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News from Reach Out and Read Washington State
In This Issue
Doctors Bring Joy of Reading to 100,000 Young Children
Give Big for Reach Out and Read on May 6th
Early Childhood Program Improves Adult Health
Lummi Nation Supports Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read Washington State on Facebook
About Reach Out and Read Washington State
Support Reach Out and Read in Washington
Your Amazon shopping  benefits 
Reach Out and Read programs!  
April 2014

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

--Martin Luther King, Jr.


In 2007 when Dr. Mary Ann Woodruff and I launched Reach Out and Read Washington State, there were 52 programs serving an estimated 28,405 young children in our state. Today I am thrilled to share that we will serve 100,000 children this year! When we set out on this path, we did not know where it would take us. Could we convince busy doctors to participate? Raise funds to buy books that would make it easier for practices? Support quality so that the proven program could be implemented with fidelity? Embed this Birth-5 parent engagement strategy into an evolving early learning system? Build partnerships to serve children and families over the long haul? We didn't know any of this. But we took a leap of faith, paired with good strategy and a lot of dedicated partners, and stepped on the staircase upward. Look how far we've come together! As the demand for our services continues to rise, funding needs increase. On May 6th via GiveBIG you have a chance to help us out and make your dollars go even further.


I didn't know that Martin Luther King, Jr. earned his PhD at Boston University until I saw this quote emblazoned on the wall of the university library recently. But the words immediately resonated with me. The complex work we are doing in early childhood requires nothing less than a seismic shift in what we do as a nation. Even for those of us who "think systems," the complexity of the task at hand can overwhelm us. The costs and the challenges can keep us from significant forward movement. At the same time, the facts irrefutably demonstrate that we must invest in young children and families. If we don't, we will never be able to improve outcomes for kids across the nation, let alone eliminate the opportunity gap.


Change is hard. Systems work and collective impact require strategy and collaboration. But progress also requires faith--faith that if we strategize and work together toward a common goal we will move forward--even when we can't see the whole staircase. For more than 25 years Reach Out and Read has been helping doctors support families through a whole-child approach that integrates health and child development. It is exciting that the interrelationship between health and learning, especially in early childhood, is increasingly being recognized. Learn about the latest study by Dr. James Heckman and colleagues with significant long-term data that prove the point!


Please check out our updated look at If you are already holding hands with us on this climb toward opportunity and equity, thank you! And if not, please join us. Together we can climb faster and farther toward the aspirations of Dr. King, and support the dreams of each and every child. 

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





Reach Out and Read programs are now reaching about 20% of all Washington children and their families before kindergarten. This amazing program, which is Washington's statewide parent engagement and early literacy strategy, has quietly reached an amazing landmark! Over the past 6-month reporting period, Reach Out and Read medical providers in 156 clinics across the state provided 97,455 well-child checkups for kids 6 months through 5 years of age. With the addition of 9 new programs, we now estimate that Reach Out and Read is serving over 100,000 children and their parents.


Thank you to the more than 1,400 medical providers in 165 clinics across 31 counties!


We are continually recruiting new clinics, and looking for partners to help support the programs. If you are an interested clinic or doctor, or have ideas for us, please email us at  or call 206.524.3579.




Help put books in the hands of young kids, and your efforts will be stretched by generous donors! It's that time of year again, a chance to immediately make a difference and leverage your own impact! The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG is a one-day, online charitable giving event to inspire people to give generously to nonprofit organizations who make our region a healthier and more vital place to live.


Each donation made via Reach Out and Read's page on The Seattle Foundation's website between midnight and midnight (Pacific Daylight Time) on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, will generate a prorated portion of the matching funds.


And because Reach Out and Read leverages the existing health care system, every dollar invested immediately leverages $8 in services donated by medical providers. A proven program requiring only $17 per child per year, there is no better return for your investment, and no more efficient way to support children and families.


Please mark your calendars and use this link to Give Big to Reach Out and Read on May 6th. Thank you!




Abecedarian participants enjoy better health 30 years later. Published on March 27, 2014 in Science, new research from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and Nobel laureate economist James Heckman shows that quality early childhood programs that incorporate health and nutrition help prevent chronic disease. Click to read the full research paper or a two-page summary, and watch Dr. Heckman's video.


The Abecedarian Project has long been cited as one of the major long-term studies demonstrating that high quality early childhood programs have a strong Return on Investment (ROI). What is less commonly known is that this project combined high quality child care with onsite health care and nutritious meals.


This new study provides dramatic evidence--based on adult laboratory tests and physical exams--that program attendees have better health decades later. "Compared to the control group, males treated in the Abecedarian program have lower incidences of hypertension in their mid-30s. In addition, treated men less frequently exhibit combinations of both obesity and hypertension, and none exhibited the cluster of conditions known as 'metabolic syndrome,' which is associated with greater risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes."  So smart early childhood investments can improve both health and education outcomes. There is no better return on investment! 





We give thanks to the Lummi Nation for generously supporting parents and young children. A new grant of $10,000 was given to Reach Out and Read during a lovely awards ceremony at the Gateway Center. This funding helps support our programs at the Lummi Tribal Health Clinic and other clinics in Whatcom County. The Lummi clinic is one of 16 tribal clinics participating in Reach Out and Read in Washington State.




Find us on Facebook


Follow Reach Out and Read Washington State on Facebook for early literacy news, reading tips, and brain research information. Please LIKE us and suggest our Facebook page to your friends to help 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 165 programs in 31 counties, 1,400 medical providers serve an estimated 100,000 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 501(c)3 organization.



Email -

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

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