Our Story

Reach Out & Read Iowa's Story

Our first program launched in 1998 at Blank's Children's Hospital, distributing 3,551 books within their first year. Since then, we have grown tremendously. In 2019, Reach Out & Read Iowa has 100 active programs serving 80,912 children.


We recruit and support all prospective programs and providers, especially clinics serving children with risk factors for school failure, such as low income status, depending on public or no health insurance, minority race or ethnicity, and English language learners.

Learn how Reach Out & Read program sites positively impact Iowa families. 

Recruitment, training and technical assistance, assuring quality, raising awareness, advocacy, and public/private funding are all components of Reach Out and Read Iowa's continued success in promoting and encouraging families to talk, sing, play and read together.


Reach Out & Read's National Story

Two Boston Medical Center pediatricians introduced the first Reach Out and Read program in 1989. American Academy of Pediatrics officially endorsed The Reach Out and Read Model in 1998. By 2001, Reach Out & Read had 1,456 programs sites in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, distributing 1.6 million books. We were awarded the international Confucius Prize from United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2007. In 2011, when we expanded our programs to 51 U.S. military bases, serving more than 25% of children living on military bases.

At the end of 2018, Reach Out and Read has a total of 6,200 programs in the U.S and distributed 7 million books to 4.8 million children.  In 2019 Reach Out and Read proudly celebrated 30 years of partnering with families and the pediatric community. 

 

Our Model 

The Reach Out and Read model of literacy promotion and family engagement consists of three key elements:

• Primary care providers (Doctors, NPs and PAs) are trained to deliver anticipatory literacy guidance to parents and caregivers of children from infancy through 5 years of age during each well-child visit. This age-appropriate guidance centers on the importance of elements such as: 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 preschoolers. Providers also use this opportunity to model reading aloud and introduce it as another way to support positive interactions between caregiver and child.
• During well-child visits for children ages 6 months through 5 years, the provider starts the visit by giving the child a new, developmentally appropriate book to take home, building a child’s collection of 8-10 new books before kindergarten.
• Reach Out and Read 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 with very young children.


Every Child

We know that every child can benefit from reading becoming a part of their lives. However, we also know that making reading a priority is easier for some families than for others, and that certain children are more likely than others to need additional help. 

To that end, we have resources that bring our program to those communities that most stand to benefit from Reach Out and Read.

#ReadTogether

DR. AMY SHRIVEr, Medical director, reach OUT AND READ IOWA

Reach Out and Read’s video project #ReadTogether encourages family reading time and bonding by asking individuals to film and share videos of themselves reading children’s books aloud.

#ReadTogether video of Dr. Shriver reads to daughter, Emma Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

#ReadTogether with Peter Reynolds

Reach Out and Read’s video project #ReadTogether encourages family reading time and bonding by asking individuals to film and share videos of themselves reading children’s books aloud.

Children's book author, illustrator and founder of FableVision, Peter H. Reynolds reads "Say Something" to inspire children to share their feelings, thoughts, and dreams!

DR. NATHAN CHOMILO, Reach out and read minnesota

Reach Out and Read’s video project #ReadTogether encourages family reading time and bonding by asking individuals to film and share videos of themselves reading children’s books aloud.

Dr. Nathan Chomilo, Reach Out and Read Minnesota reads to son, The Little Excavator

To see more of our #ReadTogether videos visit our YouTube Channel.