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Reach Out and Read: A National Pediatric Early Literacy Program

“Giving a book to a young child, along with age-appropriate advice about sharing books for the parents, may be the only concrete activity a pediatrician can routinely do to promote child development.”

Barry S. Zuckerman, MD, Reach Out and Read co-founder


Partnering with Reach Out and Read


Pediatrics Northwest, PS, is pleased to be an ongoing partner with the national award-winning Reach Out and Read program. Reach Out and Read makes books part of a healthy childhood and a standard part of pediatric care. Through this program, children grow up with books and develop a love of reading.


History of Reach Out and Read


Reach Out and Read began in Boston in 1989.Today, Reach Out and Read partners with more than 5,800 program sites and distributes 6.9 million books per year. The program currently serves one in four children living in poverty in this country, and continues to grow each year. Pediatrics Northwest has participated in the program since January 2001, and our own Dr. Mary Ann Woodruff is medical director for Reach Out and Read Washington State. (The News Tribune, 01/25/09)


New Books to Take Home

At every well-child exam from the age of 6 months to 5 years, our patients receive a new, developmentally-appropriate children’s book to take home and keep. In fact, we raise funds for Reach Out and Read and distribute more than 10,000 books annually to our families. 

These efforts are supported by the non-profit Friends of Pediatrics Northwest, a tax-deductible charitable organization. Donations are greatly appreciated — you may mail a check to any Pediatrics Northwest office, or contact us at 253-383-5777 for more information.

You can also support Reach Out and Read when you shop through Amazon! Be sure to start at and choose Reach Out & Read as the charitable organization you want to support!


Practical Application

Our doctors and nurse practitioners encourage parents to read aloud with their children. We also offer valuable tips to make the reading experience enjoyable and successful. In addition, we have many volunteers who come to our clinics to read aloud and play with our children while they wait to be seen, enhancing their reading experience.

Reach Out and Read is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which believes that promoting the love of books and reading is vital to a pediatric practice.

Dr. Woodruff and Executive Director, Dr. Jill Sells, discuss how doctors support the literacy development of children and empower parents to be their children's first teacher.

“The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”

The Commission on Reading, Becoming a Nation of Readers

A look into the science behind Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read is working toward the day when all children enter kindergarten supported by highly engaged parents, ready to learn, and prepared to excel.
Did you know? 
  • Fewer than half (48 percent) of young children in the United States are read to daily. More details
  • By age 3, children from lower-income families have heard roughly 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers. More details
  • Families living in poverty often lack the money to buy new books, as well as access to libraries. More details
  • Participating medical providers offer the Reach Out and Read intervention to all children at each well-child visit from 6 months through 5 years of age. Most children see their pediatrician at least 10 times during this period. More details
View more science behind Reach Out and Read on their website.