Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of “Reach out and Read” intervention in increasing parents’ frequency of reading to their children in Arabic in an outpatient setting at AUBMC.
Methods: This randomized controlled study intervention with a qualitative component is planned to be implemented at the AUBMC pediatric private clinic and out-patient department (OPD) over a 3-year period. Parents of children aged four to six months will be recruited and randomized at the time of their routine visit to the pediatric clinic. The intervention consists of adding an adapted “Reach Out and Read” program during the routine primary care visits. Age appropriate Arabic books will be distributed to 103 parents of the study whose children are below the age of one year during their first 3 visits at 3 month-intervals (6, 9 and 12 months); the experimental group parents will also receive written information on reading strategies for children and a video demonstration about the importance of reading at an early age. The control group consists of 103 parents who will receive routine advice on child development including reading. Both groups will receive information on child nutrition and safety. A questionnaire will be distributed to parents in addition to focus group discussions held at the conclusion of the second and last visits with three months intervals. The two focus group discussions will be held by an expert on reading for children. The primary outcome of the study is the proportion of parents who read Arabic to their children by the age of 15months. Secondary outcomes are 1) frequency of parental reading in Arabic at each age group (9, 12 and 15 months), then at 2 and 3 years, 2) children’s words’ acquisition and 3) early development measured using validated questionnaires at 2 and 3 years .