Reach Out and Read Oregon
Reach Out and Read Oregon
Reach Out and Read champions the positive effects of reading aloud daily and engaging in other language-rich activities with young children. Since 2000, we’ve partnered with medical clinics and providers across Oregon to support healthy brain development, further language acquisition, and help families build the critical relational bonds that are the foundation to success.

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Investing in Impact.

Reach Out and Read partners with more than 1,200 pediatric providers in 30 counties across Oregon to share age- and language-appropriate books with children at their well-child checkups through age five. Providers also give caregivers the tools and resources to promote early childhood literacy activities that build family bonds.

 

Our evidence-based model is backed by a large and growing body of academic research. We utilize the existing medical infrastructure, to encourage supportive, educational conversations with parents on the importance of reading aloud and the impact on children’s brain development.

Click here to read our latest impact report.

 

Our Program
Reach Out and Read Oregon gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.
165,000
Well-child visits annually
169
Program sites
145,000
Books provided annually
We envision a world where all families have daily, meaningful, language-rich interactions with their children.
Give the gift of reading aloud to a child in need.

Reach Out and Read Oregon could not serve the tens of thousands of families it does annually without the help of generous corporate, foundation, individual, and government partners. We are grateful for their contributions to make reading a priority for the children and families of Oregon. Together we are fulfilling our mission to give young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.

Introducing Reach Out and Read Northwest

We are excited to share that the Reach Out and Read teams in Oregon and Washington have unified regionally as Reach Out and Read Northwest.

As we look to the future, Reach Out and Read Northwest is poised to grow sustainably while continuing to deliver the highest level of program services backed by evidence-cased research and methods. Joining forces as a regional team leverages our core strengths and creates administrative efficiencies.

Meet Our Staff

Jessica Mortensen, MLIS

Regional Executive Director
Contact Jessica Mortensen

Jessica Mortensen became the first Regional Executive Director of Reach Out and Read Northwest after overseeing the regionalization of Reach Out and Read’s programs in Oregon and Washington in the fall of 2021. She currently oversees a high-performing staff and provides strategic direction for more than 400 medical clinics that reach over 200,000 families annually at well-child visits. Jessica was Reach Out and Read Washington’s Program Director (2010–15), Deputy Director (2015–17), and Executive Director (2017–21).

During her tenure with Reach Out and Read Jessica has cultivated partnerships and relationships that support healthcare professional practice change. She played a pivotal role in the creation and implementation of a program quality evaluation and improvement system that Reach Out and Read adopted nationally, and currently co-chairs the National Book Committee. She completed her Master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Washington and her undergraduate degree in Spanish and Art History at Whitman College.

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Carol Hickman

Interim Executive Director
Contact Carol Hickman

Carol Hickman brings more than 20 years of statewide nonprofit leadership experience to her role as Reach Out and Reach Oregon’s Interim Executive Director. The core of her work involves operationalizing goals, strategies, and deliverables to foster mission alignment, brand fidelity, and staff and volunteer engagement.

Carol served as a Governor-appointed Commissioner and Co-Chair of Oregon Volunteers and is a longtime volunteer at her local elementary school’s library. She’s designed city-wide reading and discussion programs, served on advisory boards for literacy organizations, and knows first-hand just how fun—and hot—it is the Clifford the Big Red Dog costume.

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Alayna Herr

Regional Development Director
Contact Alayna Herr

Alayna Herr joined Reach Out and Read Northwest as the Regional Development Director in 2022. She directs development programs in Oregon and Washington, working primarily on building and deepening relationships with foundations, corporations, and private individuals in support of Reach Out and Read Northwest’s regional mission.

Alayna’s career, which includes working in early literacy, college access, and higher education, has focused on ensuring that all children have the resources they need to succeed in whatever they hope to accomplish. She earned a law degree from Willamette University and a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Born in the Midwest, Alayna has been an Oregon resident for more than 10 years and is based in Portland.

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Kristin Rünzi

Program Manager
Contact Kristin Rünzi

Kristin fell in love with Oregon in 2006 and has been happy to call Portland home ever since. She received her Master of Public Health degree from Portland State University and completed her MPH field experience at Oregon Health Authority, focusing on adolescent health promotion. She then spent three years as the Program Manager for MIKE, a health education and youth development program for low-resource high school youth in the Portland Metro Area. For the following two years, she was the Project Manager for Oregon Pediatric Society, developing clinical trainings and leading quality improvement projects around pediatric mental health issues.

As the Program Manager for Oregon, Kristin is passionate about ROR’s unique multipronged approach that addresses early literacy, relational health between caregiver and child, social-emotional learning, and mediation of toxic stress all in one. Kristin looks forward to continuing to work with existing program sites and supporting expansion efforts to bring this powerful intervention to more Oregon children.

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Hannah Slaughter

Regional Program Director
Contact Hannah Slaughter

Hannah Slaughter is the Regional Program Director at Reach Out and Read Northwest. She directs our multi-state program strategy, implementation, data, and analysis to ensure that clinical sites across the region have the leadership and support to offer high-quality programs to children and families. Hannah previously served as the Program Director for Reach Out and Read Washington from 2018–2021, and as a Program Specialist from 2012–2018.

Prior to joining Reach Out and Read, Hannah worked with faculty, residents, and medical students at the University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center. She facilitated process improvement projects to ensure patient safety, implemented quality assurance standards, managed the Internal Medicine Residency Program’s annual recruitment process, and coordinated educational conferences and orientations. Hannah received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art Photography and a minor in Diversity from the University of Washington.

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Jessica Mortensen, MLIS

Regional Executive Director
Contact Jessica Mortensen

Carol Hickman

Interim Executive Director
Contact Carol Hickman

Alayna Herr

Regional Development Director
Contact Alayna Herr

Kristin Rünzi

Program Manager
Contact Kristin Rünzi

Hannah Slaughter

Regional Program Director
Contact Hannah Slaughter