NEWS from
 Reach Out and Read
 Washington State
MAY 2016

"I believe strongly that you do what you can, where you are, with what you have, while you can." 
--Maxine Hayes, MD
Dr. Hayes shared this thought last month when accepting an award for her work in health equity. It is such a succinct, practical, and effective concept for us all to consider, no matter how powerful (or power-less) our current situation seems to be. Access, quality, and equity are the focus of our work at Reach Out and Read, and where we know we can do things, right now, that will increase equity.

We also know our success is determined by relationships; from a parent and child together, to the doctor-family relationship, to the supports that Reach Out and Read staff provide to medical providers and practices, to the partnerships we help bridge in communities and across the state. Knowing that, we are delighted to take a moment to step back and celebrate the amazing impact that Reach Out and Read medical providers are having as they support children and families across the state through our new Reach Out and Read Washington report.

We are also very excited to share that Reach Out and Read Washington's Deputy Director, Jessica Mortensen, is the winner of the national 2016 Wyntress Smith Award! Announced at the National Reach Out and Read Conference in Boston on May 13th, this award recognizes a Reach Out and Read staff member who goes above and beyond and truly embodies the organization's core values of Passion, Excellence, Respect, and Innovation. We are proud that the award honors her for Washington's national leadership on assuring program quality.

While the quest to increase equity while improving outcomes for all young children across the state is a complicated process far from its goal, Reach Out and Read is making a real difference, on a large scale, right now. We are grateful for the opportunity to collectively do what we can, where we are, with what we have, even as we share the vision of what more could readily be! Please read our new report, and let us know what you think. Thank you for your support.

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

Drs. Sells and Woodruff accept award for Jessica from Reach Out and Read CEO Brian Gallagher

Support Reach Out and Read in Washington

Reach Out and Read Washington Impact
Pediatrician Dr. Eric Burlingame of the Yakima Valley Farmworkers Clinic captures the spirit and the impact of the program well.
 "Reach Out and Read is a program that lies at the heart of what sets pediatrics apart from other branches of medicine-being proactive to prevent health issues BEFORE they've begun. This amazing program helps equip families with the tools they need to make a lasting, positive difference in the lives of children in many domains. By helping a medical provider start a checkup with the gift of a high-quality children's book, we begin building trust and partnering with caregivers. This helps families be more receptive to messages not just about helping children love language and literature, but also about positive, engaged parenting in general."
Check out the new Reach Out and Read Washington report.  These four pages tell a succinct story of the impact of over 1,600 Reach Out and Read medical providers, summarizing key accomplishments and opportunities for the statewide network.  See the scope of programs across the state, including a new color map showing programs by county and early learning coalition regions. Learn about tremendous progress in both access, through 196 clinics serving over 100,000 young children and their families, and quality, with highlights of a statewide professional development and technical assistance system to assure implementation of the program with fidelity to the research-proven model. Learn about our intentional focus on equity, and success in addressing the opportunity gap through racial, geographic, economic, and home-language diversity.

Congratulations to Jessica Mortensen, winner of the national 2016 Wyntress Smith Award from Reach Out and Read!

Thanks to support from both public and private funders in Washington, Executive Director Jill Sells and Deputy Director Jessica Mortensen have facilitated the development of a standardized quality assessment and support system for Reach Out and Read.  Piloted and refined in Washington over several years, we have demonstrated an effective, replicable system which measures quality and can target resources to measurably improve quality where needed.  We have appreciated the opportunity to share this work with Reach Out and Read leaders in key states, and more recently with the entire national network.

While impossible to quickly capture the extent of this work, or Jessica's impact, we wanted to share just a few snippets of comments from her many nominators:

"...for her exemplary leadership on the development and implementation of a Reach Out and Read Quality System."

"Jessica thinks critically about what we do, why we do it, and how we can make our processes and systems better."

"...her excellent work ethic; her respect for her coworkers, colleagues, and Reach Out and Read as an organization; and her innovative way of thinking about the work we do."

"The guidance she provided on effective communication with sites, determining the quality of a program, and developing appropriate improvement plans was invaluable and assisted me (as a new state Reach Out and Read leader) greatly in my new role. "

"Through Jessica's leadership and spirit of collective support and impact, the quality matrix and assessment work in our states has been transformed. Jessica has shown strong leadership in her approach to this collaborative work, and great vision in the replication and scaling of intensive quality work for the organization."

Thank you, Jessica!

About Reach Out and Read Washington State

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 196 programs in 31 counties, 1,600 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.