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Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness during check-ups in pediatric exam rooms by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud.

As the only medically-based literacy model in the country, Reach Out and Read leverages the impact of the parent reading to the child against the access that primary care medical practices and clinics have with families. The combination of these factors makes Reach Out and Read a unique and successful program.

Over thirteen published research studies show that children served by Reach Out and Read have larger vocabularies, higher comprehension skills and more deeply engaged parents who are four times more likely to incorporate reading aloud with their children into their daily routines. Reach Out and Read reinforces the parent’s role as the first and most important teacher, and gives parents the tools needed to help their children succeed.

Our Mission

Reach Out and Read prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.

Reach Out and Read trains doctors and nurses to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and to give books to children at pediatric checkups from 6 months through 5 years of age, with a special focus on children growing up in poverty. By building on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers, Reach Out and Read helps families and communities encourage early literacy skills so children enter school prepared for success in reading.

The ROR Model

Pediatric healthcare providers (including pediatricians, family physicians, and pediatric nurse practitioners) are trained in the three-part Reach Out and Read model to promote early literacy and school readiness:

•In the exam room, doctors and nurses speak with parents about the importance of reading aloud to their young children every day, and offer age-appropriate tips and encouragement.

•The pediatric primary care provider gives every child 6 months through 5 years old a new, developmentally-appropriate children’s book to take home and keep.

•In the waiting room, displays, information, and books create a literacy-rich environment. Where possible, volunteer readers entertain the children, modeling for parents the pleasures – and techniques – of reading aloud.


Reach Out and Read Illinois is a partnership with the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) and the Reach Out and Read National Center.

Reach Out and Read Illinois Impact

•126 locations (pediatrician offices, community health centers, hospitals, etc.)

•More than 136,000 children participate annually

•More than 161,000 new books distributed annually


For more information, please contact:

Elise Groenewegen
Coordinator, Early Childhood Development
1400 W. Hubbard, Suite 100
Chicago, IL 60642
Phone: 312/733-1026, ext 204
Fax: 312/733-1791