Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read®, a national nonprofit organization started at Boston City Hospital in 1989, gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.

Reach Out and Read (ROR) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia started in 1996 and is implemented at 23 of CHOP’s primary care centers located in CHOP Care Network in West (CHOP Campus, Karabots, Cobbs Creek, Family Care Center), South and Northwest (Chestnut Hill, Roxborough) Philadelphia; Broomall, Chalfont, Coatesville, CollegevilleDrexel Hill, Kennett Square, Media, Norristown, Pottstown, Souderton, Springfield, West Chester, and West Grove, Pennsylvania; Burlington Township, Gibbsboro and Moorestown, New Jersey. The program is also at some of CHOP’s outpatient Neonatal and Cardiac Kids Developmental Follow-up Programs.

In the exam rooms at CHOP’s Reach Out and Read sites, 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 impact

The Reach Out and Read program begins at the child’s newborn checkup, and continues through age 5. 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. Learn more.

This fiscal year, the pediatricians, residents and nurse practitioners at CHOP's Reach Out and Read sites will need to give at least 130,000 brand-new, age-appropriate books to 90,000 patients ages newborn through 5 years during well visits, and advise parents about the importance of reading aloud. Reading together promotes healthy brain development, furthers language acquisition, and helps families build meaningful bonds.

The need

  • “The highest rate of return in early childhood development comes from investing as early as possible, from birth through age five, in disadvantaged families. Starting at age three or four is too little too late, as it fails to recognize that skills beget skills in a complementary and dynamic way. Efforts should focus on the first years for the greatest efficiency and effectiveness. The best investment is in quality early childhood development from birth to five for disadvantaged children and their families.”—James J. Heckman, December 7, 2012. SOURCE: Invest in Early Childhood Development: Reduce Deficits, Strengthen the Economy

  • “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

  1. Volunteer to read: Learn about our volunteer reader opportunities
  2. Donate booksLearn more about our current needs
  3. 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 children and families living in low-income communities.

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.

Next Steps