Reach Out and Read (ROR) is a national, evidence-based literacy program that promotes early literacy and school readiness in over 6200 program sites nationwide. It was first founded in 1989 at Boston City Hospital by a group of pediatricians and early childhood educators. The program now serves 4.7 million children and their families each year, including one in four children living in poverty in this country. The program focuses and builds upon the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children beginning at 6 months of age so that children enter school prepared for success in reading.

At every health supervision visit, children ages 6 months to 5 years receive a new developmentally appropriate book along with advice and guidance for parents to learn ways to support their child’s early literacy development.

Reading aloud is “prescribed” as a part of a child’s daily routine to make literacy promotion a standard of pediatric primary care. This is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement, which references and endorses ROR as an effective intervention to engage parents and prepare children to achieve their potential. The goal is for children to grow up with books and a love of reading.

The program is a proven intervention supported by a substantial body of independent, peer-reviewed, published research studies. The key findings are:

  • Parents are 2.5 times more likely to read to their children.
  • Families are 2.5 times more likely to enjoy reading together or have books in the home.
  • Children’s pre-school language development is improved by 3-6 months.

Three key components:

  1. New, developmentally and culturally appropriate books are given to children 6 months to 5 years of age by physicians during each well child visit.
  2. Physicians are trained in literacy development to provide parents with anticipatory guidance and support around the importance of reading to their child.
  3. Volunteers read aloud to children in the waiting room and thus demonstrate appropriate reading techniques and modeling for parents.

The ROR program was first implemented in Children’s Hospital of Georgia at Augusta University in 2000 within the General Pediatrics Primary Care and Resident Continuity Clinic and in 2005 within the West Wheeler Pediatrics Clinic. Since the program’s implementation, we have been able to give almost 48,000 books at the combined locations.

How can you get involved

  • Donate new and gently used books.  We are always in need of used children’s books in good condition to supplement our program books. Secondhand books allow us to provide books to children who are visiting the doctor because they are sick, are accompanying a sibling, or are outside of the age range served by our program.
  • Support the program: Make a donation or hold a fundraiser. All proceeds will go towards purchasing developmentally, age, and language appropriate children’s books.
  • Volunteer to read: Contact us to learn more about our volunteer reader opportunities.

Contact Us

Dr. Erica Sapp, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics is the CHOG ROR Medical Consultant and Coordinator and can be contacted by email or by mail at 1120 15th Street, BG-2104 Augusta, GA 30912.