The reach out and read program at CHOP marked two major milestones: It celebrated its 20th anniversary and gave away its one-millionth book.

Dr Sutherland with Bryon and his MomReach Out and Read is a national program launched in 1989 that gives young children growing up in low-income communities a better chance at success by incorporating books into routine pediatric care. CHOP’s program started in 1996 and operates in 10 of the 30 CHOP Care Network primary care practices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Pediatricians and nurse practitioners at these practices give children ages 6 months through 5 years a brand-new age-appropriate book at each well visit and encourage parents to read aloud to their children. Parents also receive guidance on the milestones of early literacy and language development. Families served by the program read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills, and enhanced cognitive, social and emotional development.

Ashton, a 3-year-old girl who loves to read, received the program’s one-millionth book at a well visit. It was a moment made possible by two decades of effort by clinicians, volunteers, parents and donors.

Two of those passionate donors are David and Margie Rosenberg, who have supported Children’s Hospital for 30 years. When they made their first gift to Reach Out and Read in 2003, the program was in place at only four CHOP Care Network sites. The Rosenbergs’ ongoing support has been instrumental in the program’s expansion.

“This program is really a stepping stone that encourages a love of books in an effort to stem the tide of illiteracy,” says David. To honor their generosity, the reading room in CHOP’s Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center is named the Marjorie and David Rosenberg Reading Room.

You can help support Reach Out and Read by volunteering to read, donating new and gently used children’s books, or making a donation.