Readathon Toolkit


Partner with Reach Out and Read Illinois On a Readathon

Your students can help fill children’s bookshelves in low-income households by reading!

What is Reach Out and Read: Reach Out and Read Illinois is a program that distributes books to children living in low-income households through doctors’ offices during pediatric check-ups. Reach Out and Read doctors encourage parents of children aged 6 months to 5 years to read to their children. Reach Out and Read has been shown to increase reading time and language development!

Why: Research shows that children who live in print-rich environments and who are read to in the first years of life are more likely to develop stronger reading abilities and enter school prepared to succeed. Research goes on to show that children in high-income households are exposed to far more print than children in low-income households. Parents in low-income households may lack money or opportunity to buy books, may not have easy access to children’s books, or may not themselves have been read to as children. Since parents visit the pediatrician regularly with their children for shots and check-ups during the early years, the doctor’s office is a great place to promote reading.

How You Can Help: Reach Out and Read Illinois invites YOUR school or community organization to participate in a Readathon this school year. Students will take pledges for the number of books read or hours of reading. Proceeds will be split between the school and a local Reach Out and Read clinic. Students will learn about brain development, read and enjoy reading more, and take pride in helping families who don’t have access to books. The Readathon also makes for a fun, simple yet effective service learning project.

How to Organize a Readathon: Reach Out and Read Illinois has developed a Readathon Toolkit to help schools plan and implement a Readathon through Reach Out and Read. The toolkit includes FAQs, helpful planning tools, curriculum integration ideas, and other materials for a successful Readathon.

Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics