I am the Chair of Reach Out and Read’s Young Literacy Council (YLC) (effectively a junior board). The YLC is a group of young professionals who are passionate about the importance of early literacy and the mission of Reach Out and Read. Our goal is to increase awareness about Reach Out and Read, connect people passionate about early childhood education, and help the organization think strategically about its future. Other HKS-affiliated members of the YLC include Billy Powers MPP ‘15, Nicole Ruiz de Luzuriaga MC/MPA ‘14.
Reach Out and Read was founded by pediatricians 25 years ago in Boston. During regular well-child visits to the doctor or community health center, healthcare providers educate parents about the importance of reading aloud to their child, provide patients with an age-appropriate book to take home, and give parents a “Prescription for Reading” to their children each night. Today, Reach Out and Read works works with more than 20,000 healthcare providers in all 50 states and has provided books to more than 4 million children, nearly all at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
I was first drawn to the organization because of its unique model: physicians and healthcare providers helping to address gaps in education and language skills.