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Reach Out and Read

Evidence rating
2
Cost rating
2
Review: Foundations for Life, July 2016

Reach Out and Read (ROR) is a clinic-based paediatric literacy intervention for parents with a child from infancy through to five years and is focused on, but not restricted to, families living in disadvantaged communities.

The programme is delivered individually to parents and their children by clinicians, including paediatricians, nurse practitioners and primary care physicians, at each of 10 routine health checkups. Practitioners talk with families about the importance of reading aloud and engaging with their young children as an integral part of the checkup. They show the parents how to look at books with their children and encourage them to read together at home and build routines around books. The child is given a new developmentally appropriate book to take home and keep. The aim of the programme is to both to improve the child’s language development and to encourage parent-child bonding through reading aloud that has both cognitive and social-emotional outcomes.

EIF Programme Assessment

Evidence rating
2

Reach Out and Read has preliminary evidence of improving a child outcome, but we cannot be confident that the programme caused the improvement.

What does the evidence rating mean?

Level 2 indicates that the programme has evidence of improving a child outcome from a study involving at least 20 participants, representing 60% of the sample, using validated instruments. 

This programme does not receive a rating of 3 as its best evidence is not from a rigorously conducted RCT or QED evaluation.

What does the plus mean?

The plus rating indicates that a programme’s best available evidence is based on an evaluation that is more rigorous than a level 2 standard but does not meet the criteria for level 3. 

Cost rating
2

A rating of 2 indicates that a programme has a medium-low cost to set up and deliver, compared with other interventions reviewed by EIF. This is equivalent to an estimated unit cost of £100–£499.

Child outcomes

According to the best available evidence for this programme's impact, it can achieve the following positive outcomes for children:

Enhancing school achievement & employment

Improved receptive vocabulary - based on study 1

Improved expressive vocabulary - based on study 1

This programme also has evidence of supporting positive outcomes for couples, parents or families that may be relevant to a commissioning decision. Please see About the evidence for more detail.

Reach Out and Read

Key programme characteristics

Who is it for?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to the following age-groups:

  • Infants
  • Toddlers
  • Preschool

How is it delivered?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to implementation through these delivery models:

  • Individual

Where is it delivered?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to its implementation in these settings:

  • Not available

How is it targeted?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to its implementation as:

  • Targeted selective

Where has it been implemented?

United States

UK provision

This programme has not been implemented in the UK.

UK evaluation

This programme’s best evidence does not include evaluation conducted in the UK.

Reach Out and Read

About the programme

What happens during delivery?

How is it delivered?
  • Reach Out and Read is delivered by one practitioner (QCF-7/8) to individuals.
  • Read Out and Read is delivered over 13 sessions of 20 minutes each.
What happens during the intervention?
  • Reach Out and Read (ROR) is a clinic-based paediatric literacy intervention for parents with a child from infancy through to age five, and is focused on, but not restricted to, families living in disadvantaged communities.
  • The programme is delivered individually to parents and their children by clinicians, including paediatricians, nurse practitioners and primary care physicians, at each of 10 routine health check-ups.
  • Practitioners talk with families about the importance of reading aloud and engaging with their young children as an integral part of the check-up.
  • They show the parents how to look at books with their children, and encourage them to read together at home and build routines around books.
  • The child is given a new developmentally appropriate book to take home and keep.

What are the implementation requirements?

Who can deliver it?
  • Reach out and Read is delivered by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant with recommended QCF-7/8 qualifications.
What are the training requirements?
  • The practitioner receives one hour of programme training. Booster training of practitioners is recommended.
How are the practitioners supervised?
  • It is recommended that practitioners receive supervision from a host-agency supervisor with QCF-7/8 level qualifications.
What are the systems for maintaining fidelity?

Not available

Is there a licensing requirement?

There is no licence required to run this programme.

How does it work? (Theory of Change)

How does it work?
  • Reach Out and Read (ROR) is based on the assumption that children’s early language is supported through book sharing.
  • Parents experiencing economic and social disadvantage are less likely to read out loud and share books with their children. Parents are taught how to read books with their children and are encouraged to read together at home and build routines around books.
  • In the short term, ROR aims to improve the child’s language development and to encourage parent-child bonding through reading aloud.
  • In the long term ROR aims to improve the child’s cognitive thinking abilities.

Contact details

Reach Out and Read

About the evidence

Reach Out and Read’s most robust evidence comes from one QED, which was conducted in the USA.

Study 1

Citation: Mendelsohn et al (2001)
Design: QED
Country: United States
Sample: 138 families attending two urban paediatric clinics for well-child care
Timing: -
Child outcomes: Improved receptive vocabulary
Improved expressive vocabulary
Other outcomes: Increased frequency of parent-child reading

Mendelsohn, A. L., Mogilner, L. N., Dreyer, B. P., Forman, J. A., Weinstein, S. C., Broderick, M., Cheng, K. J., Magloire, T., Moore, T., & Napier, C. (2001). The impact of a clinic-based literacy intervention on language development in inner-city preschool children. Pediatrics, 107, 130-134.

Available at
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11134446

Other studies

The following studies were identified for this programme but did not count towards the programme's overall evidence rating. A programme receives the same rating as its most robust study or studies.

Golova, N., Alario, A. J., Vivier, P. M., Rodriguez, M., & High, P. C. (1999). Literacy promotion for Hispanic families in a primary care setting: a randomized, controlled trial. Pediatrics, 103, 993-997

Needlman, R., Fried. L. E., Morley, D. S., Taylor, S., & Zuckerman, B. (1991). Clinic-based intervention to promote literacy: A pilot study. American journal of Diseases of Children, 145, 881-884.

High, P., Hopmann, M., LaGasse, L., & Linn, H. (1998). Evaluation of a Clinic-Based Program to Promote Book Sharing and Bedtime Routines Among Low-Income Urban Families With Young Children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Md, 152, 459-464.

High, P. C., LaGasse, L., Becker, S., Ahlgren, I. & Gardner, A. (2000). Literacy promotion in primary care pediatrics: Can we make a difference? Pediatrics, 105, 927-934.

Jones, V. F., Franco. S. M., Metcalf, S. C., Popp, R., Staggs, S., & Thomas, A. E. (2000). The Value of Book Distribution in a Clinic-Based Literacy Intervention Program. Clinical Pediatrics, 39, 535-41.

Sanders, L. M., Gershon, T.D, Huffman, L. C., & Mendoza, F. S. (2000). Prescribing books for immigrant children: a pilot study to promote emergent literacy among the children of Hispanic immigrants. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 154, 771-7.

Sharif, I., Rieber, S. & Ozuah, P. O. (2002). Exposure to Reach Out and Read and vocabulary outcomes in inner city preschoolers. Journal of the National Medical Association, 94, 171-177.

Published March 2017   |   Last updated April 2017