In fiscal year 2010, 171,559 new books were given to children and countless hours of read aloud advice to their parents in Los Angeles County.

About Us

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud.

Reach Out and Read builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning at 6 months of age. The 3.8 million families served annually by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies, with stronger language skills, and better prepared to succeed.


The Reach Out and Read Model

Pediatric healthcare providers (including pediatricians, family physicians, and pediatric nurse practitioners) are trained in the three-part Reach Out and Read model to promote early literacy and school readiness:

  • In the exam room, doctors and nurses speak with parents about the importance of reading aloud to their young children every day, and offer age-appropriate tips and encouragement.

  • The pediatric primary care provider gives every child 6 months through 5 years old a new, developmentally-appropriate children's book to take home and keep.

  • In the waiting room, displays, information, and gently-used books create a literacy-rich environment. Where possible, volunteer readers entertain the children, modeling for parents the pleasures - and techniques - of reading aloud.


Our Mission

Reach Out and Read prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.

Reach Out and Read trains doctors and nurses to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and to give books to children at pediatric checkups from 6 months through 5 years of age, with a special focus on children growing up in poverty. By building on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers, Reach Out and Read helps families and communities encourage early literacy skills so children enter school prepared for success in reading.


We Persevere Against All Odds

Despite significant economic obstacles, Reach Out and Read Los Angeles has assisted Reach Out and Read Programs to give 171,559 new books to children and countless hours of literacy-focused advice to parents during Fiscal Year 2010. The children served by Reach Out and Read enter kindergarten better prepared to succeed, with a home library of up to 10 brand-new children's books and highly-engaged parents. Reach Out and Read serves 3.9 million children and families nationwide at 4,654 locations. There are currently 126 ROR Programs in Los Angeles County with a team of 995 trained doctors and nurses, Program Coordinators and volunteer readers.


Not a penny wasted. Not a minute lost. Every book finds a home.

An army of volunteers: The Reach Out and Read model is delivered by a team of 27,000 volunteer doctors, nurses, medical staff, and caring adults. Because all Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses volunteer the time they spend on early literacy, the primary cost of the program is the actual children's books.

Low overhead: Reach Out and Read operates within the existing healthcare infrastructure, so it doesn't require 4,500 offices or additional staff members nationwide.

A trusted messenger: Parents trust and value the advice they receive from their child's physician. Reach Out and Read is unique in using a trusted authority figure, in the special setting of the medical visit, to promote a child's learning.

Broad scope and reach: Participating medical providers offer the Reach Out and Read program to all children from 6 months through 5 years of age at each regular checkup.

Hope for educational success: Reach Out and Read explicitly ties reading aloud to later school success; this strategy matches the aspiration that parents have for their children.

Positive reinforcement: By age 1, if there are books at home, children will "demand" to hear them read aloud. The positive, loving attention children receive during story time motivates them to initiate the interaction again and again.

Stretching every dollar: Deep discounts from publishers, as well as an innovative bulk-purchasing program, enable Reach Out and Read to buy more than twice as many books as it could at standard retail pricing.


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A Few Minutes is OK
Young children can only sit for a few minutes for a story, but as they grow, they will sit longer.

  Awards list

2013 David M. Rubenstein Prize Winner

  • ROR was featured on the NBC Nightly News on March 12th, 2007, launching a week-long series called "What Works." The ROR segment featured Dr. Barry Zuckerman (ROR Co-Founder) and several families at Boston Medical Center, highlighting information about ROR and what makes the program so successful. You can view the segment at MSN Nightly News.

  • ROR has also been awarded the Independent Charities Seal of Excellence by the Independent Charities of America. Independent Charities has a set of criteria that must be met to be able to be part of a federated group of charities to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign around the country.

  • One of the two UNESCO Confucius Prizes for Literacy was attributed to ROR. The UNESCO prizes are awarded annually in recognition of particularly effective contributions to the fight against illiteracy, one of UNESCO's priorities. The award ceremony took place on September 10th in Mali.