Media Highlights

Pediatricians Say Books Are the Key to Opportunity For All Children

by Judith Forman   •  

For millions of children and families nationwide, opportunity comes in the form of a book.

The book is filled with words and pictures which lead to dreams and ideas – and hopefully to success in school, and in life.

By sharing a love of reading with these children – many of whom are growing up at high risk for illiteracy in low-income communities – we are opening them up to a future with opportunity.

At Reach Out and Read, we prepare America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors and nurses to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. Our 27,000 doctors and nurses distribute books and advice to nearly 4 million children and families nationwide, through 4,654 community health centers and clinics.

As a result, each child enters kindergarten with a home library of up to 10 books and a parent who has heard at every checkup about the importance of books and reading.


Reach Out and Read is providing an opportunity many American children do not have:  More than one-third of children enter kindergarten without the basic language skills they will need to learn to read.  That’s because 52 percent of parents do not read to their children daily.

Research shows that 88 percent of first graders who are below grade level in reading will continue to read below grade level in fourth grade. And reading difficulty contributes to school failure, which increases the risk of dropping out, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy. These perpetuate the cycles of poverty and dependency.

But, from the opportunity of the book, comes the opportunity to succeed.

Children served by Reach Out and Read show significant gains in language and a six-month development edge over their peers in the preschool years. These children also score higher on vocabulary tests and school readiness assessments. As a result, the first of a series of doors of opportunity start to open.

And it all starts with the turn of a page.

Reach Out and Read is proud to join the OpportunityNation coalition to help effect change in America’s schools, communities, and families. Through partnerships with like-minded organizations, we can promote dialogue and policies that make a significant difference in the lives of our fellow citizens. Reach Out and Read has seen this first-hand through our long-standing partnerships with corporations like Scholastic and Target and other nonprofit organizations likeReading Is Fundamental and First Book.

For more on Reach Out and Read – and how you can get involved  – visit Follow the discussion at and


Judith Forman

Public Awareness Manager, Reach Out and Read

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