Educational Institutions

Reach Out and Read, Inc.

where great stories begin

Boston, MA

Mission

Reach Out and Read gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. Our objective is to improve emergent literacy and social-emotional health during the span of rapid brain development between birth and age five, particularly in economically disadvantaged families who are at risk for adverse outcomes. We do this by partnering with pediatric medical providers who encourage parents to read aloud regularly with their children, and provide the knowledge and tools families need to nurture early learning, providing the best start for their children. Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills.

Notes from the Nonprofit

"The Reach Out and Read Program has had a significant impact on how many families view spending quality time with their children. Many parents didn't realize the difference between reading/looking at books with their child versus allowing the child to "learn" while watching TV, or playing with electronic devices. It's been very heartening to see how both the parent and child react to the book we give during well child visits. We have many families who don't have books so looking at a book together during a visit is often a very new and unique experience. Parents seem thrilled when their child shows interest in the book." Pediatric Outpatient Care / UM St. Joseph's Medical Group, MD

Ruling Year

1999

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Brian Gallagher

Main Address

89 South Street, Suite 201

Boston, MA 02111 USA

Keywords

literacy, early childhood education, books, reading, school readiness

EIN

04-3481253

 Number

8521228168

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Education N.E.C. (B99)

Health - General and Rehabilitative N.E.C. (E99)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Literacy is the foundation for all learning and is the "single most significant factor" affecting a child's success in school (National Commission on Reading). Yet, alarmingly, 1 in 3 kindergarteners nationally enter school without the basic language skills required for reading – putting them at a tremendous disadvantage on day one. Arriving at school unprepared to read, which is the case for most children in low-income families, children are unlikely to ever catch up as academic demands accelerate. Today, 45 million adults in the US are functionally illiterate, reading below a 5th grade level and 1 in 4 children grow up without learning how to read. Illiteracy is far more than the inability to read a good book. It is linked to almost every major global development challenge there is, from infant mortality and malnutrition to gender inequality and unemployment (Project Literacy). Reach Out and Read (ROR) strives to provide all children with the opportunity to learn to read.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Reach Out and Read

Special Initiative: Leyendo Juntos (Reading Together)

Special Initiative: American Indian/Alaska Native Initiative

Special Initiative: Reach Out and Read in the Military

Special Initiative: Books Count - Reach Out and Read’s Early Math Initiative

Special Initiative: Developmental Disabilities

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of books distributed

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Infants to preschool (under age 5),

At-risk youth,

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Related program

Reach Out and Read

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

At each well-child visit from six months through five years of age, the child receives a new book to take home and build their home library. We track books distributed to ensure program efficacy.

Number of children served

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Infants to preschool (under age 5),

At-risk youth,

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Related program

Reach Out and Read

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

No other early literacy organization has both the scale to reach millions of children nationwide and the solid evidence base to support program effectiveness.

Number of program sites

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Infants to preschool (under age 5),

At-risk youth,

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Related program

Reach Out and Read

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

We partner with over 32,000 pediatric medical providers through 6,200 medical locations (program sites) nationally. Medical providers voluntarily deliver our intervention because it is so impactful.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

“There is a strong argument that tackling illiteracy and low literacy, as a “foundational” social problem, would pay greater defends than tackling each issue separately.” (Dr. Dan Wagner, UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy, University of Pennsylvania) With near universal access to children and families, ROR is uniquely positioned to do exactly that, prevent illiteracy and low literacy in children on a national scale. ROR gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. Our objective is to improve emergent literacy and social-emotional health during the span of rapid brain growth and development between birth and age five, particularly in economically disadvantaged families who are at risk for adverse outcomes. We partner with pediatric medical providers who encourage parents to read aloud regularly with their children, providing the knowledge and tools families need to nurture early learning.

ROR’s intervention is based around a simple model of prescribing shared reading to foster language-rich interactions between parents and children. Beginning at birth, our trusted medical providers coach parents during infant, toddler and preschool well-child visits about the critical role that reading aloud and telling stories should play in their daily routine with their children. At each well-child visit from six months through five years of age, the child also receives a new book to take home and build their home library. Our model of integrating literacy into routine pediatric care is designed to meet families where they are; while less than one-third of children in the US are enrolled in a childcare setting, more than 90% receive a well-child check-up every year. With our unique access to pediatric providers, we can reach nearly all children, and their parents, during the most critical time, the first three years of their lives, when 80% of all brain development occurs.

ROR has been the subject of 15 research studies ( http://reachoutandread.org/our-impact/reach-out-and-read-the-evidence/ ) demonstrating that children served by ROR are read to more often, have better expressive and receptive language skills, and are better prepared for success in school. In a landmark 2014 policy statement calling on pediatric providers to promote early literacy development from infancy to at least kindergarten entry, the American Academy of Pediatrics cited studies of ROR to conclude that “research has revealed that parents listen and children learn as a result of literacy promotion by pediatricians, which provides a practical and evidence-based opportunity to support early brain development in primary care practice." By making literacy promotion a standard part of pediatric care, we are leveraging the child development expertise of doctors to prepare at-risk children for academic success. No other early literacy organization has both the scale to reach millions of children nationally and the evidence base to support program effectiveness.

Because of the scale of our program and the restrictions on data collection when operating in a medical environment, we are generally unable to directly measure language skills by individual children. However, in certain locations, we survey a sample of parents /caregivers served by ROR asking, among other things, how many days a week they read aloud with their child. We use reading together as the best available proxy for demonstrating school readiness progress as research shows that, as the American Academy of Pediatrics summarizes, “Reading aloud with young children is one of the most effective ways to expose them to enriched language and to encourage specific early literacy skills needed to promote school readiness… Reading with children in their infancy and preschool years is associated with higher language skills at school entry and with childhood literacy acquisition.”

Since our inception in 1989 in Boston, MA, ROR has expanded from 1 clinic, 2 pediatricians, and 500 children and families to partnering with 32,700 pediatric providers at 6,000 healthcare locations nationally. Annually, we impact 4.7 million children and distribute over 7 million new books. We have shown that reading aloud with infants and toddlers connects to the most significant parts of a child’s development. Shared reading provides children with a fertile learning environment—encouraging curiosity and imagination while promoting resiliency and mitigating toxic stress. Our work started with early literacy, but naturally extended to social-emotional development and so much more. As we look to the future, we hope to make our intervention more powerful and individualized for the families we serve, especially through our special initiatives; Understanding Developmental Disabilities, Reach Out and Read Counts, Leyendo Juntos (Reading Together) and our Military Initiative.

External Reviews

Awards

Recommended in Policy Statement 2014

American Academy of Pediatrics

Social Capitalist Award 2008

Fast Company/The Monitor Group

Valued Partner 2009

GuideStar Exchange

Seal of Excellence 2008

Independent Charities of America

David M. Rubenstein Prize 2013

Library of Congress

Award of Honor 2013

American Hospital Association

Official Alliance 2014

American Academy of Family Physicians

Ascend Network Learning Partner 2014

Aspen Institute

Global Literacy Campaign Partner 2014

Ralph Lauren

Angel Award 2014

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Confucius Prize for Literacy 2007

UNESCO

Photos

Financials

Reach Out and Read, Inc.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Yes