The Reach Out and Read Program

If you’ve read any of my earlier posts (this one, for example), you probably know how deeply I believe in the importance of reading aloud with children. So I was particularly delighted to hear an NBC report by Kevin Tibbles on a program newly implemented at Scott Air Force Base called “Reach Out and Read.”

Reach Out and Read (ROR) was developed in 1989 and introduced at Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center). The idea behind the program is that the value of reading could be promoted through a partnership with pediatricians. It’s simple, really: When children (as young as six months!) visit their pediatrician, they receive a free book, and parents are encouraged to read the book aloud with their child. You might call it “a prescription for reading” – just what the doctor ordered!

In 2011, Reach Out and Read has 4,688 programs and 28,000 volunteer doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals and has distributed 6.4 million books to 3.9 million children!

Reach Out and Read has now partnered with Joining Forces, a White House effort to support and honor America’s service members and their families. This will double the number of sites in ROR’s Military Initiative by 2013. As the NBC report points out, reading aloud promotes closeness, helps children cope, and helps to bridge the gap when a military parent is away from home on active duty.

You can see Kevin Tibbles’s report, “Making a Difference on the Homefront,” on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams (October 2011) here and find out much more about Reach Out and Read, including local initiatives and coalitions, on the ROR website.

If you have questions about your child’s reading, writing, or spelling skills, or if you would like more information on Lexercise, We’re always happy to hear from you at or 1-919-747-4557.

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

MA/CCC - Cofounder and CKO

Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.