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It's a New Day in Public Health.

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Contact the Child and Adolescent Health Program

The Florida Department of Health knows that the ability to read, write, and understand letters and numbers is a basic component to maintaining good health and eliminating health disparities. 


Did you know that during the first five years of a child's life, the brain grows and develops at a rapid rate? 

A parent can help nurture their child's brain development with healthy foods, a safe place to live and lots of love and attention. This attention may be shared with a child by reading books, singing songs, and telling stories. Research has shown that proper and continued nurturing can increase a child's IQ by 10 or more points.

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Reading Tips

Reading Tips for parents that will make reading to their child as easy as learning their “A,B,C's:”

  • A regular time to read, like bedtime.
  • Books that are fun and promote good health habits.
  • Change your voice to go with the story; use low and high tones. 
  • Delight in your child's participation; take turns reading pages or have your child turn as you read.
  • Encourage questions about the story. Who was your favorite character? Did you like the story? Why?
  • Foster a love for reading by reading yourself. Children often copy their parent's behavior.
  • Grant easy access to books by keeping children's books in your home. The local library is a great place to start.

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Guidelines for Choosing Children's Books

Interest. Books should be interesting to your child. Listen to your child as they're playing, having conversations, or asking questions, to learn what they like.

Expand. Find books that expand your child's outlook. Children readily add words they hear to their vocabulary...and the story, plus the illustrations, will help them understand the meaning behind the words.

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Promoting Literacy

Just Read, Florida! is a comprehensive and coordinated reading initiative run by the Florida Department of Education.

Reach Out and Read is a program that builds on the special relationship between doctors and the parents of young children to support children's language and literacy development. At well-child visits, from 6 months to 5 years, doctors and nurses provide information about the importance of reading aloud and give new, developmentally appropriate books to the children to take home. In the waiting room, volunteers read to children, modeling techniques for parents.

The Institute for Healthcare Advancement has information specific to health literacy.

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