Reach Out and Read

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Reach Out and Read is a national program designed to promote early literacy skills and school readiness within primary care settings.

The Reach Out and Read model has three components:

  • At each check-up between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, children receive a brand new, developmentally, and culturally appropriate book from their primary care provider to take home.

  • Physicians and nurses are trained in literacy development to provide parents with guidance and support around the importance of reading to their children.

  • Volunteers read aloud to children in the clinic waiting room and demonstrate appropriate reading techniques and modeling for parents.

Reach Out and Read at Boston Children's Primary Care Clinic

Reach Out and Read was an important addition to the Boston Children's Hospital Primary Care Center (CHPCC) in 1997. Since that time, more than 700 providers have been trained in literacy development by a ROR medical director.

We have also provided approximately 53,000 brand new books to our patients since the program's inception, and an additional 765,000 gently used books through donations.

Volunteer

Volunteers are an integral part of the Reach Out and Read program. By reading aloud in the waiting room, volunteers will:

  • Model appropriate reading skills for parents

  • Demonstrate the joy and excitement of reading to children

  • Help make going to the doctor a more positive experience

Volunteer hours for ROR are available Monday afternoons and Tuesday mornings in Primary Care. To apply to be a Reach Out and Read volunteer, please contact Volunteer Services at 617-355-7885. Make sure to specify that you are interested in volunteering for ROR.

Book Donations

Reach Out and Read accepts both new and gently used book donations. New book donations for children under five years old are distributed during well-child visits by physicians. All other donations are placed in our waiting rooms for all Primary Care families to take home.

Gently used books must be clean and intact. We can not accept used coloring books, books that are dirty, scribbled on, missing pages, ripped, or contain religious themed, adult themed, racist, sexist or violent content. Please click on the link below to see some suggested book titles.

To make a book donation, please call or email Christopher Alexander at 617-355-4690.

Book donations can also be mailed to:

CHPCC/Reach Out and Read
ATTN: Christopher Alexander
300 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 01225

Suggested book title list

Monetary Donations

Reach Out and Read also accepts monetary donations to help with the cost of providing approximately 5000 brand new books each year to our young patients.

To make a monetary donation to Reach Out and Read, please contact the Boston Children's Trust at 617-355-6890.

2011 Book Donations

During 2011, there were:

  • 5,339 brand new books distributed at well-child visits

  • 4,549 new books donated

  • 9,922 used books donated

Despite all of these generous donations, we can still go weeks with no books to distribute to the 14,000 patients who come through Primary Care multiple times each year. Every donation is appreciated no matter how big or small so please give today!

Special events

Reach Out and Read periodically hosts special events including book readings and art projects at Boston Children's Hospital.

Author Lynne Berry (left), with patient Robert Peguero and a medical student, enjoy their arts and craft project in the waiting room of Children's Hospital Primary Care Center (CHPCC).One of our events included author Lynne Berry. Ms. Berry came to CHPCC on November 28th to read her new children's book, Duck Skates. After the reading, Ms. Berry brought along a special create-your-own duck arts and craft project, signed personalized copies of her book for each child who was present and donated a total of 100 copies of Duck Skatesto the hospital. Her appearance was part of CHPCC's Reach Out and Read program, which distributes brand new books to children during their well child check ups and also provides gently used books to families from the waiting room shelves. For more information on how to become involved with ROR or on making a donation, please contact Christopher Alexander at 617-355-4690.

Reach Out and Read Works!

Research shows that when pediatricians promote literacy according to the Reach Out and Read model, there is a significant effect on parental behavior, beliefs, and attitudes towards reading aloud, as well as improvements in the language scores of young children receiving the intervention.

Since reading aloud is the single most important activity for building success in reading, pediatricians play increasingly active roles in promoting reading skills. They can provide parents of young children with personal coaching and literacy support. They are often the only professionals who have repeated, one-to-one contact with parents during their child's early years. Moreover, parents often turn to pediatricians for advice about the social, emotional, and physical health of their children, giving pediatricians opportunities to teach parents about reading in the context of their child's development.

Reach Out and Read starts children off on a path towards school readiness and a lifelong love of reading.

Articles supporting Reach Out and Read

Contact us

Rebecca Shaw 

Reach Out and Read Coordinator 

Alison Schonwald, MD 

Medical Director 

Phone: 617-355-4690

rebecca.shaw@childrens.harvard.edu

Directions to Boston Children's Hospital

Boston Children's Hospital
CHPCC/Reach Out and Read
300 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

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The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
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