To become an official Reach Out and Read program, there are a
few simple steps to complete: collect routine data, submit an
application, and determine how your books will be supplied. Once
approved, your providers must complete the online training course
on program delivery. There are two important program roles to
fill: Medical Consultant and Program
Medical Consultant: the pediatric
primary care MD, DO, NP, or PA who is most enthusiastic about Reach
Out and Read and wants to champion the cause due to a deep
appreciation for the critical first 2,000 days of a child's life.
While neither a demanding nor time-consuming role, he or she will
provide oversight of the clinical components of the program
- Ensure that Reach Out and Read best practices are implemented
throughout the pediatric or family practice department;
- Foster discussion of and create support for efficient systems
(book delivery to the exam room)
- Assure compliance with requisite online training by provider
- Share relevant information with medical providers on early
literacy and language development and Provider Bulletins that Reach
Out and Read makes available from time to time; and
- Act as the medical "face" of the program; connect with the
executive leadership of the health center, clinic, or practice.
Program Coordinator*: any interested
staff member familiar with the clinic, staff, and patient
population. This role supports the Medical Consultant and is
responsible for administrative aspects:
- Ordering the books;
- Tracking the number of books distributed;
- Completing the semi-annual Progress Reports; and
- Ensuring a literacy-rich environment and coordinating volunteer
readers (if any).
Both roles are typically voluntary and take very little time
*A medical provider may fulfill both roles, particularly in
- Start an online application. After you provide basic
contact information, your program site will be issued a Site ID and
password and redirected to www.myror.org, where the application is
finished and submitted. During this time your site's status is
"Application in Process." (You may repeatedly log in and work on
the application over time.)
- Along with the application you must also submit a letter of
support, signed by the department head, clinic medical director, or
executive director, stating your practice's commitment to the Reach
Out and Read program. (Details on how to submit the letter and
application are provided in the application.) Once this is
received, your site's status is "Application Complete".
- Applications completed by the second Monday of each month are
reviewed by the Reach Out and Read Application Review Committee
during that week. You can expect to receive an email the
following week. Approved applications become "Approved Needs
Training." If your program site does not yet have the funding for a
year's worth of books (100% of your Annual Book Commitment), your
application will be placed on the waiting list.
- Once the medical providers at your practice have completed the
online training, and staff members have been oriented (more
information below), your site becomes "Active" and you may
start implementing Reach Out and Read at your practice.
Application Has Been Approved
- Medical providers must receive official Reach Out and Read
training before implementing the Reach Out and Read program.
- Each Reach Out and Read program site receives a Reach Out and
Read/Scholastic pre-paid account into which you can deposit funds
for purchasing Scholastic books. After completing training, you
will receive your Scholastic Account Number, the Reach Out and Read
catalog, and additional information about how to take advantage of
this helpful resource.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is this program for everyone?
The Reach Out and Read model is designed to be
implemented by medical professionals who provide primary care to
children, ages 6 months through 5 years, as part of the well-child
checkup. Both pediatric practices and family practices that see
children may participate Reach Out and Read.
2. How will our clinic, providers, and patients benefit
from becoming a Reach Out and Read program?
Reach Out and Read has become an essential part of
pediatric practice across the country - from large, urban practices
to small, rural clinics. By introducing a beautiful new book at the
beginning of a well-child visit, providers find they can better
engage and calm the child, provide meaningful, positive literacy
promotion messages to the parent or guardian, and build stronger
connections with the family. Using the book in the exam room
creates an opportunity to talk about other relevant topics - sleep
routines, the importance of a child's first 2,000 days, school
readiness - and also offers providers a new and valuable tool for
monitoring the child's development. And, Reach Out and Read
encounters are often the nicest of the provider's day.
3. What is the Reach Out and Read model?
The Reach Out and Read model for literacy promotion has three
- Primary care providers (doctors, NPs, PAs and RNs) are trained
to deliver early literacy anticipatory guidance to parents of
children 6 months through 5 years of age during each well-child
visit. This age-appropriate guidance centers on the importance of:
frequent and early exposure to language, looking at board books and
naming pictures with infants, rhyme and repetition for gaining
phonemic awareness during toddlerhood, and reading interactively
(such as asking open-ended questions) when reading with
- During well-child visits for children ages 6 months through 5
years, the provider gives the child a new,
developmentally-appropriate book to take home, building a
collection of 8-10 new books in the home before the child goes to
kindergarten. The provider also repeatedly prescribes reading
aloud, every day.
- Reach Out and Read program sites also create literacy-rich
environments that may include gently-used books for waiting room
use or for siblings to take home. In some waiting rooms, Reach Out
and Read volunteers model for parents the pleasures and techniques
of reading aloud to very young children.
4. How do we know Reach Out and Read is effective?
Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based intervention.
Peer-reviewed and published studies show that literacy promoting
interventions by a pediatrician using the Reach Out and Read model
have a significant effect on parental behavior and attitudes toward
reading aloud. Studies also show that parents who receive books and
literacy counseling from their pediatricians are more likely to
read to their young children and to bring more books into the home.
Read a summary of the
research that supports Reach Out and Read.
In June 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared
literacy promotion to be an "essential component of pediatric care"
for all children, referencing Reach Out and Read as an effective
intervention to engage parents and prepare children to achieve
their potential in school and beyond. Click
here to read the AAP's policy statement.
5. How many books do we need, and how much do they
You will need one book for each well-child visit performed for
children ages 6 months through 5 years, though some providers do
give books starting in infancy. To have your application approved,
you must certify that you have the necessary funding or number of
new, developmentally-appropriate books to cover all well-child
visits for the first year of your program. As you will see in the
application we use an average cost of $2.75 per book for
calculation purposes. The actual cost of books will vary depending
on title, language, and vendor.
