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News from Reach Out and Read Washington State
In This Issue
Legislative Update- Focus on Special Session
Reach Out and Read Impact in Washington State
Maternal Child Health Leaders Focus on Reach Out and Read Washington State
Put Books in the Hands of Children
Follow Us on Facebook
About Us
Support Reach Out and Read in Washington

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November 2011



A favorite pastime in our family is spotting the prettiest trees as they evolve through the fall. Each day, and every corner, brings an opportunity for a new pattern of color and beauty. While wind and rain have now carried many leaves away, I can still look out my office window at the final stages of autumn's gorgeous display.  Taking a deep breath and really looking at all that is beautiful around me helps me smile and be energized for today.  And we need energy!  The fight for kids and our future is on, and collectively we need to keep working on behalf of early learning. We are experiencing some mood swings here at Reach Out and Read, as our work in Washington is being recognized nationally (see AMCHP conference below) and our services for children and famlies grow (see our latest data), at the same time as the Governor's preliminary budget proposal recommends the elimination of our state funding


Here is the real need: Early literacy skills put children on a path toward reading proficiency in 3rd grade, which sets the stage for success in school and life. Yet only half of children entering kindergarten in Washington state have age-appropriate language, literacy and communication skills (WaKIDS pilot).  Recognizing this, Early Literacy is a 2011 Early Learning Plan Priority Strategy for the Department of Early Learning (DEL), OSPI and Thrive by Five. 


Reach Out and Read is DEL's only literacy line item, yet it has been targeted for elimination. This would devastate our ability to support parents as their child's first teacher, as a vital part of our statewide early learning system.  We're asking for your help so that we can continue to serve over 81,000 children and their families across Washington.  So, please read on, learn a bit more, and chime in with your support.  Children and families need your voice right now!


With appreciation,

 Jill Sells MD and The Reach Out and Read Washington State Team


....because Reading Is Doctor-Recommended 

Legislative Update - Focus on Special Session

 Washington State Capital 

Devastating potential cuts include Reach Out and Read. Last week the Governor released the list of likely cuts she will present to the Legislature later this month. Buried on page 27 (33 of the PDF) is complete elimination of state funding for Reach Out and Read.  We are very concerned about the impact of devastating cuts on children and families during this very difficult economic time. The "cumulative toll" of the cuts over time is immense. In early literacy, an account which once held $3 million state dollars is empty, with the only remaining early literacy line item in DEL's budget being $300,000 for Reach Out and Read.  The Governor now proposes to eliminate that. While we sympathize with the budget situation, and we absolutely appreciate the Governor's support for early learning, we think this cut is "penny wise and pound foolish." 


In 4 short years we have established a statewide system of 127 evidence-based programs serving over 81,000 children and their families!  We have leveraged those state dollars more than 7-fold in federal and private funding, and together this leverages another $6.8 million in donated services through our volunteer medical providers.  We share the data and the success of all of our efforts with the state, as shown in our most recent report to DEL.  We are asking the Governor to reconsider, and legislators to include this very small line item--which represents only $2 per child per year of state investment, but has a proven impact, and broad reach. Please see our legislative one pager for information you can share with your legislators.  Thank you! 


Reach Out and Read Impact in Washington State 


father baby

Now serving more than 81,000 children and their families! Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills, thus better prepared to achieve their potential. With 14 studies demonstrating consistently positive findings, it is no longer necessary to "prove" Reach Out and Read works. It is time to implement the program with fidelity and take it to scale, so that child outcomes improve. Therefore our theory of change to improve school readiness outcomes for children through Reach Out and Read encompasses three inter-related activities: 1) Provide the Reach Out and Read program to families; 2) Enhance program quality through professional development and technical assistance; and 3) Integrate Reach Out and Read into the Early Learning System. 

We collect and analyze program data every 6 months, and present our impact in a formal report. On Halloween we finalized and submitted our latest report to DEL. This summarizes the services provided during the last fiscal year--a time when $150,000 in state funds supported our work. We are thrilled to share with you that during that year Reach Out and Read medical providers gave 122,145 books to young children and their parents during well-child checkups. Our services are continually growing--in July 2011 our programs reported a total of 78,507 well child visits in the previous 6 months, compared to 58,687 the previous July. Thus in one year's time we have increased one-on-one Reach Out and Read checkups with families by 20,000 visits within a 6-month period!  But just as important as the large scope of our services, is the diversity of the population we serve. Collectively our programs serve mostly low-income families, many of whom are English language learners, with a significant presence in tribal communities and rural areas where families are often not receiving other parenting and early learning supports.


Maternal Child Health Leaders Focus on 

Reach Out and Read Washington State  



Reach Out and Read State Systems approach will be highlighted at AMCHP national conference in Washington, DC. Dr. Sells is honored to have been selected to present our work at a national conference in February, along with Lorrie Grevstad with the federal Division of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Systems, Region X (previously with the Washington State Department of Health and a leader in the Early Learning Plan Development), and Maureen Finneran from the American Academy of Pediatrics. We will present at the 2012 Association of Maternal and Child Health Professionals (AMCHP) Annual Conference in Washington, DC: Improving Maternal and Child Health Across the Life Span: Acting Today for Healthy Tomorrows.

Our "power session" is called Engaging Medical Providers and Reach Out and Read in State Early Learning Strategies to Promote School Readiness. We will highlight Washington's cutting edge approach to Reach Out and Read, including its role in the state Early Learning Plan. Other states are eager to learn from us in this national presentation (and we really hope not to say on this national stage that the state just cut our funding!) 


Help Put Books in the Hands of Children

Support Reach Out and Read while you shop, or make a donation.

Dr.Woodruff and family If you shop at, a portion of your purchase can support us. 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  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.

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Reach Out and Read Washington State is on Facebook.  Please 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! 

About Reach Out and Read Washington State

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 127 programs in 28 counties, over 800 medical providers serve more than 81,000 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, founded in 1989.


Email -

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

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