Beginning as a national movement in Boston, MA in 1989, Reach Out and Read was developed as a collaboration among doctors and early childhood educators who examined empirical evidence of developmental discrepancies among low-income children not exposed to books at an early age. These disparities persist and perpetuate throughout life, creating a debilitating cycle of poverty, toxic stress, and negative health outcomes. Reach Out and Read was implemented as a proactive intervention to remove and reform systemic inequities in health and literacy through emphasizing the importance of families reading together when an infant's brain development is at its most formative stage.
In 1997 the national movement spread to Colorado with clinics signing on to the Reach Out and Read program. The Reach Out and Read Colorado coalition was formed in 2003 to provide a communication and networking structure, evaluation, training, visibility and funding to purchase books. Reach Out and Read Colorado now operates in 330+ medical offices throughout ethnically and geographically diverse regions in all of Colorado's 64 counties, providing direct program service to children at over 290,000 well-child visits each year.
Reach Out and Read prepares Colorado's youngest children to succeed in school and throughout their lives by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to spend quality time reading aloud together.