Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Article

Literacy Promotion in the ER During COVID-19: A “Reach Out and Read” Expansion

Kleinman, A., Tanguay, J. (2022) Literacy Promotion in the ER During COVID-19: A "Reach Out and Read Expansion". Pediatrics, 149(Meeting Abstracts February 2022): 451.,

Access: FREE/Open Access

Publication year


study description

Reach Out and Read (ROR) program expansion.

core topic(s)

Reach Out and Read (ROR)

Population Characteristics

Medical Conditions and Disabilities

Exposures, Outcomes, Other

Anticipatory Guidance , COVID-19 and Pandemic Impact , Disparity/Adversity , Dolly Parton Imagination Library , Implementation and Evaluation , Libraries and Public Resources , Programs and Interventions (other)


Our project sought to address disparities, deepen by Covid-19 pandemic, in access to early childhood literacy and focus on marginalized populations of children that fell through the cracks of literacy education, like those with irregular well-child care and frequent non-urgent ER visits.


Reach Out and Read (ROR).

outcomes evaluated

Access to early childhood literacy.


Acute care setting of two free standing pediatric hospital emergency rooms in Akron and Youngstown, Ohio.


To ensure longevity and sustainability, we partnered with the Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation, ACH Reach out and Read, and the Kids’ Book Bank of Cleveland. We implemented a dual-focused, literacy promotion program leveraging the validated ROR curriculum combined with new enrollment in the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library. We paired targeting families for counseling on developmentally appropriate reading techniques and distributing age-appropriate books with the families’ direct enrollment in the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library. Our program was implemented in winter 2020-2021 to address challenges in access to literacy with school and library closings during the Covid-19 pandemic.

sample size

n=451 (families)


Not discussed.


451 families and counting have been enrolled in the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library during their pediatric ER visits since our screening and recruitment program launched in February 2021.


Educating families about the educational benefits of early childhood literacy while providing age-appropriate books has long been known to be an impactful intervention for the academic success of young children. Targeting families seeking care in the ER- often for non-urgent medical concerns- offers another clinical setting for this focused intervention.


Not discussed.