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Letter from the Director

Dear Friends of Reach Out and Read Texas,

While every season has its challenges and hectic pace, winter seems to have the most potential to send us over the edge—shorter days, holiday expectations, potentially dangerous driving conditions, and for pediatric providers, cold and flu season.  Like everything else this time of year, this newsletter seems packed to overflowing.  I hope you find it informative and meaningful.  I especially hope that you’ll take the time to check out the section written by medical providers.  We’re kicking this section off with an article written by Drs. Dipesh Navsaria and Amy Shriver.  Please do follow the link to read ‘The Elephant in the Clinic’.  I hope you’ll find it as inspirational as I did.


Jocelyn McConnell, M.Ed.


Program Highlights

New Scholastic catalogs generally ship right after the New Year. Be sure your shipping address and contact information are up-to-date in

Progress Reporting will begin in January.

Program Highlights

Program Highlights

Amy Stephens-PAHC Pasadena Nurse, Ms. Ann Crider of Houston Public Media, Officer Juan Gomez-Harris Health Systems Security, Maria A. Garza-BCM Administrative Assistant at PAHC-Pasadena

Program HighlightsAnn Crider, Director, Community Education/Outreach at Houston Public Media connected Reach Out and Read with a PBS Kids book donation.  The books went to the Pediatric and Adolescent Health Clinic-Pasadena of the Harris Health System.

Program HighlightsChristina Vavrecka, Sr. Executive Assistant, recently took over coordination of the Reach Out and Read program at My Access Health in Richmond, Texas.  She’s really gotten into the spirit of the program, asking her church to do book drives for gently used books for the waiting area and sick child visits, getting a rug for the waiting area so children have an invitation to sit down and read, setting up shelving in the waiting area and exam rooms, etc...   About her new role as coordinator she says, “It is one of my favorite things to do.  I love walking through our hallways when I go to check on the book stock each day.  I carry a basket of gently used books to revamp the stock.  I pass them out to all the children I meet along the way, in the pediatric waiting area and in the actual clinic area. Their eyes light up so wonderfully.  It amazes me!”  She’s even updated her email signature with her inspiration for the program: “Reading to our babies and our children is the key to brain development, the key to education and the means to eradicate poverty.”         

In future issues we’ll hear from providers across Texas about their view of Reach Out and Read.  This time, please follow the link and read the article written by Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD and Amy Shriver, MD.  Dr. Navsaria, among other roles, practices primary-care pediatrics in Madison, Wisconsin and is the founding Medical Director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin.  Dr. Shriver, among other roles, practices general pediatrics in Des Moines, Iowa and is the Co-Medical Director for Reach Out and Read Iowa.

Download "The Elephant in the Clinic"

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Quality Corner: Brownsville Kiddie Health Center, Dr. Carmen Rocco, Brownsville, TX.  The Ed Rachal Foundation generously supports our South Texas Reach Out and Read programs.

Program Highlights

Photo from Brownsville Kiddie Health Center’s annual Shelfie Contest... parents share what they have done with the collections of books from the Reach Out and Read Program.   They give the clinic a picture with the story of why their children love the books and staff votes on first, second and third place winners.

Dr. Rocco says the college also sends Child Development students to learn how to read to children through the Reach Out and Read Program at their clinic.  Finally, they have three volunteers (children of staff members) who are diehard believers in Reach Out and Read.... they tag the books for the clinic before they are given to families.

Program Highlights

Chris and Isabelle Covarrubias receiving a Reach Out and Read book at TCP Gulfgate.

The Jr. League of Houston, Inc. supports the Texas Children’s Pediatric Community Care clinics with volunteer readers and some funding for books.  Dr. Jamil Joyner shared photos from TCP –Gulfgate and writes:

TCP Gulfgate is a busy and growing clinic on the Southeast side of Houston.  Reach Out and Read has been in our clinic since 2006; in 2012 our clinic moved to our new location at the Gulfgate shopping center and we’ve experienced exponential growth since that time.  In February of 2012, we gave 652 books in a 6 month period; in the same time frame, ending in July of 2015, we gave away 2853 books.
Our population is bilingual and appreciates the books we give them.  Children look forward to book time and even ask for them when they are sick.  We are always in need of books in Spanish and for board books for infants.

Parents love our Reach Out and Read program as well.  When I told a father I was writing about the program, he said he likes the books because they are reminders for him as a parent.  He feels like his kids are telling him, “Hey, I’m interested in reading.”

The books also allow families to have fun together at bedtime.  One family makes story time dramatic.  The father gets a deep voice and says, “Welcome to tonight’s feature presentation of Masterpiece Theater presented by your father for you kids.”  He then acts out the books in a way that is entertaining for his children.

We love fostering these special moments for families.  As physicians we know that the Reach Out and Read program helps with language development, early literacy, attachment and bonding.  However, we forget that the program helps create these special family memories that can be cherished forever.  We love this program and we look forward to seeing it grow as we grow.

Poster Contest:  Share a story, quote or photo about your Reach Out and Read program and I’ll send you a laminated copy of this poster:

Program Highlights

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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 .

Winter 2015

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Newsletter Contributors

Jocelyn McConnell, M.Ed.
ROR-TX Director

Bang Pham
Web Developer IV

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