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News from Reach Out and Read Washington State
In This Issue
New Tribal Programs on the Olympic Peninsula
Washington State Legislative Update - Speak Up for Reach Out and Read!
Hill Day - Reach Out and Read Travels to Washignton DC
Reach Out and Read and Library Leaders Meet in DC
Governor's Spouse Visit Reach Out and Read Program
Put Books in the Hands of Children
Follow Us on Facebook
Support Reach Out and Read in Washington

Your Amazon shopping you benefit Reach Out and Read programs!  

 March 2011




March Madness---and we don't mean basketball--seems to abound when it comes to budget and policy discussions at both the state and federal levels.  We just returned from Washington DC, and it is almost surreal to think the federal government is functioning on 2-week budget plans!  We don't normally focus our newsletter on advocacy requests.  However, times are unprecedented, and we must  let you, our supporters, know how this situtation impacts our services to children and families. We could focus on the worst case scenario- that Reach Out and Read could lose all of its federal funding, and all of its state funding.  Or we could focus on the astounding work our doctors do each day with children and families, and how we lead the nation in the creative way Reach Out and Read is becoming part of the most forward-thinking early learning system in the country.   So...we are doing a bit of both in this newsletter!  

    We will focus first on the most important--sharing our latest expansion success to support Native American families. This is what Reach Out and Read is all about--partnering with doctors and families to support communities in ways that work for them.    

   Then we will share the budget status at state and federal levels--and ask for you to speak up.  We need this funding to continue, and you can help.

      Finally we will share examples of how Reach Out and Read Washington leads--with libraries and with "First Spouses."   We are a program that serves and that leads, always through collaboration.

     Doctors are the only professionals with access to almost every parent and child in the state, especially families of infants and toddlers. Our partnerships with you enable doctors to support parents as the first teachers of over 67,000 children through an evidence-based, extraordinarily cost-effective program across Washington state.  Please raise your voice for young children and families--and Reach Out and Read's vital role in our state's future.  

With appreciation, 

Jill, Mary Ann, Patricia and Jessica

....because Reading Is Doctor-Recommended




Quileute and Makah Tribes among the newest Reach Out and Read Programs in Washington state.  We have enjoyed working with doctors and other leaders in the health clinics serving these communities in remote La Push and Neah Bay over the past year.  We share their excitement in officially launching these new Reach Out and Read programs!  These clinics were launched through the Culture of Literacy Initiative supported by Thrive by Five Washington, in partnership with the Olympic Kitsap Early Learning Coalition. Access to services, including books and libraries, is a challenge in rural Washington. Families really appreciate receiving books and support at the health clinics.  Reach Out and Read now has 14 tribal programs across Washington, up from two when we launched our statewide effort in 2007.  We work closely with our national American Indian/Alaska Native Initiative, as Reach Out and Read strives to serve and support familiies within these diverse communities. 

Legislative banner

Speak up for Reach Out and Read and other Early Learning programs. Despite incredibly difficult budget cuts, investing in evidence-based early learning programs is vital to our state's future. The Early Learning Action Alliance is advocating to preserve vital programs, including Reach Out and Read. The 2011-13 biennial budget is being negotiated now in the Ways and Means Committees. Please contact Representative Ross Hunter (House Chair) and Senator Ed Murray (Senate Chair) and ask them to preserve Reach Out and Read's funding in the biennial budget. This is necessary to help us continue to support parents as their child's first teacher through doctors' offices in 28 counties across the state. Our doctors reach over 67,000 young children and families each year, yet Reach Out and Read is often less visible to the Legislature than the other programs that need to be preserved. Take 5 minutes to make a difference! 

