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Letter from the Director

Dear Friends of Reach Out and Read Texas,

Fall is my favorite season, probably made all the more sweet by the long wait and its brevity here in the Lone Star State.  Kids are heading back to school, there is hope of cooler days and holidays are on the horizon.  Perhaps for pediatric medical providers, there is a brief pause between back-to-school checkups and the winter flu season?  I hope this letter finds you taking a deep breath and looking around for a moment.

If you do have a couple of extra moments, once you’ve regrouped, I hope you’ll look at your Reach Out and Read program and see if it needs any refreshing.  Progress Reports are due Sept. 1, 2015, so be sure and spend a few moments letting us know how your past 6 months (January through June) have gone.  This benefits the program by:

  • Identifying the number of active programs (both the Texas Coalition and Scholastic use this information for determining sites for book donations/orders)
  • Providing accurate #s of children served and # of books needed when reporting to potential donors
  • Allowing you to give feedback about how the program is working at your site!

Something really helpful you can do while completing the Progress Report is to go through your site contacts and update information... delete people who are no longer working at your site or involved in Reach Out and Read, and make sure contact information for remaining and new contacts is current.   Sites can miss important updates if the contact information is out-of-date.

And, in the spirit of back-to-school time, please consider having the staff and medical providers log into and take the CME training course.  It really reinforces that the effectiveness of Reach Out and Read comes from the interaction between the medical provider, parent and child.  The book is a tangible reminder, the trusted relationship is key.  The course is also a useful reminder that the book can be a helpful tool in the developmental assessment.   Once again, this also helps with conversations with donors... reflects the investment medical staff has in the program.

Be sure to let me know how things are going!

Jocelyn McConnell, M.Ed.

Program Highlights

Maddy’s Annual Children’s Book Drive in memory and celebration of her daughter’s life

Every June, Vanessa Streavel holds Maddy’s Annual Children’s Book Drive in memory and celebration of her daughter’s life.  Maddy Hacker passed away in June of 2012 just before her 4th birthday.  Her mother says she was full of life, loved to dance and loved books and reading.  Maddy’s Book Drive’s mission is to get books into the hands of children who need them, regardless of their circumstances.  New and gently used books are collected and then distributed to various local charities and organizations depending on their need.  Vanessa’s efforts were so successful this year (3000 books collected!) that she sought new organizations to support.  Spring Branch Community Health Clinic in Houston is happily receiving books for their Reach Out and Read program.  Maddy is dearly missed by her friends and family.  With the help of the community, her light continues to shine brightly as her family shares with the world such an important part of Maddy... her love of reading!  To learn more about the book drive, visit

TSR! Summer Institute supported Reach Out and Read

TSR! Summer Institute supported Reach Out and Read

The TSR! Summer Institute supported Reach Out and Read with book donations which will support the waiting room reading area at Texas Children’s Pediatrics-GulfgateHEB’s Read3 program will match the donated books.  Dr. Jamil Joyner appreciates the infusion of new reading material!

Aubree Almeida enjoys a book while waiting with her mom at Youens & Duchicela Clinic in Weimar, TX

Michelle Comstock, Site Coordinator for Reach Out and Read and Office Manager of Corridor Primary Care in San Marcos, TX receives a check from Kate Shaw, Programs Chair, Bluebonnet Lions Club. The Bluebonnet Lions Club supports San Marcos Reach Out and Read programs annually.

Quality Corner

How to enlist community support for your program

Many of you have expressed interest in finding community support for your Reach Out and Read program--help with tracking & ordering books, financial support for book orders, gently used books for the waiting area or for sick child visits, volunteer readers to read to children in the waiting room, modeling for parents what reading can do.  There are lots of organizations all around us (in urban and rural areas) ready to be of assistance if we can just make the connections.  Look for groups needing to do community service like Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops; Lions and Rotary Clubs often have funds available to support programs in their community and some are especially earmarked for literacy programs.   The Jr. League may have funds available to support a clinic or clinics and volunteers eager to do service hours by reading in the waiting area.  Your local library system may have lots of ideas for offering families resources or materials they can share.  In bigger health systems, consider connecting with Americorps to have a more formalized volunteer support system.

Find Us Online:

The easiest way to show your support for Reach Out and Read Texas is by "liking" us on Facebook or “following” us on Twitter.  We work to provide program updates, early literacy news, and resources for parents, educators, and medical providers.  Please join the conversation today! 


The editorial staff of the The Reach Out and Read Newsletter would like to hear from you.  Please submit your comments, suggestions, and questions to Jocelyn McConnell, M.Ed. at .

Fall 2015

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Newsletter Contributors

Jocelyn McConnell, M.Ed.
ROR-TX Director

Bang Pham
Web Developer IV

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