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download the process for starting a new Reach Out and Read program
To become an official Reach Out and Read program, there are a
few simple steps to complete: collect routine data, submit an
application, and determine how your books will be supplied. Once
approved, your providers must complete the online training course
on program delivery. There are two important program roles to
fill: Medical Consultant and Program
Medical Consultant: the pediatric
primary care MD, DO, NP, or PA who is most enthusiastic about Reach
Out and Read and wants to champion the cause due to a deep
appreciation for the critical first 2,000 days of a child's life.
While not a demanding or time-consuming role, he or she will
provide oversight of the clinical components of the program
- Ensure that Reach Out and Read best practices are implemented
throughout the pediatric or family practice department;
- Foster discussion of and create support for efficient systems
(book delivery to the exam room)
- Assure compliance with requisite online training by provider
- Share relevant information on early literacy and language
development that Reach Out and Read makes available from time to
- Act as the medical "face" of the program; connect with the
executive leadership of the health center, clinic, or practice.
Program Coordinator*: any interested
staff member familiar with the clinic, staff, and patient
population. This role supports the Medical Consultant and is
responsible for administrative aspects:
- Ordering the books;
- Tracking the number of books distributed;
- Completing the semi-annual Progress Reports;
- Ensuring a literacy-rich environment and coordinating volunteer
readers (if any).
Both roles are typically voluntary and take very little time
*A medical provider may fulfill both roles, particularly in
- Start an online application. After you provide basic
contact information, your program site will be issued a Site ID and
password and redirected to www.myror.org, where the application is
finished and submitted. During this time your site's status is
"Application in Process." (You may repeatedly log in and work on
the application over time.)
- Along with the application you must also submit a letter of
support stating your practice's commitment to the Reach Out and
Read program, signed by the departmental head, clinic medical
director or executive director. (Details on how to submit the
letter and application are provided in the application.) Once
this is received, your site's status is "Application
- Applications completed by the third Monday of each month are
reviewed by the Reach Out and Read Application Review Committee
during that week. You can expect to receive an email the
following week. Approved applications become "Approved Needs
Training." If your program site does not yet have the funding for a
year's worth of books (100% of your Annual Book Commitment), your
application will be placed on the waiting list.
- Once the medical providers at your practice have completed the
online training, and staff members have been oriented (more
information below), your site becomes "Active" and you may
start implementing Reach Out and Read at your practice.
- Contact information for the designated on-site
Medical Consultant and Program Coordinator, as well as all
pediatric and family practice providers seeing children ages birth
through five years. This information must be complete and
accurately reflect the TOTAL number of participating medical
- Accurate data on the annual total number of
well-child visits (age 6 months through age 5), as well as relevant
insurance and demographic information.
- A statement of commitment to the Reach Out and
Read model in the form of a Letter of
Support including plans for long-term
sustainability. Submit your Letter of Support by one of the
- Sufficient books (or funds to purchase books)
equal to no less than your program site's Annual Book Commitment
(ABC), to ensure one book for each child's health supervision visit
throughout the year, for all children ages 6 months through
5 years. To estimate annual cost:
ABC = # of well-child visits (6 months through 5 years)
annually X $2.75, the average cost of a book.
- List your Reach Out and Read "satellites," if
any, which are any affiliated, off-site clinical locations of
your health center, clinic or hospital. They will also be
practicing the Reach Out and Read model once their providers are
trained. Please complete the Satellite Program Information for each
qualifying satellite and list those providers in your application,
Application Has Been Approved
- Medical providers must receive official Reach Out and Read
training before implementing the Reach Out and Read program.
- Each Reach Out and Read program site receives a Reach Out and
Read/Scholastic pre-paid account into which you can deposit funds
for purchasing Scholastic books. After completing training, you
will receive your Scholastic Account Number, the Reach Out and Read
catalog, and additional information about how to take advantage of
this helpful resource.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is this program for everyone?
