Reach Out and Read Southern Arizona


Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based program that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms by giving new, developmentally and culturally appropriate books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud. Reach Out and Read Southern Arizona partners with pediatric healthcare providers in Cochise, Pima and Santa Cruz counties, as well as the Tohono O’odham and Yaqui Nations, to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.

Reach Out and Read builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning from birth through five years of age. We work with 57 pediatric and family practice clinics in Southern Arizona to serve 36,000 children and their families, and last year we distributed 55,000 books. Families served read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten better prepared to succeed, with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills, and a six-month developmental edge over their peers.

The Reach Out and Read Model

Reach Out and Read is a coalition of nonprofits in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. military bases overseas. Programs are housed at hospitals, health centers, clinics and private pediatric practices.

At the local level, pediatric healthcare providers (pediatricians, family physicians, and pediatric nurse practitioners) are trained in the three-part Reach Out and Read model to promote early literacy and school readiness:

  • In the exam room, doctors and nurses speak with parents about the importance of reading aloud to their young children every day, and offer age-appropriate tips and encouragement.
  • The pediatric primary care provider gives every child from birth through age 5 a new, developmentally appropriate children’s book to take home and keep.
  • In the waiting room, displays, information and books create a literacy-rich environment. Where possible, volunteer readers engage the children, modeling for parents the pleasures and techniques of reading aloud.

To learn more about the national coalition, the Reach Out and Read model and its impact, visit Reach Out and Read national’s website.