Reach Out and Read Connecticut and Massachusetts

Because every child deserves the chance to read and succeed.

Reach Out and Read - More Than Just Handing Out a Book

Literacy is the "single most significant factor" affecting a child's academic success, according to the National Commission on Reading. Children who enter kindergarten without the basic language skills required for reading--an alarming 34% of all kindergarteners--start school at a tremendous disadvantage. Studies show that over 88% of children who have difficulty reading at the end of first grade are still struggling at the end of fourth grade. Fourth grade is a benchmark year, because that is when children must transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn."  In Connecticut, 57% of our 4th graders, 81% of those living below the poverty threshold, fail to develop reading proficiency by the end of 4th grade.

Reach Out and Read gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.  We leverage two extraordinary forces to improve early literacy and educational outcomes:  the power of parents and the influence of pediatricians.  The Reach Out and Read model provides parents with personalized, age-appropriate advice about books and reading at every well-child visit from birth through 5 years, along with a new developmentally and culturally appropriate book starting at the 6 month visit. Books are used by the medical provider at the beginning of the visit during developmental surveillance, and as a vehicle to offer concrete guidance to parents. Armed with this guidance, parents make reading aloud a part of their daily routines.


A pediatrician like Connecticut Children's Medical Center's Dr. Catherine Wiley sees about 110 low-income children weekly for routine well-child exams.  In addition to having their physical development evaluated, those children also walk away with a prescription designed to boost their brain development and prepare them for school. That "prescription" is a book.

Dr. Wiley is one of nearly 400 medical providers across Connecticut who are "prescribing reading" as part of their partnership with Reach Out and Read. Designed to develop critical early literacy skills and a love of reading, Reach Out and Read reaches 40,000 children and their families in Connecticut through 72 clinical locations. 


The concept is incredibly simple. Take a child from a low-income family where books can be rare and parents often too stressed or lacking the knowledge to spend time on reading. When the pediatrician sees that child, she "prescribes" an appropriate book and guides the parents on reading with the child daily.  The results are amazing.

Because the book has been prescribed almost as if it were a medication, parents are far more likely to make reading aloud a part of their daily routine. As a result, young children in at-risk homes can build their literacy and oral language skills earlier and become better prepared for school - as they learn the joy of reading.  Today, some 21,000 medical providers across the country volunteer their time to deliver the program through 5,500 clinical locations in all 50 states reaching over 4.5 million children and families.


Reach Out and Read is far more than a book give-away program. It is a national leader in school readiness and unique among all other early literacy interventions. As the only early literacy nonprofit that works through pediatricians, we have unparalleled access to young children and their parents.  By using the existing healthcare structure, with doctors volunteering their time, our costs remain low at only $100 per child for the full 5 years of our intervention. 

Among the many anticipatory guidance items medical providers have on their checklist, Reach Out and Read has the best evidence base; 15 research studies, published in medical journals, show the efficacy of our work.   Our model is the only anticipatory guidance activity proven to promote child development and the only program promoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a model for literacy development by medical providers. When you participate in Reach Out and Read, you address a critical need with a successful model. Children served by Reach Out and Read are read to more often, have better expressive and receptive language skills and are better prepared for success in school.

For a complete list of program sites in the state of Connecticut, click here.

To learn more about the important work that we do across the state and nationally, watch our video (above) or here.



A HUGE THANK YOU to Buzz Media Company for donating their time and expertise to produce this video for us. It is fabulous! Thank you!

Contact Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read National Center
89 South St, Suite 201
Boston, MA 02111