Books are available for purchase from a number of vendors who
provide Reach Out and Read program sites with discounts and special
Please note, the $2.75 is only representative of the average
cost of the actual book. It does not reflect the costs that the
Reach Out and Read local and national organization incurs to assist
in the delivery of the program, such as provider training and site
support, as well as the book purchasing and delivery
6. How do we find financial support for our books -
either new, donated books, or funding for books?
Program sites should consider how they will sustain the
program over time. Some practices write off book expenditures
as a business expense. Others solicit private contributions from
community service organizations such as Lion's or Rotary Clubs,
professional societies, charitable foundations, and/or receive
support from their parent organization or provider network. Some
program sites hold an annual fundraiser. And still others hold a
clinic-wide dress down day, bake sale, car wash, or pancake
breakfast. Reach Out and Read program sites have access to
resources such as Support a Site materials that can assist
you with seeking funding from individuals or small businesses in
The kind of fundraising plan that you need will depend on the
size of your population and your budget. If you have a development
department, speak with them about your funding needs. Reach Out and
Read offers templates for fundraising letters and grant
applications (that you can personalize for your own
program). Reach Out and Read coalitions can also assist with
your fundraising efforts (find a coalition in your area).
Local community groups can help your Reach Out and Read program
site with fundraising for books, volunteer recruitment, community
visibility, and publicity. Reach Out and Read program sites often
work with the following groups:
- High school and college community service groups
- Civic groups (e.g., Lions Club, Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Junior
- Municipal literacy initiatives
- Faith-based organizations
7. Who is in charge of running Reach Out and Read at our
There are two primary roles in each Reach Out and Read
program site: the Medical Consultant and Program Coordinator. See
above (Start a Program).
8. We want to become a Reach Out and Read Program - what
steps should we take now?
- Review information and steps (above) on how to Start A
- Find out if you are located within a Reach Out and Read state
or regional coalition and contact its Program Director before
making your application. View the list of coalitions.
- Develop and implement a fundraising plan to generate support
for your books.
- Complete the online application at www.myROR.org
9. How will our staff gain orientation to the Reach Out
and Read model?
- Medical providers will complete the Reach Out and Read online
CME Course, which offers 1.25 level one CME credits. Once your
program site has been approved, each participating provider at your
program site will receive his or her individual login information
to complete the course.
- Your program coordinator is encouraged to view an
for new Reach Out and Read Coordinators.
- Many sites find it helpful to orient the entire practice,
including medical assistants and non-medical personnel, during an
all-staff meeting. This builds enthusiasm for, commitment to, and
understanding of the Reach Out and Read program and model. It also
includes them in discussions about which systems are best put into
place for: getting the books to the exam rooms, the practical
issues such as book storage and a tracking system, as well as ideas
for creating your literacy-rich waiting room.
10. What books should we choose for our families?
The Reach Out and Read model calls for the provider to
give a new, age- and culturally-appropriate book in the exam room
at each well-child visit. There are a number of ways that you can
procure books for your program site.
Reach Out and Read partners with Scholastic to publish a book
catalog available exclusively to approved programs. The books are
offered at substantially discounted prices. The catalog is
organized by age, making book selection easy. Reach Out and Read
programs may also choose to purchase high-quality children's books
from book specials offered by publishers and book distributors. We
routinely post such offers on myROR.org. You can also ask local
individuals, service organizations and booksellers to hold book
drives for NEW books for your program site.
The Reach Out and Read Program Coordinator Manual has a section
devoted to identifying quality children's books for use in the
intervention, as well as suggestions for ordering, tracking, and
storing your book supply. Read the manual here.
Many Reach Out and Read programs also like to have gently-used
books available in the waiting areas for parents to share with
children as they wait, for siblings tagging along to the checkup,
and/or for sick visits. Gently-used children's book drives can be
hosted by school children, scouting troops, faith-based groups,
Rotary and Lions Clubs, etc.
11. How can we create a literacy-rich environment?
Reach Out and Read program sites recognize that literacy
awareness and encouragement starts even before the appointment
begins, in the waiting areas and exam rooms. An environment that
fosters reading and is filled with literacy resources can reinforce
the anticipatory guidance offered during the well-child visit.
Since children and parents sometimes spend time waiting, this time
can be well spent sharing books together!
- A basket or bookshelf of donated, gently-used children's books
can be placed in almost any area.
- Larger waiting areas might create a separate children's reading
area, complete with bookshelf/bookcase full of used books,
child-sized chairs and table, and a colorful rug.
- Reach Out and Read has poster designs (such as our Reading Tips
or Milestones of Early Literacy Development) for you to print out
and hang on waiting room walls.
- Post information about the local library: location, story
hours, how to get a library card, etc.
- When possible, recruit volunteers to read aloud! This models
the techniques - and joys - of reading aloud.
- Display photos of providers or local celebrities reading to
- Provider pamphlets or information about health literacy, family
literacy, and ESOL (English for speakers of other languages)
resources available in the community.
- Encourage all clinic staff to help promote literacy and reading
together. We often hear that the receptionist, upon check-out, will
ask the child, "What book did you get today?"
- Review the American Academy of Pediatrics Books Build
Connections Literacy Toolkit for additional tips and ideas on
promoting reading aloud.
12. How do programs interact with the National
Reach Out and Read staff members are available at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-455-0614 to
provide ongoing technical assistance to our program sites.
Questions about the Application Process?
Contact a member of a regional or state Reach Out and Read
Coalition. If not located within a coalition, contact the Reach
Out and Read National Center by calling 617-455-0614 or