Capital Washington DCThe Reach Out and Read Washington State  team brought early learning messages to our federal delegation.  Last week we joined our colleagues for our national meeting, followed by a day on Capitol Hill.  It was a great opportunity to update our legislators on Washington State's leadership in the field of early learning, including the growth of Reach Out and Read Washington.  Our national funding is at risk alongside many other national programs, including AmeriCorps, because of where we 'sit' in the budget process.  It is unclear what will happen with the budget overall, but it is important for our delegation to hear about Reach Out and Read. The Prescribe A Book Act would make Reach Out and Read's federal funding more stable moving forward, and Senators Murray and Cantwell and Congressman McDermott have already co-sponsored the bill.  Please contact your member of Congress to ask for their support for Reach Out and Read at the federal level.  Thank Senator Murray and Cantwell, and find your Member of Congress here.  $6 million in federal funding helps support 3.9 million children each year! This U.S. Department of Education funding provided over $100,000 in books directly to programs across Washington State this year, and helps us leverage state and local dollars.
IMLS WA TeamMeeting with Institute for Library and Museum Services (ILMS) Builds on Washington State Reach Out and Read-Library Partnerships. IMLS Director Susan Hildreth, former Seattle City Librarian, welcomed our team to the "other Washington." (2nd from right, with WA team). We were pleased to be part of a national Reach Out and Read team which brought together our pediatrician and library leadership, including Reach Out and Read Wisconsin Director Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, who is both a librarian and a pediatrician; and Reach Out and Read Washington Program Director Jessica Mortensen, who holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from the UW Information School.  We reviewed existing Reach Out and Read-Library Partnerships, including the Early Learning Public Library Partnership (ELPLP) in Washington State. We began to brainstorm additional ways for Reach Out and Read and libraries to partner together to support early learning in the future. Susan noted that early learning initiatives are a high priority for many agencies in Washington DC, and that the ELPLP could be a very instructive model for other libraries seeking to be involved in community efforts in early learning. Reach Out and Read appreciates our partnership with the ELPLP, and it was exciting to hear the IMLS Director speak of this innovative effort in high regard!

Mike GregoireWashington's First Gentleman recently helped introduce 26 other 'First Spouses' to Reach Out and Read through a program site visit. Washington is one of 14 states that provides funding for Reach Out and Read programs.


 "There's no greater skill a parent can teach their child than the ability to read," said Mike Gregoire. "That's why I spent so much time sharing stories with my own two daughters, and why I've made reading to children a priority of mine. At a time when resources are thin - and many parents are struggling to make ends meet - promoting literacy can sometimes be placed on the back-burner. I applaud the work of Reach Out and Read, which has come up with a unique way to place books in exam rooms, and use the trusting relationship between parents and their child's doctor to reinforce the importance of reading."


"Our hope is that the spouses will recognize the importance of supporting early literacy programs for all of our nation's children, said Anne-Marie Fitzgerald, Reach Out and Read's Senior Director of National and State Programs. "If we want to ensure the future economic security of our nation, the strength of our workforce, and the health of our children, it is critical that we invest in closing the school readiness gap." 



Support Reach Out and Read while you shop

Dr.Woodruff and familyYou can help doctors put books into children's hands without spending an extra dime! If you do any shopping online via, a portion of your purchase can support ROR across Washington state.  Simply go to and click on the logo on the left bottom corner of the page to begin your shopping.  If you click through and make a purchase, at least 4% will go directly to Reach Out and Read in Washington! This is an ongoing partnership for us, so please take this extra step before shopping at Amazon and share this opportunity with your friends and family.
Please consider also making a direct tax-deductible donation to Reach Out and Read: Donate on Line. Just $5 can help place a beautiful book where it belongs, in a child's home.

Photo courtesy of Pediatrics Northwest PS, Tacoma


Find us on Facebook


Reach Out and Read Washington State is now on Facebook.  If you are a Facebook user, we would appreciate your support as we work to build our presence and increase awareness about our work. Please indicate you LIKE us.  If you could also suggest our Facebook page to your friends, that would go a long way in helping us spread our message about early literacy - thanks!


Reach Out and Read helps prepare children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.  Our evidence-based, proven program leverages the volunteer time of doctors to make literacy a standard part of well-child visits. Reach Out and Read supports parents as their child's first teacher. Through 119 programs in 28 counties, over 700 medical providers serve more than 67,000 children and families.

Founded in 2007, Reach Out and Read Washington State supports programs across the state.  We are part of the national, evidence-based Reach Out and Read Program, now in its 21st year.
Reach Out and Read Washington State

Dr. Jill Sells - Regional Director
Dr. Mary Ann Woodruff - Medical Director
Patricia M. Hennessy, MPA - Director of Community Partnerships
Jessica Mortensen, MLIS - Program Director


Telephone - 206-524-3579
Fax - 206-524-4768

155 NE 100th Street - Suite 301, Seattle WA 98125