Reach Out and Read prepares young children for school success by partnering with pediatricians to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. At well-child checkups, children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years receive new, developmentally- and culturally-appropriate books from their primary care providers, and parents are given expert early literacy advice. In May 2010, Springfield became a Reach Out and Read Bookend City, with 100% of its eligible pediatric practices implementing the program.
Reach Out and Read is unique not only in its scale, but also in the size of its evidence base. Fifteen peer-reviewed studies, published in medical journals such as Pediatrics and the Journal of Community Medicine and Health Education, confirm the program's efficacy in fostering positive early literacy outcomes. During their preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests. These foundational language skills help start children on a path of achievement when they enter school.