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June 6, 2023

Reach Out and Read – A New Chapter

Beth Duda, director of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading first learned of Reach Out and Read in April of 2015 at a gathering of Campaign for Grade-Level Reading communities in San Francisco. Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based nonprofit organization of medical providers who promote early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by integrating children’s books and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud into well-child visits. 

In the summer of 2016, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Manatee Community Foundation, United Way Suncoast (then called United Way of Manatee County), MCR Health, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, and The Patterson Foundation began to lay the groundwork for partnerships that would bring Reach Out and Read to select medical facilities in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

MCR Health and the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County identified the clinics serving pediatric patients, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Manatee Community Foundation agreed to purchase Reach Out and Read books, and The Patterson Foundation agreed to provide administrative support for the program and bonus books for participating families. In February of 2017, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading launched the local Reach Out and Read initiative by inviting Dr. Dipesh Navasaria, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and National Reach Out and Read Board Chair, to speak at a variety of community events.

Pierrette Kelly, a consultant for The Patterson Foundation, initiated Reach Out and Read (ROR) in eight clinics and led the evolution and growth of the local program, assisted by Marla Smith and Donna Puhalovich. As Reach Out and Read grew throughout Florida, the Miami-Dade Family Learning Partnership Inc. was named the official Florida affiliate. Under the auspices of the Miami-Dade Family Learning Partnership, ROR FL has implemented systems to support high-quality delivery of the ROR model across all sites, including training, technical assistance, and funding sustainability through policy and advocacy engagement.

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is proud of the impact this program has had on the Suncoast.

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading – Reach Out and Read 2017–2023

Participating Counties: DeSoto, Manatee, Sarasota

Number of Books distributed at the Clinics: 76,866

Number of Clinics: 17

Number of Medical Professional trained in Reach Out and Read: 86

Number of Children served per year: Approximately 15,240

Community Dollars invested by Manatee Community Foundation and 

Community Foundation of Sarasota County: $146,202

Number of Bonus Books mailed: 10,313

We look forward to the continued success of the Reach Out and Read program, now led by Miami-Dade Family Learning Partnership. ROR FL contact through Miami-Dade Family Learning Partnership is Natalia Coletti, ncoletti@childreadiness.org, or RORFlorida@childreadiness.org

 


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