ROR Logo Small
News from Reach Out and Read Washington State
In This Issue
Families Respond to Conversations about Language Development
Thrive By Five Partners with Reach Out and Read
Help Put Books in the Hands of Children
State Local Coordination Effort Seeks Input
Reach Out and Read Washington State is on Facebook
About Reach Out and Read Washington State
Support Reach Out and Read in Washington

Your Amazon shopping you benefit Reach Out and Read programs!  

November 2012

"I saw a 4-year-old for his well-child visit. He had just moved in with his grandmother and did not have any books at the house. They were both so thankful to receive his Reach Out and Read book. We also have books that are donated by the local used bookstore, so we were able to send them home with several of these books as well."

- Liette Witherrite, MD, White Salmon


Thankfulness is something many of us having been thinking about recently. Over the holiday, we went around the extended family table and shared what we are thankful for, and the list included family, friends, food, housing, books, school and jobs. Pretty basic stuff, and from the grandparents to the 'tween' at the table, it was good for us to articulate these things together.


When I think about the work we do at Reach Out and Read, it is simultaneously both simple and complex. We are engaging parents in their child's learning from the time of birth, and demonstrating how this connects with their kindergarten readiness, their reading skills at 3rd grade, and ultimately their chances in school and life. But we are also simply putting a beautiful book in a child's hand, and encouraging their parent, grandparent, and other family members to cuddle up with them that night with a wonderful story. And that gift, of a children's book chosen just for them, is something that children and families are profoundly grateful for each and every time. Our doctors see it every day, and Dr. Witherrite's description is a common experience. Households throughout the state have no books at home.


This is such a simple thing to fix, when medical providers see almost every young family on regular basis. Every child in Washington should have at least one adult reading to them every day, with a book of their very own. Books are not a luxury for children; they are a necessity for a basic education. But they are not free, and when resources are limited, families understandably choose to feed and clothe their child rather than purchase a book.


The elections are (mostly) over, and the scramble to choose leaders and begin to determine how the legislature and executive branch will function in the coming session is happening right now. The budget situation once again will be extremely difficult, and the focus will largely be on education, the paramount duty of our state. As the very real needs of the K-12 system are discussed, we must not lose sight of the basics--we must help children arrive at kindergarten with the early literacy skills they need to succeed, or our K-12 system will not be able to produce the improved outcomes that it must achieve. We must engage parents, starting at birth, so their powerful influence and love for their child becomes a more effective force to help improve educational outcomes across Washington State.


But the good news is that we know what to do about it, and we're doing it! Reach Out and Read is Washington's statewide parent engagement and early literacy program. And we're the largest early learning program in the state, reaching an estimated 86,000 young children along with their parents.


We are thankful for the dedicated force of 1,000 medical providers in Washington (so far!) who incorporate Reach Out and Read into their daily practice, contributing the expertise, relationships and the time that make it possible to implement this proven program in such a cost-efficient way. And we are profoundly grateful to the parents our medical providers care for each day. They love their children and they want to help them be healthy and ready for school. They leave each Reach Out and Read visit with a better understanding of how very important they are to their child's learning, and they go home with the confidence, and the book, to make a proven difference that very day. Through your advocacy, your partnerships, your donations, and any other avenues you have, please help us continue to make this possible.


With gratitude,

Jill Sells, MD and the Reach Out and Read Washington team




Doctor-parent interactions are enhanced through Reach Out and Read in tribal clinics. One of the reasons Reach Out and Read is so successful is that the program is integrated into the well-child visits that children and families already receive during the earliest months and years of life. Our proven program is delivered in a place families already go, through a messenger they trust: their child's health care provider. Once Reach Out and Read has been incorporated into a clinic's regular practice, medical providers and staff readily note the impact on families, and the way it helps transform pediatric care.


"The Reach Out and Read program has brought structure around reading to the tribal clinic. The program has really served as a springboard or touch point to reach out to the parents and discuss the importance of speech and language development in their kids," says Dr. Scott Lindquist, Director of Health, Kitsap Public Health District and Pediatrician at the Port Gamble S'Klallam Medical Clinic. "In addition, it allows me to connect with both Moms and Dads about the importance of spending time with their kids through reading. Of course the kids love getting a new book but the biggest change has been the willingness of native families to appreciate the importance of reading. It really helps that the books are culturally appropriate. I know that it is said in many different ways from our front desk to the nurses, medical assistants and the physicians...but when I take the time to hand them "Goodnight Moon" and tell them that this is a book I read to all three of my kids, it makes a lasting impression that our clinic cares enough to do the same thing for their kids that we do for our own."


