermont, FL  34711

To learn more about early childhood literacy, visit Florida Health.

More information about the Reach Out and Read Program can be found at or by contacting Lillian Rodriguez at (352) 483-7983.


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