Reach Out and Read Illinois Facts

Our Mission

Reach Out and Read Illinois is part of Reach Out and Read, a nation-wide program which prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encouraging families to read together. Yet we have only been able to fund 59% of the books needed in Illinois.  Won’t you help us reach more kids? Through our partnership with Scholastic Books, we purchase books at wholesale costs, allowing your donation to buy even more books. Please donate now!

The Reach Out and Read Model in Action

  • Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read’s evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups, by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children.
  • The program begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities.
  • Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills, and a six-month developmental edge.

Reach Out and Read Illinois’ Impact as of May 2016

  • Reach Out and Read Illinois has 135 clinical locations located throughout the state
  • More than 118,000 Illinois children and parents receive coaching and guidance annually
  • Reach Out and Read Illinois clinics distribute more than 142,000 books annually

Reach Out and Read’s National Impact as of May 2016

  • Reach Out and Read Programs are located in more than 5,800 hospitals and health centers in all  50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Reach Out and Read serves 4.5 million children and families annually
  • More than 6.4 million new, developmentally-appropriate books are given to children annually
  • More than 28,000 medical providers currently participate in Reach Out and Read
  • Community volunteers dedicate more than 350,000 hours of service to Reach Out and Read annually

The Challenge

  • More than one-third (34%) of American children entering kindergarten today lack the basic language skills they will need to learn to read.
  • Children who live in print-rich environments and who are read to during the first years of life are more likely to develop stronger reading abilities and enter school prepared to succeed.
  • Fewer than half of parents (48%) in the United States read to their young children daily.
  • Parents of children living in poverty may lack the money to buy books, may not have easy access to good  children’s books, and may not themselves have been read to as children.

The Research-Proven School Readiness Strategy

  • Reach Out and Read is a national, nonprofit, school readiness organization founded in 1989 at Boston Medical Center, through a collaboration of pediatricians and early childhood educators.
  • Supported by both public and private funding, the National Center provides training, technical assistance, and funding for books to Reach Out and Read Programs nationwide.
  • The Reach Out and Read model is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
  • Fourteen published research studies confirm that the Reach Out and Read model works.


Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics