Reach Out and Read Illinois’ doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate the national Reach Out and Read’s evidence-based, three part-model into regular pediatric checkups:

  • Train medical providers to promote the importance of family reading by showing families how to read aloud.
  • Provide new books for each child take home during regular checkups from 6 months through 5 years of age.
  • Create literacy-rich environments that may include gently-used books, read aloud techniques tips, and information about local library.

As a result of this three-part intervention at the doctor’s office, parents become more engaged and read to their children more often at home. The time-spent reading translates into quantifiable gains, such as:

  • healthy brain development
  • positive child language and reading outcomes
  • loving parent-child engagement and interaction
  • social and emotional skills like listening and taking turns
  • wide range of vocabulary and increase in language exposure
  • reduces later impairments in behavior, learning, mental and physical health



Locally, the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) became the proud leader of this innovative and exciting program in 2006. ICCAP’s mission is to promote the right of children to live happy, safe, and healthy lives through its 2,300 dedicated physician members.

Reach Out and Read Illinois has 127 different program locations across the state, Chicago having 61 of those program sites.


The first Reach Out and Read program was introduced in 1989 at Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center) with the goal to incorporate the promotion of literacy in pediatric primary care, so that children grow up with books and love of reading.

The program serves more than 4 million children and their families across the nation, with a special emphasis on serving those in low-income communities.

In June 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared literacy promotion to be an “essential component of pediatric care” for all children, referencing Reach Out and Read as an effective intervention to engage parents and prepare children to achieve their potential in school and beyond. 

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