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Our Impact Reach out and Read Kansas City

Reach Out and Read Works

Key Findings

Reach Out and Read National research shows that in families served by the program:
  • Parents are 2.5X more likely to read to their children
  • Parents are 2X more likely to read to their children more than three times a week
  • Families are 2.5X more likely to enjoy reading together or have books in the home
  • Children's language development is improved by 3-6 months
  • Children's language ability improves with increased exposure to Reach Out and Read.
  • In the Kansas City area, 66% of parents of children 6 months to 5 years old reported reading to their child 3 or more times per week and 100% of this group said they will share books either as frequently or more, based on the advice they received that day.

The Research

What distinguishes Reach Out and Read from other interventions is its large and growing evidence base. Since 1991, the Reach Out and Read model has been studied by academic investigators in a variety of settings, providing an extensive body of peer-reviewed research on the effects of the program. The body of published research supporting the efficacy of the Reach Out and Read model is more extensive than for any other psychosocial intervention in general pediatrics. 

More information can be found on the National Reach Out and Read website.

Awards & Endorsements

Reach Out and Read In the News

Reach Out and Read Celebrates Huge Milestone (1 Millionth Book)

Reach Out and Read Kansas City reached a huge milestone Friday just ahead of the program's 20th Anniversary.

Starting in 1997, Reach Out and Read KC was a collaboration between pediatricians at Children's Mercy and KU Pediatrics at KU Medical Center. Read more

The New York Times Sunday Review, 2016

An article in The New York Times Sunday Review in August 2016 titled "The Good News About Educational Inequality" cites research showing that, despite difficult economic times, the kindergarten readiness gap between children from low- and high-income families, is, in fact, narrowing. More importantly, the authors credit the Reach Out and Read program as a main factor in this achievement. Continue Reading

Read Every Day: A Healthy Prescription for Your Child

It's a simple phrase with a powerful message, one that I've repeated time and again to the young children and parents I've seen over the years I've spent in pediatric medicine: How important is it? It may be the single, most important prescription I hand to you in your child's early years.

Health? How in the world would reading have a positive impact on health? That piece of advice can make the difference between a child who succeeds in school and one who struggles.Succeeding in school and having an education, which leads to a satisfying career, opens up endless possibilities. On the other hand, one in six children who are not reading proficiently in third grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate four times greater than that for proficient readers... Continue Reading

One year later, Sister Berta Sailer's challenge has been answered

A year ago, as Sister Berta Sailer watched tearful parents on television wait for their children to walk from a Connecticut school alive, one thought went through her mind.

She has put it in words many times since: "If we want to show our kids they are in a safe world, we need to show them there are more good people than bad people."

Sailer, co-founder of Operation Breakthrough, has helped do just that since the tragedy.

Days after the shooting, Sailer threw down a challenge to the people of the Kansas City area.

To honor the 20 children who were killed that Friday morning in Connecticut, reach out to kids here... Continue Reading

Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth

In between dispensing advice on breast-feeding and immunizations, doctors will tell parents to read aloud to their infants from birth, under a new policy that the American Academy of Pediatrics will announce on Tuesday...Continue Reading

Reach Out and Read Kansas City Success Stories

    • KU Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner Sallie Page-Goertz
    • The books help me assess a child's development - I watch how they look at it, how they pick it up, what they do with it, how they manipulate the pages, and as they get older, what they say about it. This also helps me teach caregivers about their children's abilities to see, hear, and understand.

      There was one little girl, Michelle, who's mother informed me that Michelle's dad made a special shelf for the Reach Out and Read books, and that she continues to look at all of her books, even the baby books, which are now quite worn.

    • Reach Out and Read Kansas City Parent
    • Joslyn absolutely loves to read. She has great problem solving skills, a good grasp of cause and effect, and is in the highest reading group in her kindergarten class. We read at home almost every day and Joslyn has exceeded all expectations of entering kindergarten with exceptional literacy skills. Reach out and Read is a great program because children need to learn to use their imaginations and dream big. I believe that reading to my daughter since she was a baby gave her a jump start on learning how to read. Thank you Reach Out and Read Kansas City for allowing her to have the experience!

    • Dr. Lisa Riojas, Children's Mercy West
    • One of my most special ROR memories involves handing a book to a 6-month-old patient sitting on his mom's lap. Usually babies at that age start to chew on the book while holding it upside down and backwards, but this little guy took it from me with both hands, held it in the correct position, and opened it all by himself. He proceeded to scan each page from left to right and then actually turned the page on his own! He clearly had been read to many times. He was very serious and business-like in his approach, but as soon as his mom engaged by pointing something out, he broke into a big smile - and of course his mom and I did too!

Volunteer Testimonials

    • 1. Past and Current Volunteer Readers throughout Kansas City
    • Every time I read to the children was a positive experience. The children were so welcoming and happy to be read to. I love seeing their excitement when they got to pick out their own book, found out they could take one home, and when the older ones took the chance to read to their siblings or other younger kids around them.

    • 2. Past and Current Volunteer Readers throughout Kansas City
    • Since many of the children I only see once, and the group of children varies each day, the bonding and relationship you have with them is very short, however, the reading experience and reminding them how much fun reading is, lasts much longer... and that's why I enjoy volunteering for this program!

    • 3. Past and Current Volunteer Readers throughout Kansas City
    • I worked in Research at KU Medical Center and was able to walk over during the day once a week and read for an hour.  It was wonderful being able to read to the children while they were waiting to see the doctor.  Some parents were already very involved in reading to their children but others saw the example of how to share books with their children.  It was a very rewarding experience working with a great program which is run well.

    • 4. Past and Current Volunteer Readers throughout Kansas City
    • One time, I was sitting in my regular space at the clinic when a family walked in and the boys yelled, "the book lady is here!"  I had been there on one of their previous visits and the mom said that the boys always look for me when they come.  Heartwarming!

    • 5. Past and Current Volunteer Readers throughout Kansas City
    • Once I had a young boy make up a story to go with the pictures of a book. He did this several times, and made a new story every time. It was wonderful to let him explore his imagination and hear what he created.

    • 6. Past and Current Volunteer Readers throughout Kansas City

    • A shy child would not read at first, but then after watching the other children read with me, the timid boy sat down with us and listened to the story, and eventually became active in answering questions pertaining to the book.

    • 7. Past and Current Volunteer Readers throughout Kansas City
    • It's the highlight of my day when I see a child get excited about a book they recognize and they read it to me!  Depending on the child's age, I ask if they want to read to me or let me read to them.  Most of the time it's the latter but when they read to me, it's delightful.  They're excited, the parents are proud and it's a positive experience for all of us.

    • 8. Past and Current Volunteer Readers throughout Kansas City
    • I have enjoyed working with Reach Out and Read the last 6 years and wish you all the best of luck in the years ahead.  The program is amazing!!  Please allow me to brag a little about my daughters-My third grader is reading at an 8th grade level and my first grader is reading at around 3rd to 4th grade level!!!  I really am blessed to have learned about the ROR program early on.  I don't think my girls would be reading at the levels they are now had it not been for the program.

Grants and Foundation Support

(event sponsors can be found under the 'events' tab):

  1. Francis Family Foundation
  2. Hall Family Foundation
  3. Ira and Florita M. Brady Foundation
  4. Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City
  5. Oppenstein Brothers Foundation
  6. Pi Beta Phi local Alumnae Club and Foundation
  7. PNC Foundation
  8. Robinson Family Foundation
  9. Shumaker Family Foundation
  10. Truman Heartland Community Foundation - Jelley Family Foundation