How It Works

Getting Books into the Hands of Children

Modeling the Reach Out and Read Model

At Reach Out and Read sites during infant, toddler and preschool well visits, primary care doctors and nurse practitioners actively encourage parents to read aloud to their young children, sometimes showing them how to do so by reading a page or two to their patient! Parents who may not feel confident in their own reading skills can create their own stories to go with picture in the books, or name objects, colors or animals from the pages with their children.

Brand-New Books

During every well visit from newborn through 5 years, the patient family is given a brand-new, developmentally, culturally and linguistically appropriate book to take home and keep. The book is given to the patient (or parent) at the beginning of the well visit, and the primary care doctor or nurse practitioner uses the book throughout the well visit to help counsel about reading aloud, to assess the child’s developmental milestones, and to encourage the family how to use the book. By the 5 year old well visit, the child will have received 14 wonderful new books simply by coming to a primary care medical office that participates in the Reach Out and Read model.

Gently Used Children’s Books

Reach Out and Read builds literacy-rich environments throughout the primary care center. Donated gently used children’s books for all ages are displayed in some waiting rooms and exam rooms. This presents a wonderful opportunity for the family to read with their child as they wait to be seen. Any child in the office (a patient, sibling, or well or sick child), is also encouraged to take a gently used book home to keep, read and enjoy. Where possible, the Reach Out and Read sites feature adult volunteer readers, who read aloud with infants and children of all ages, showing parents and families the pleasures and techniques of interacting with books and enhancing language and social emotional development. Parents can see the joy their child receives from being read to, and hopefully are encouraged to take that joy home with them as they read to their children as well.  Due to different site guidelines, please contact us by email at for the current updates about donating gently used books to Reach Out and Read sites.