The Reach Out and Read Model

Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read's evidence-based, three-part model into regular pediatric checkups:

  • Trained doctors and nurses speak with parents about the importance of reading aloud, starting in infancy.
  • At each regular checkup from 6 months through 5 years of age, the child receives a new book to take home.
  • Many Reach Out and Read program sites create literacy-rich environments that include gently-used books for waiting room use and/or volunteer readers to model for parents the techniques of reading aloud to young children.

As a result of this three-part intervention at the doctor's office, parents become more engaged and read to their children more often at home. The time spent reading translates into quantifiable gains: Our evidence base of 15 peer-reviewed research studies shows that during the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests. These early foundational language skills help propel children on a path of success when they enter school.

The program serves more than 4 million children and their families across the nation, with a special emphasis on serving those in low-income communities. In June 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared literacy promotion to be an "essential component of pediatric care" for all children, referencing Reach Out and Read as an effective intervention to engage parents and prepare children to achieve their potential in school and beyond.