Reach Out and Read Coalition

Where the great stories begin

The ability to succeed begins with the ability to read.

A six-month-old doesn't realize she or he is at a crossroads, where one path leads to literacy and the other to lost opportunity. In fact, a third of all children are destined to reach kindergarten without the language skills necessary to learn to read.

Their families live at or below the federal poverty level. They are not exposed to books. They are not read to at home. And they are not privy to early childhood education.

Consequently, academic achievement is out of reach before they set foot in a classroom. And along with that is any significant chance for success in a career – or in life.

Reading is doctor recommended.

Reach Out and Read prepares America's children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. We purchase and distribute age-appropriate books to pediatricians at our affiliate sites. These pediatricians then provide the books to children and their families, stress the importance of parental involvement, and encourage parents to read to their children. Literacy becomes part of primary pediatric care. Our focus is the formative years, age six-months to five years, when the foundation for literacy is laid through exposure to books and vocabulary development. As part of a National Pediatric Early Literacy Program, Reach Out and Read St. Louis was founded in 2005 at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital – a highly respected children's hospital affiliated with St. Louis University School of Medicine. This partnership allows Reach Out and Read St. Louis to support a unique outreach effort among families in the community and those seeking primary and specialized pediatric care through the Medical Center, its Danis Pediatric Clinic, and the additional affiliate sites in the metro area.

Our affiliate leader, Kenneth Haller, MD, is a Developmental Pediatrician at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at St. Louis University School of Medicine.

Books build better brains.

Research shows that Reach Out and Read improves the home literacy environment and developmental outcomes for children growing up in poverty. The children served by Reach Out and Read enter kindergarten better prepared to succeed. Research shows that when families participate in Reach Out and Read:

  • Parents are four times more likely to read to their children.
  • Children show a six-month developmental edge over their peers in the preschool years.
  • Children score higher on vocabulary tests and school readiness assessments.

Listen to hear why Matt and Leslee Holliday are Reach Out and Read's biggest fans.

Reading makes a difference, and so can you.

The Reach Out and Read model is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. In Missouri and nearby areas of Illinois our affiliate sites average about 50,000 well-child visits annually and distribute more than 75,000 books.

Since the elimination of federal support in 2013, we've been busy seeking additional funding sources. Each gift of $100 provides the five-year program to one more child and helps unlock his or her potential. To donate, please click the button above.

Or, if you're a pediatric care site, and wish to participate in our Reach Out and Read Program, please visit and click on "Start a Program."

Affiliate Announcements

To the many donors and volunteers who have been working on our behalf, we say "Thank You." We could not have achieved the success we've had without your gifts and efforts.

In recognition of its groundbreaking advancement of literacy, Reach Out and Read won the prestigious David M. Rubenstein Prize, the top honor among the 2013 Library of Congress Literacy Awards.

Gary Shipper
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation
3800 Park Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
Cell: 314-420-6383