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Reach Out and Read Program

A pediatric literacy program at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene Department of Pediatrics - a regional site of the National Reach Out & Read Program.

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What is the Reach Out & Read (ROR) Program?

ROR was created in 1989 by a group of pediatricians and nurses at Boston City Hospital to help parents nurture the love of reading in young children.

ROR integrates parent education about literacy development into regular pediatric care for children at their well-child visits between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. Parents learn ways to support their children's early experiences with books.

A study of ROR in 1991 found that parent who had been given a book and literacy counseling during a clinic visit were much more likely to choose book sharing as an activity with their children.

How does ROR work?

The Reach Out and Read program has been adopted by the Pediatric Department of Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene. During well-child visits, pediatricians and nurse practitioners give a book to every child, appropriate to their developmental level. The book is used to help parents understand their child's stage of development, and the doctor or nurse practitioner talks about ways to read with the child that nurture language and literacy. This supportive relationship between parents and healthcare professionals helps children learn to love books and shows parents how to foster love of books in the home.

  • At all 6-month to 5-year well visits, the child is invited to take home a new appropriate children's book. Over time, the child acquires a home library of books to share with family and friends.
  • At each visit, the pediatrician or nurse practitioner uses the book to comment on the child's abilities and to counsel parents on how to use books to support their child's healthy development.
  • In the clinic waiting room, community volunteers read stories to children and model reading aloud techniques for parents.

ROR supports pediatric care by making literacy development part of every child's well-child visit. Programs are directed by a multidisciplinary team, and implemented in collaboration with local community organizations. National pediatric and literacy advisory boards have been created by the national training site in Boston to provide guidance to all programs.

There are currently over 1,000 Reach Out and Read sites across the country distributing over 2,500,000 books to families each year.

How to become involved

For more information, please contact the Pediatrics Department at CMC/D-HK at 603-354-6666.