The Reach Out and Read model is designed to be
implemented by medical professionals who provide primary care to
children, ages 6 months through 5 years, as part of the well-child
checkup. Both pediatric practices and family practices that see
children may participate Reach Out and Read.
2. How will our clinic, providers, and patients benefit
from becoming a Reach Out and Read program?
Reach Out and Read has become an essential part of
pediatric practices across the country - from large, urban
practices to small, rural clinics. By introducing a beautiful new
book at the beginning of a well-child visit, providers find they
can better engage and calm the child, provide meaningful, positive
literacy promotion messages to the parent or guardian, and build
stronger connections with the family. Using the book in the exam
room creates an opportunity to talk about other relevant topics -
sleep routines, the importance of a child's first 2,000 days,
school readiness - and also offers providers a new and valuable
tool for monitoring the child's development. And, Reach Out and
Read encounters are often the nicest of the provider's day.
3. What is the Reach Out and Read model?
The Reach Out and Read model for literacy promotion has three
- Primary care providers (doctors, NPs, PAs and RNs) are trained
to deliver early literacy anticipatory guidance to parents of
children 6 months through 5 years of age during each well-child
visit. This age-appropriate guidance centers on the importance of:
frequent and early exposure to language, looking at board books and
naming pictures with infants, rhyme and repetition for gaining
phonemic awareness during toddlerhood, and reading interactively
(such as using open-ended questions) when reading with
- During well-child visits for children ages 6 months through 5
years, the provider gives the child a new,
developmentally-appropriate book to take home, building a
collection of 10 new books in the home before the child goes to
kindergarten. The provider also repeatedly prescribes reading
aloud, every day.
- Reach Out and Read program sites also create literacy-rich
environments that may include gently-used books for waiting room
use or for siblings to take home. In some waiting rooms, Reach Out
and Read volunteers model for parents the pleasures and techniques
of reading aloud to very young children.
4. How do we know Reach Out and Read is effective?
Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based intervention.
Peer-reviewed and published studies show that literacy promoting
interventions by a pediatrician using the Reach Out and Read model
have a significant effect on parental behavior and attitudes toward
reading aloud. Studies also show that parents who receive books and
literacy counseling from their pediatricians are more likely to
read to their young children and to bring more books into the home.
Read a summary of the
research that supports Reach Out and Read.
5. How many books do we need, and how much do they
Books are available for purchase, on average, for
approximately $2.75 per book, although quality books are available
for less (or more!). Additionally, through the Reach Out and
Read book catalog, Scholastic offers 10 free books for every $100
spent, even though the books are already generously discounted.
The number of new books your program site needs will depend on
your Annual Book Commitment (ABC), which is equivalent to the
annual number of well-child visits for children ages 6 months
through 5 years. To determine the estimated cost for books,
multiply your ABC by $2.75.
6. How do we find support for our books - either new,
donated books or funding for books?
Program sites should consider how they will provide for
the books needed to sustain the program over time. Some
practices write off book expenditures as a business expense. Others
solicit private contributions from community service organizations
such as Lion's or Rotary Clubs, from professional societies and
charitable foundations, and/or receive support from their parent
organization or provider network. Some program sites hold an annual
fundraiser. And still others hold a clinic-wide dress down day,
bake sale, car wash, or pancake breakfast. Reach Out and Read
program sites have access to resources such as Support a
Site materials that can assist you with seeking funding from
individuals or small businesses in your community.
The kind of fundraising plan that you need will depend on the
size of your population and your budget. If you have a development
department, speak with them about your funding needs. Reach Out and
Read offers templates for fundraising letters and grant
applications (that you can personalize for your own
program). Reach Out and Read coalitions can also assist with
your fundraising efforts (find a coalition in your area).
Local community groups can help your Reach Out and Read program
site with fundraising for books, volunteer recruitment, community
visibility, and publicity. Reach Out and Read program sites often
work with the following groups:
- High school and college community service groups
- Civic groups (e.g., Lions Club, Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Junior
- Municipal literacy initiatives
- Faith-based organizations
7. Who is in charge of running Reach Out and Read at our
There are two primary roles in each Reach Out and Read
program site: the Medical Consultant and Program Coordinator. See
above (Start a Program).
