Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that
gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating
books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud
The best opportunity to influence a child's future is in the
first five years, a critical window of rapid brain development that
does not occur at any other time. Children who hear fewer words
during early childhood start school developmentally behind their
peers and may never catch up.
When families read aloud to their young children, they can give
them a better start to life. With unparalleled access to families
with young children, Reach Out and Read medical providers give
books to children at more than 10 well-child visits from infancy
until they start school. More importantly, they encourage families
to read aloud and engage with their infants, toddlers and
preschoolers every day.
The effectiveness of the Reach Out and Read model is recognized
by the American Academy of Pediatrics in a policy statement that
recommends early literacy promotion as an essential component of
pediatric care. Our program is both cost-effective, and
evidence-based: research shows that our program results in more
frequent reading at home, accelerated vocabulary and critical brain
We value the commitment of our many donors, who have partnered
with us to expand our reach. We are now a national organization,
currently serving 4.7 million children and their families in the
U.S., half of whom are from low-income families.
By giving young children a foundation for success, Reach
Out and Read is combatting the effects of income
Reach Out and Read was founded in 1989 with its first program at
Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center). By 2001, dramatic
growth brought the Reach Out and Read model to all 50 states, with
almost 1,500 sites distributing 1.6 million books per year.
Today, Reach Out and Read partners with more than 6,200 program
sites and distributes over 7 million books per year. The program
currently serves one in four children living in poverty in this
country, and continues to grow each year with the vision that one
day the Reach Out and Read model will be a part of every young
View a history of Reach Out and Read (PDF).