Reach Out and Read gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.
The Reach Out and Read evidence-based program builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning in infancy. As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Reach Out and Read incorporates early literacy into pediatric practice, equipping parents with tools and knowledge to ensure that their children are prepared to learn when they start school.
Reach Out and Read serves 4.5 million children and their families annually. Reach Out and Read families read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills. During the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests. These early foundational language skills help start children on a path of success when they enter school.
Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read's evidence-based, three-part model into regular pediatric checkups:
- Trained doctors and nurses speak with parents about the importance of reading aloud, starting in infancy.
- At each regular checkup from 6 months through 5 years of age, the child receives a new book to take home.
- Many Reach Out and Read program sites create literacy-rich environments that include gently-used books for waiting room use and/or volunteer readers to model for parents the techniques of reading aloud to young children.
As a result of this three-part intervention at the doctor's office, parents become more engaged and read to their children more often at home. The time spent reading translates into quantifiable gains: Our evidence base of 16 peer-reviewed research studies shows that during the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests. These early foundational language skills help propel children on a path of success when they enter school.