Volunteer

Make a difference to children in your community.

Reach Out and Read's impact is magnified and enhanced by the work of thousands of volunteers nationwide. Reach Out and Read's dedicated volunteers can help support programs in their communities by donating books (both new and gently-used), improving literacy-rich waiting rooms, and reading aloud to children at select program sites.

Donate Books

Books are at the core of our program. While Reach Out and Read program sites strive to give out brand-new, doctor-recommended books in the exam room at all visits, not all sites have the funding needed to ensure that each child gets a book. Volunteers can help sites fundraise, enabling them to leverage the exceptional discounts provided by our literacy partners and not available elsewhere.

In addition, Reach Out and Read's literacy-rich waiting room model creates a need for gently-used books in both waiting rooms and exam rooms - for an older sibling, at a sick visit, or simply to help build a Reach Out and Read child's home library. Volunteers of all ages can host a new or gently-used book drive through their own personal networks:  community groups, schools, workplaces, or faith-based organizations.

Help Create a Literacy-Rich Waiting Room

Volunteers can help to improve the waiting room of a Reach Out and Read program site in their communities. Consider donating:

  • Gently-used books
  • New bookcases or child-sized furniture (benches, tables, chairs) to help create a reading corner
  • A story time rug
  • Children's or parenting magazines
  • Bulletin boards or other displays  

Art students or artists can create murals, artwork, or photographs with literary themes or characters (within the parameters of the individual Reach Out and Read program site).

Become a Volunteer Reader

Volunteer readers can provide a positive reading experience for children in waiting rooms, as well as modeling reading aloud for parents. Volunteer readers show parents just how much fun reading with children can be, and provide helpful tips for getting children excited about books. 

However, not all clinics and practices can accommodate volunteer readers, so please keep in mind that the need for volunteers varies according to the needs of each Reach Out and Read program site.  In addition, many program sites require background checks and volunteer orientations, and many have age limits for volunteers. Download our volunteer reader brochure for more information. 

How to Apply

Use our interactive map to find a Reach Out and Read program in your community. When you fill out the online form, your inquiry will be sent to the program site(s) you have identified. Due to the busy nature of many of our programs, and depending on their capacity to integrate volunteers into their program, it may take some time to hear back. 

Awards & Endorsements Recognition for Reach Out and Read's Impact Nationwide.
Endorsed By American Academy of Pediatrics
Award Winner 2013 David M. Rubenstein Prize
Endorsed by National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Literacy Partner American Academy of Family Physicians
Contact Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read National Center
56 Roland Street, Suite 100D
Boston, MA 02129-1243

Parent Resources

A Prescription to Read 20 Minutes Every Day.

Suggested Reading:


Title: Stone Soup
Author: Jon J. Muth
Reading To Your Four Year Old

Sharing classic tales or nursery rhymes with your child is a wonderful way to expand cultural literacy.  Think about how often a reference to classic children's stories such as "Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" is made in conversation, with the expectation that everyone knows the stories.

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