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News from Reach Out and Read Washington State
In This Issue
Give Joy, Give Books
Every Student Succeeds Act
Snoqualmie Tribe 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
December 2015

"We know early literacy is absolutely critical for success in school and life. The more we can encourage this literacy, the better off we'll be. There's no better place than a health care setting, because that's one of the few places where parents and children come together."  --Senator Jack Reed, Rhode Island 

Sometimes what's most obvious is the hardest to see. Most of us have heard the story of bank-robber Willie Sutton being asked, "Why do you rob banks?" To which he purportedly replied, "Because that's where the money is." For some reason, that line always sticks with me. And while I'm not interested in robbing banks, I am interested in helping figure out how to have the most impact on improving opportunity for children. While reforming our health and education systems to assure better outcomes for children is not simple, we certainly must figure out where the families are in order to support them. We can have the greatest programs in the world, but if families don't participate, no change will happen. And when it comes to families with young children, especially babies, the only place all of those families can be found is the health care system. 

Some brilliant pediatricians and early childhood educators figured this out 26 years ago when they started to incorporate children's books and early literacy guidance into well child checkups, creating the first Reach Out and Read program. What started as a good idea grew into 5,000 programs reaching 4.5 million children this year across the country, including over 100,000 here in Washington State. And this month signals a turning point in our country's understanding of the critical importance of this work. The much-anticipated Every Student Succeeds Act (the long overdue update of "No Child Left Behind") includes authorizing language describing Reach Out and Read. This means federal education policy recognizes that helping doctors support parents, starting with babies, is a critical part of education reform. 

Unfortunately, of course, a large education policy bill doesn't automatically come with funding for everything in it, and this language is just a first step toward the growth and sustainability of Reach Out and Read for families. Our strategy must remain a federal, state, and local approach with a bit of patience for the process. But at the same time we have a sense of urgency--there are children right here, right now--who will have better opportunity for success if they receive a book from their doctor, and their parents receive evidence-based advice and support when they come in for a checkup. And the great news is that you can help make this a reality right now.
We wish you peace, joy, and time to read this holiday season!

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


There's nothing like cuddling up with a good book on a stormy winter day. As you plan your year-end giving, please consider making a gift to Reach Out and Read Washington State

Every day this winter young children will go home from their doctor's visit with a brand new, age-appropriate book to enjoy with their families. Over 100,000 children and their parents are now participating in Washington's Reach Out and Read program, and you can help us support families in 2016. 

Did you know?
  • Reach Out and Read programs are run voluntarily by doctors and other health-care providers, allowing most of our budget to go toward books and program support
  • The availability of books in a child's home is a great predictor of school success
  • All the books given by Reach Out and Read doctors are gifts to the children who receive them, and come with age-appropriate advice for parents and caretakers on how to make the most of time spent reading together. 
Your gift--large or small--is deeply appreciated and will help support young children across Washington State.



Updated Elementary and Secondary Education Act authorizes Reach Out and Read. The just-signed federal education bill extends federal policy to include early learning from birth and support parents as their child's first teacher by authorizing pediatric early literacy promotion based on the Reach Out and Read model. The Innovative Approaches to Literacy Provision describes "...pediatric literacy programs through which, during well-child visits, medical providers trained in research-based methods of early language and literacy promotion provide developmentally appropriate books and recommendations to parents to encourage them to read aloud to their children starting in infancy..."
This language draws from a 10-year effort to pass the "Prescribe a Book Act," spearheaded by Senators Jack Reed, (D-Rhode Island) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), with broad bipartisan support. We thank Senator Patty Murray for her leadership role in including early learning in Every Student Succeeds, and in particular for her support for Reach Out and Read and literacy over many years. Many members of Washington's delegation have been Reach Out and Read supporters, and we thank them all for voting for this bill. Watch this short video of Senator Reed explaining the importance of Reach Out and Read in this updated law.
Reach Out and Read has become a foundational part of Washington's early learning system, with over 1,500 medical providers now bringing this proven program to over 100,000 children and their families across the state. Having federal education recognition of the important role parents and doctors play in supporting the youngest children is a turning point in thinking about how to implement education as a cradle-to-career system.


Native American families across Washington will benefit. Thank you, Snoqualmie Tribe for a generous grant to support tribal Reach Out and Read programs.We have been pleased to grow our partnerships with health clinics serving tribal communities over many years. We now have 17 tribal clinics participating in Reach Out and Read across the state, from Neah Bay to Wellpinit, Nooksack to Puyallup. In FY15 these clinics provided over 4,100 one-on-one Reach Out and Read well-child checkups with families. This grant will help assure high-quality programs for Native American families across Washington.



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

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