Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit organization that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Reach Out and Read program started in 1996 and takes place at nine of CHOP’s primary care practices located in West and South Philadelphia; Burlington Township, New Jersey; and Coatesville, Kennett Square and West Chester, Pennsylvania.
In the exam rooms at CHOP’s Reach Out and Read sites (primary care doctor’s offices), the pediatricians and nurse practitioners encourage parents to read aloud to their children and offer age-appropriate tips and give the young children a brand-new, age-appropriate book at each well visit.
The Reach Out and Read program begins at the child’s 6-month checkup, and continues through age 5, with special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities. Families served by the program read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills, better prepared to achieve to their potential (http://www.reachoutandread.org/why-we-work/research-findings).
This year, the pediatricians, residents and nurse practitioners at CHOP's Reach Out and Read sites will need to give at least 36,000 brand-new, age-appropriate books to children ages 6 months through 5 years during well visits, and advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and language development.
“Investment in early education for disadvantaged children from birth to age 5 helps reduce the achievement gap, reduce the need for special education, increase the likelihood of healthier lifestyles, lower the crime rate, and reduce overall social costs. In fact, every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education produces a 7 to 10 percent per annum return on investment.” SOURCE: Heckman, J. The Economics of Inequality, The Value of Early Childhood Education, American Educator. (Spring 2011)
Reach Out and Read is focused on serving children growing up in low-income communities. “Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development. Poverty and financial stress can impede children’s cognitive development and their ability to learn.” SOURCE: Annie E. Casey 2012 KidsCount Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being
“A major contribution of family literacy to young children’s future success is the act of talking with infants and toddlers….the richness of interaction in the home has a strong influence on early language development and acquisition of literacy that lasts throughout the school years.” SOURCE: Rosenkoetter, S. Knapp-Philo, J. Learning to Read the World, Language and Literacy in the First Three Years, (2006), Zero to Three
How you can help
- Volunteer to read: Learn about our volunteer reader opportunities
- Donate books: Donate new and gently-used children's books
- Support the program: Make a donation or hold a fundraiser (CHOP's Reach Out and Read Program depends 100 percent on donations)
Thanks to the passionate efforts of doctors, nurse practitioners, volunteers, parents and donors, Reach Out and Read has touched the lives of countless at-risk children and families.
In this video, leaders of CHOP’s Reach Out and Read program and other experts share inspiring stories about what makes the program so effective and efficient, how it helps children's language development and helps them start and stay successful in school. You will also hear about the important role philanthropy plays in the program's livelihood long into the future. Watch and learn why CHOP believes in the Reach Out and Read model.