8. We want to become a Reach Out and Read Program - what
steps should we take now?
- Review information and steps (above) on how to Start A
- Find out if you are located within a Reach Out and Read state
or regional coalition and contact its Program Director before
making your application. View the list of coalitions.
- Develop and implement a fundraising plan to generate support
for your books.
- Complete the online application at www.myROR.org
9. How will our staff gain orientation to the Reach Out
and Read model?
- Medical providers will complete the Reach Out and Read online
CME Course, which offers 1.25 level one CME credits. Once your
program site has been approved, each participating provider at your
program site will receive his or her individual login information
to complete the course.
- Your program coordinator is encouraged to attend the Webinar
for new Reach Out and Read Coordinators, scheduled monthly. When
your site is approved, you'll receive notification of upcoming
- Many sites find it helpful to orient the entire practice,
including medical assistants and non-medical personnel, during an
all-staff meeting. This builds enthusiasm for, commitment to, and
understanding of the Reach Out and Read program and model. It also
includes them in discussions about which systems are best put into
place for: getting the books to the exam rooms, the practical
issues such as book storage and a tracking system, as well as ideas
for creating your literacy-rich waiting room.
10. What books should we choose for our families?
The Reach Out and Read model calls for the provider to
give a new, age- and culturally-appropriate book in the exam room
at each well-child visit. There are a number of ways that you can
procure books for your program site.
Reach Out and Read partners with Scholastic to publish a book
catalog available exclusively to approved programs. The books are
offered at substantially discounted prices. The catalog is
organized by age, making book selection easy. Reach Out and Read
programs may also choose to purchase high-quality children's books
from book specials offered by publishers and book distributors. We
routinely post such offers on myROR.org. You can also ask local
individuals, service organizations and booksellers to hold new,
age-appropriate book drives for your program site.
The Reach Out and Read Program Coordinator Manual has a chapter
devoted to identifying quality children's books for use in the
intervention, as well as suggestions for ordering, tracking, and
storing your book supply.
Many Reach Out and Read programs also like to have gently-used,
donated books available in the waiting areas for parents to share
with children as they wait, for siblings tagging along to the
checkup, and/or for sick visits. Gently-used children's book drives
can be hosted by school children, scouting troops, faith-based
groups, Rotary and Lions Clubs, etc.
11. How can we create a literacy-rich environment?
Reach Out and Read program sites recognize that literacy
awareness and encouragement starts even before the appointment
begins, in the waiting areas and exam rooms. An environment that
fosters reading and is filled with literacy resources can reinforce
the anticipatory guidance offered during the well-child visit.
Since children and parents sometimes spend time waiting, this time
can be well spent sharing books together!
- A basket or bookshelf of donated, gently-used children's books
can be placed in almost any area.
- Larger waiting areas might create a separate children's reading
area, complete with bookshelf/bookcase full of used books,
child-sized chairs and table, and a colorful rug.
- Reach Out and Read has poster designs (such as our Reading Tips
of Milestones of Early Literacy Development) for you to print out
and hang on waiting room walls.
- Post information about the local library: location, story
hours, how to get a library card, etc.
- When possible, recruit volunteers to read aloud! This models
the techniques - and joys - of reading aloud.
- Display photos of providers or local celebrities reading to
- Provider pamphlets or information about health literacy, family
literacy, and ESOL (English for speakers of other languages)
resources available in the community.
- Encourage all clinic staff to help promote literacy and reading
together. We so often hear that the receptionist, upon check-out,
will ask the child, "What book did you get today?"
12. How do programs interact with the National
Reach Out and Read staff members are available at [email protected] or 617-455-0614 to
provide ongoing technical assistance to our program sites.
Questions about the Application Process?
Contact a member of a regional or state Reach Out and Read
Coalition. If not located within a coalition, contact the Reach
Out and Read National Center by calling 617-455-0614 or
emailing [email protected].