Current Research

We are committed to evaluating our impact

Reach Out and Read continues to be committed to evaluation of our impact through independent research:

  • Thorough evaluation shows us how to continue to improve our model for maximum effectiveness.
  • Compelling results place Reach Out and Read as a leader in early literacy and stimulate a more widespread adoption of our program.

Ongoing Research Initiatives in 2019

Rx for Success

Rx for Success is a recently launched randomized controlled trial of technology-based dialogic reading training that is incorporated into Reach Out and Read. This ongoing study, due for completion in July 2019, is designed to determine if additional messaging about sharing books from a specifically designed app, Rx for Success, recommended at the ROR clinic increases the impact of ROR on home literacy activities and children's development.

If successful, recommendation of use of the Rx for Success app at ROR clinics offers a way of delivering additional messaging about sharing books at a population level that can improve our impact on the families and children that we serve.

Click here for more details.

 A New Collaborative Research Study

Baby chews board bookIn May, 2016, Reach Out and Read medical advisors established a research collaborative of clinicians, researchers and Reach Out and Read coordinators with the aim of taking our research to the next level.

This collaborative, named the Collaborative for Early Literacy and Brain Development in Primary Care (otherwise known as LitNet), has worked on developing and coordinating research projects, with a particular emphasis on large-scale network-based research that will further demonstrate the impact of our program.

With the first such research project launched in 2017, the LitNet study indicates that the Reach Out and Read online CME course is most effective at providing the knowledge and skills required to implement ROR with fidelity to the model. As there is a significant pipeline of ROR expansion coming from pediatric residents who experience ROR in a continuity clinic, this study provides valuable information as we seek to influence residency training to ensure high quality delivery of the Reach Out and Read model.

Click here for more details

Young Investigator Awards

For the last six years, Reach Out and Read has partially funded young investigators researching aspects of early literacy through the Young Investigator Award program. Results of work supported by this program include:

Brain Development


Through brain imaging studies, John Hutton, M.D., demonstrated that when families read aloud and engage with their young children, there is increased development of regions of the brain associated with learning to read and higher thinking processes.


Word Gap


Using LENA, a device that digitally records and analyses the number of words heard by young children, Adriana Weisleder, Ph.D., showed that Reach Out and Read stimulates an overall increase in the number of words and conversational turns between families and young children.


Resident Training


Anna Miller-Fitzwater, M.D., M.P.H., assessed the new training for residents on how to implement Reach Out and Read for children ages 0 - 6 months. Residents found the training applicable and practical and that families were receptive to the concept.


Click here for more details

Reach Out and Read Research Priorities

Reach Out and Read and Language Ability/School Readiness

Independent, peer-reviewed studies over the years have indicated that Reach Out and Read improves language ability in young children. We are looking into long-term prospective studies and alternative methods of substantiating our impact on language ability and school readiness. 

The Effect of Reach Out and Read on Pediatric Preventive Care Compliance

There are indications that families attend well-child checkups both to receive books and because of an increased sense of agency, thus improving well-child checkup compliance - particularly at checkups when the immunization schedule is critical. 

The Effect of Reach Out and Read on Maternal Depression

A pilot study suggested that maternal depression in young single mothers is reduced through the Reach Out and Read intervention. We would like to expand this project to a larger study. 

Reach Out and Read as a Means of Improving Pediatrician Well-Being

There is evidence that Reach Out and Read is a positive experience for pediatricians and could relieve stress and burnout. We would be interested to formalize a larger study. 

Contact Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read National Center
89 South St, Suite 201
Boston, MA 02111