How It Works

Getting Books into the Hands of Children

Modeling the Model

At every well visit, Reach Out and Read 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 Age Appropriate Books

During every well visit from 6 months to and including 5 years, the child is given a brand-new, developmentally-appropriate book to take home and keep. The book is given to them at the beginning of the visit, and the pediatrician or nurse practitioner uses the book throughout the visit to help counsel about reading, to assess the child’s developmental milestones, and to encourage the family to use the book as well. By the 5 year well visit, the child will have received 10 wonderful new books simply by coming to a medical provider who participates in the Reach Out and Read model.

Gently Used Books

Reach Out and Read builds literacy-rich environments throughout the primary care center. It provides a plethora of gently used children’s books for all ages in waiting rooms and exam rooms. This presents a wonderful opportunity for the family to seize the opportunity 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 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.