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News from Reach Out and Read Washington State
In This Issue
Reach Out and Read Video
A Two-Generation Approach
Reach Out and Read Washington State on Facebook
About Reach Out and Read Washington State
Support Reach Out and Read in Washington
November 2015

"I think the extreme complexity of medicine has become more than an individual clinician can handle. But not more than teams of clinicians can handle."--Atul Gawande

Wouldn't it be nice to have a simple way to help all children be healthy and ready for school? The reality, of course, is that young children are complex little beings, who live in families, inside communities, and they have multiple needs. "Simple" questions like "How can we help parents?" do not have simple answers.
But Atul Gawande is right. Working together, complex problems can be solved. Doing what is needed to fundamentally shift the American approach to medicine, and early learning, cannot be done by a single doctor, a single organization, or a single discipline. It will take systemic multifaceted strategies.
And it must start with parents and babies, casting a wide enough net to set the stage for all children to reach their potential. And that's where leveraging the health care system--actually, I dare say, building our early learning system around it--comes in. Families already come to the doctor, a lot, in early childhood; and they rely on the advice of their child's medical provider. Doctors play a "coaching" role with parents, knowing from both research and experience that what happens at home over time is what matters the most for both health and educational outcomes.
Reach Out and Read is a deceptively simple appearing strategy that leverages complexity to accomplish proven outcomes for large populations of children and families. The impact is great because it occurs at the intersection of several very complex things: parenting, health care, and early learning. And when doctors give children a book, and teach families how cuddling together and sharing books builds language, literacy, and communication skills that help children be ready for school, magic (actually brain development!) unfolds right in front of them. There are now over 1,500 medical providers in 186 diverse clinics in 31 counties in Washington State who have transformed their practices to support over 100,000 young children and their families through Reach Out and Read.
So today I'd like to share two new ways to convey the power of Reach Out and Read. One simple, a short video; one complex, a longer document presented as a parable. Contemplate the simplicity of doctors teaching parents through the precious gift of a book how to support the wonder--and complexity--of their developing child. And then think about how we can use the relationship between doctor and family to identify needs, and connect families to early intervention, home visiting programs, child care, preschool and other community services. And then wonder, what if we "just do this" everywhere? Because, quite simply, we absolutely can.
Jill Sells, MD and the Reach Out and Read Washington Team

The Boeing Company shares the story of Reach Out and Read in Washington. We appreciate the opportunity to have Boeing highlight our work in the "Our Partners" series. Learn more in this short video about Reach Out and Read.

Ascend at The Aspen Institute Focuses on Impact of Reach Out and Read. Highlighting the area of Early Literacy and Family Well-Being, Ascend shares the promise of this program. "Promoting early literacy directly with families in primary-care clinic settings is a concept that stretches back over twenty years. One of the best-studied and widespread interventions is Reach Out and Read. Well-documented with a strong evidence base, Reach Out and Read has enjoyed popularity among many front-line providers offering preventive care for children."
A new report The Elephant in the Clinic masterfully demonstrates the complexity of the strengths that Reach Out and Read brings: 

A path to 
  • proactively address school readiness
  • conduct developmental surveillance
  • make relational health assessments
  • build parental capacities and capabilities
  • help buffer toxic stress in families
  • integrate public health principles into clinical care
  • use an inexpensive, scalable, evidence-based model

"This report, written with a powerful mix of storytelling, scientific evidence, and data, highlights the types of interventions we need in todayıs busy environment to work meaningfully with children and their parents."



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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 birth through 5 years. Reach Out and Read supports parents as their child's first teacher and helps children be ready for kindergarten. 


Through 186 programs in 31 counties, 1,500 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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