Reach Out and Read is pleased to serve families in partnership with tribes across Washington. There are now 16 Reach Out and Read programs in tribal settings, both urban and rural, stretching from Neah Bay to Pend Oreille County. We strive to develop partnerships to enable us to sustain and expand programs serving Native American families living in Washington, and would like to offer the program to all tribal clinics in the state. 





New grant continues to support statewide parent engagement strategy.  We'd like to thank Thrive by Five Washington for a grant of $65,000 to continue to support Reach Out and Read's statewide network of programs. Pediatricians Dr. Jill Sells and Dr. Mary Ann Woodruff started Reach Out and Read Washington State in 2007 in partnership with Thrive by Five and the Department of Early Learning. Subsequent funding through Thrive's Culture of Literacy Initiative helped support program expansion in collaboration with community-based early learning coalitions. We appreciate Thrive's continued partnership to help doctors engage parents and improve early literacy outcomes for young children.


"Thrive by Five Washington wholeheartedly believes parents are their children's first and most important teachers, and we know all parents need support to do the best job possible," says Nina Auerbach, CEO of Thrive by Five Washington. "Thanks to Reach Out and Read, more parents get that support from someone they highly trust in their own community--their child's doctor. We're honored to call Reach Out and Read our partner."  



Photo courtesy of Jill LeGrow


Every dollar counts! One of the fun things about Reach Out and Read is the continual interest by physicians in the program. We have an on-line application process, and when an application is started, it generates an email notification to Reach Out and Read Washington staff. This quickly puts us into a conversation about the children and families they care for, and what the budget would be to make sure every child in their practice can receive a book. And if we can find that money together somehow, they can start the program. We always want the programs to be sustainable, and it's a continual effort to raise money through public and private funds to purchase books, and to provide the supports that enable doctors to implement high quality programs across the state. 


The total investment needed for a high quality statewide Reach Out and Read program is about $17 per year for each child. And each $1 of that investment immediately leverages a value of $8 in services provided by doctors' offices. Economists have shown that investments in early learning provide the best overall return on investment, for both the child and society. From either a short- or long-term perspective, there's no better "bang for your buck!"


In today's newsletter, you learned about a new grant from Thrive and the need to grow state funding to help equalize opportunities for young children and parents across the state. At the same time, individual donations make a real difference to our work. In the spirit of thankfulness for the blessings in your life, please make a donation to support Reach Out and Read in Washington State. Thank you!



DEL Logo  

Second public comment period open until December 21st. The Washington Early Learning Partnership (the Department of Early Learning, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Thrive by Five Washington) wants your input! Earlier this year, the partners launched the Washington Early Learning State and Local Coordination Project, focusing on how to strengthen coordination among the partners within our early learning system.


The partners invite you to review and comment on a set of Preliminary Recommendations that has been created based on the advice and research the project has collected. Please go to the project webpage to review the Preliminary Recommendations and complete an online survey. In addition, please feel free to share this information with your contacts and networks, and encourage others to complete the survey.


Reach Out and Read Washington State is a coordinated state and local effort. We recognize the value of aligned goals and strategies to improve outcomes at the state level, and to provide equal opportunity across Washington. At the same time, children are living in families within local communities, where all services are provided. Our program is founded on this principle. We provide efficient and effective services across the whole state to support local doctors who know the families they serve, and their communities, the best. Ultimately the state-local coordination effort will help all the systems and services for early learning to be connected and more effective. Please contribute your perspective!



Find us on Facebook


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! 




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 influence of children's doctors and makes literacy a standard part of well-child checkups from ages 6 months through 5 years. Reach Out and Read supports parents as their child's first teacher and helps children be ready for kindergarten. 


Through 143 programs in 30 counties, 1000 medical providers serve an estimated 86,000 children and their families across Washington. Reach Out and Read Washington State is a Regional Office of Reach Out and Read, Inc., a national not-for-profit 501c3 organization.


Email -

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

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


Did you receive this from a friend? Sign up for the Reach Out and Read Washington Newsletter.