Why We Work


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Research findings show that Reach Out and Read works. In fact, what distinguishes Reach Out and Read from other literacy interventions is that it is evidence-based. Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten better prepared with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills.

Most American Parents Are Not Reading to Their Children Daily
  • Fewer than half (48 percent) of young children in the United States are read to daily. Russ S, Perez V, Garro N, Klass P, Kuo AA, Gershun M, Halfon N, Zuckerman, B. Reading Across the Nation: A Chartbook (2007): Reach Out and Read National Center, Boston, MA.
  • In virtually every state, minority and low-income children are less likely to be read to every day than their non-minority and higher income peers. Russ S, Perez V, Garro N, Klass P, Kuo AA, Gershun M, Halfon N, Zuckerman, B. Reading Across the Nation: A Chartbook (2007): Reach Out and Read National Center, Boston, MA.
  • By age 3, children from lower-income families have heard roughly 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers.  Hart, B. Risley, T. Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children (1995), Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
  • Proficiency in reading by the end of third grade is a crucial marker in a child’s education development. A stunning 66 percent of fourth graders in public school were reading below proficient levels in 2013. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013 Kids Count Data Book, State Trends in Child Well-Being.
Why Reach Out and Read Is an Effective Intervention
  • A trusted messenger: Parents trust and value the advice they receive from their child’s medical provider. Reach Out and Read is unique in partnering with the child’s first medical provider, in the special setting of the pediatric health examination to promote a child’s literacy.
  • Broad scope and reach: Participating medical providers offer the Reach Out and Read intervention to all children at each well-child visit from 6 months through 5 years of age. Most children see their pediatrician at least 10 times during this period.
  • Hope for educational success: Reach Out and Read explicitly ties reading aloud to later school success; this strategy supports the aspiration that parents have for their children.
  • An army of volunteers: The Reach Out and Read intervention is delivered by a team of volunteer doctors, nurses, medical staff, and caring adults. Because all Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses volunteer the time they spend on early literacy, the intervention is extremely cost effective.
  • Stretching every dollar: Deep discounts from publishers, as well as an innovative bulk-purchasing program, enable Reach Out and Read to buy more than twice as many books as it could at standard retail pricing. These prices permit us to serve more children at a lower program cost, and purchase the highest-quality book titles in 14 languages.

Read the Policy Case for Reach Out and Read

Read the Complete Reach Out and Read Research Summary

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