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News from Reach Out and Read Washington State
In This Issue
A Path Away From Poverty
Reach Out and Read on American Graduate Day
Univision Highlights Reach Out and Read
Carle Award Given to Reach Out and Read
Community Foundation 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
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Reach Out and Read programs!  
September 2014

"The greatest inequality in America is not in wealth but the even greater gap of opportunity."  

-- Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn


September means back-to-school. For many kids it is a time of mixed feelings, perhaps sadness at the end of the summer, coupled with excitement about reuniting with friends. Some look forward to learning with excitement. Others bring a sense of trepidation about what's ahead. Our kids like school, and I know that we're privileged to live in circumstances that made it likely that would be the case. Despite this, my 13-year old has been nervous about multiple oral presentations she's had to do this fall. During one, they had to read aloud from a book of their choice. Without any prompting from me, she relaxed when she realized she could do a children's book. She discovered that reading the familiar story of Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? would feel comfortable to her. That struck me as a very direct example of how our reading with her as a young child increased both her literacy skills and her social-emotional skills--the confidence to face an unfamiliar task in middle school. But what about the kids who never had this experience to draw on?


The phrase "opportunity gap" has become commonplace among those working in early learning. It recognizes that the achievement gaps we see in 3rd grade reading proficiency, and in high school graduation rates, are almost always connected with opportunity gaps that happened well before kindergarten. It doesn't take advanced math skills to draw 2 lines with one aiming slightly higher than the other--and see how the gap between them grows over time. It's quite simple --change the angle so the lines have the same slope--and then make them start at the same place--and guess what--they end in the same place! The geometric principle here is easy to visualize. Committing to equity and helping all children succeed is the bigger challenge we must face.


One of the most important things that this great state of Washington, heralded as a leader in Early Learning, has "yet to do," is to truly invest in parents and very young children. This must be part of a continuum of supports from birth through kindergarten, and it must become the social norm. Reach Out and Read is an incredibly efficient, evidence-based "two generation" strategy. It builds on the health care infrastructure and uses doctors as trusted messengers to help parents learn valuable skills that in turn improve outcomes for kids.


We are excited about attention toward Reach Out and Read from PBS, the New York Times, Univision and the Carle Awards. They all recognize the power of parents, and the impact doctors can have on the opportunity gap when they support families. We are also very grateful for community-based support for Reach Out and Read, most recently from the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington.


As we head into a very tough legislative session, funding for Reach Out and Read is proposed to be eliminated. If that happens, the network of 1,400 medical providers across Washington who implement the program will not have the supports to keep doing so. These doctors are part of the solution--particularly for the children most likely to experience the opportunity gap. We ask you to make your support visible as we move forward this fall and winter. 


Jill Sells MD and the Reach Out and Read Washington Team



Pulitzer prize-winning authors make the case for investing in parents with very young children, including Reach Out and Read. Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times, and Sheryl WuDunn are the authors of a new book called "A Path Appears." An excerpt from it became the essay "The Way to Beat Poverty," which appeared in the New York Times and in the Seattle Times. It tells a compelling story of how inequities pile up very early in life, and why we must change our approach, using evidence of what works.


"One reason the United States has not made more progress against poverty is that our interventions come too late. If there's one overarching lesson from the past few decades of research about how to break the cycles of poverty in the United States, it's the power of parenting - and of intervening early, ideally in the first year or two of life or even before a child is born."

We are honored that Reach Out and Read is featured in their book. During a recent MSNBC interview "How individuals can effect social change" the authors said Reach Out and Read when asked to name one organization that people should support!




Tacoma station KBTC focuses on Early Learning, including Reach Out and Read. September 27th was the 3rd annual American Graduate Day on PBS. This live national, multi-platform broadcast event focuses on the individuals and organizations working in communities across the country to keep students on the path to graduation. Local stations had the option of running the national feed live, and KBTC had the special opportunity to add in local pieces, and customize the order of the national feed.


Reach Out and Read was pleased to be highlighted both locally and nationally. Reach Out and Read parent Josh Riggins was featured alongside Dr. Mary Ann Woodruff and Dr. Jill Sells in a discussion with Tom Layson. It was a great opportunity to talk about why reading aloud starting in infancy is critical, and how doctors play such an important role in supporting parents as their child's first teachers. Immediately following the local piece, KBTC showed our Reach Out and Read colleagues talking from the national perspective. Watch the national segment (starting at 1:01). We look forward to sharing a link to the local show with you soon.


Doctora Diana Lindner explains the program in Spanish. Dr. Lindner championed the effort to bring Reach Out and Read to the Eastgate Public Health Clinic many years ago, where there is a large population of Spanish-speaking families. Reach Out and Read is widely embraced across cultures, and provides books in many languages. About 25 of the Reach Out and Read programs across Washington serve large numbers of Spanish-speaking families. This TV interview was a chance to spread the message about Let's Read and summer reading, and to explain the Reach Out and Read program in Spanish. ˇGracias a la Dra. Diana Lindner por su entrevista fabulosa en Univisión sobre Reach Out and Read!



The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art recognized Reach Out and Read at the 2014 Carle Honors on September 18th. The event celebrates individuals and organizations "who have played an instrumental role in making children's books a vibrant and influential art and literary form in America." Executive Director Brian Gallagher and Medical Director Perri Klass accepted the Angel Award on behalf of Reach Out and Read at a beautiful and awe-inspiring event in New York. Brian noted "Perri spoke so eloquently about the meaning of this program for families, how books and all they contain enrich children's lives, and how powerful it is to share this passion by placing these books into small hands, often for the first time." Read more about the event at Publisher's Weekly.


We appreciate this recognition in honor of the man who brought us The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, and many other great titles we've loved over the years.


Thanks to the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington for generously supporting parents and young children. We very much appreciate a new grant of $39,000 to help support Reach Out and Read programs in Clark, Cowlitz, and Skamania Counties. Learn more about the Foundation.

"Reach Out and Read, encouraging parents and caregivers to serve as their child's first teacher, is a vital program promoting the mental, emotional, social, and developmental health and well being of our youngest patients," says Dr. Devon Ebbing from the Vancouver Clinic. "The Community Foundation's partnership with Reach Out and Read helps us deliver this high quality and evidence-based program to the families we serve. We are grateful for the Community Foundation's support of this important work in Southwest Washington.



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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 169 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.



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

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