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Letter from the Director

Dear Friends of Reach Out and Read Texas,

Why Reach Out and Read?
As I travel around the state and meet with healthcare providers, potential funders and other collaborators, I find myself identifying what makes Reach Out and Read unique.  We all love the books and medical providers and staff enjoy having something so positive to share with children during visits where vaccinations may be the most memorable moment.  We excitedly identify with our own happy memories of reading as children or sharing books with children in our lives.  Finding additional sources of funding for books certainly occupies much of my time and energy... I want medical providers to have the opportunity to share books with children at every well child visit.  Sites in Texas currently report performing over 600,000 well child visits each year! If you have ideas for additional support in your area, but aren’t sure how to proceed, let me know and we can continue the conversation together.  Programs like BookSpring in Austin, First Books, HEB and Red Oak Foundation in Ft. Worth as well as organizations like Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs and the Jr. League are great collaborators for book support.

And yet, I frequently find myself saying that Reach Out and Read is not a book distribution program.  This often gets a double take from staff at sites where the program has become equal to a very special lollipop after the aforementioned vaccinations.  What I mean is that the research-proven, evidence-based model for Reach Out and Read focuses on the interaction between the medical provider and the family and child.  I want the book to be a tool to enhance modeling of language building interactions and for assessing developmental milestones and social interactions between parents and child.  The power of the program is the respected, trusted provider sharing their enthusiasm and certainty that talking, singing and reading build language and spur brain development, giving parents an opportunity to expand their child’s future.  Below is a YouTube link highlighting brand new training videos created at national which highlight this wonderful model.   Check them out, share them with your providers and staff and see how you might enhance your Reach Out and Read program.

Please remember that encouraging parents to talk, sing, and read with young children is a powerful resource for changing the trajectory for at-risk children and their brain development.  I appreciate all that you do to support the children of Texas!

Jocelyn McConnell, M.Ed.


Progress Reports are due September 1, 2016.  While logged in, please

  • review contact lists and make sure they reflect all active providers and coordinators at your site with current email and phone numbers; delete any inactive staff or providers.
  • check to see who needs to do the free online CME training!
  • complete and sign off on the progress report.

Completing the progress report helps me to identify continuing need for book funding and to share your experiences from the field. These criteria also influence book distribution choices.

The Reach Out and Read Texas website has a new url:

Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read National has completed new training videos. In 2017 they’ll be included in the updated training module (CEU training), but for now, you can check them out on YouTube!

Program Highlights:

Reach Out and Read

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Brandi Daniel, LVN coordinates the Reach Out and Read program at the Brenham Clinic in Brenham, TX.  She and Dr. Jennifer Jones met with me on a recent site visit and shared their strategies for encouraging reading.  The Fortnightly Club provides gently used books for the waiting areas.  Each waiting area has a book shelf with books for various ages and a binder with tips for parents.  They also have a reading room when volunteers are available to come and read with children (and model for parents).                             

Reach Out and Read

Anna Reed, Development Associate,  Dr. Louis Appel, Chief Medical Officer and Regina Rogoff, CEO of People’s Community Clinic in Austin gave me a tour of their beautiful new facility and identified the steps they are taking to maintain fidelity to the Reach Out and Read model.  They also asked for guidance about any additional steps they could take to improve their program.  The photo shows one of their bookshelves filled with gently used books (provided by BookSpring) in the waiting areas.

Reach Out and Read

Above: Trish Wilder, Irene Luna, Kathy Mitchell, Sandra Ellison, Martha Moore, Edna Anglin and Beth MorrissetBluebonnet Lions Club presents check to Corridor Primary Care in San Marcos, TX to support their Reach Out and Program.

The Reach Out and Read program has transformed our office into a place kids enjoy visiting.  Children now know me as the book doctor, and it always brings me joy when a child asks for a book during the visit.  Reading is so incredibly important for a child's development.  It provides language and literacy growth, which can improve their intellectual ability to succeed in school.  Our office is very excited to be able to promote literacy to children through the Reach Out and Read program, and we hope to continue this amazing program for many more years to come!

Dr. Ramona Ataya-Dakour
Greater Beaumont Pediatrics

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Dean Dakour, 1 year old, helps mom, Dr. Ataya-Dakour, sort books for their program.

Prosper Waco and the Junior League of Waco collaborated to reestablish Reach Out and Read at the Heart of Texas Health Center (FQHC).  $80,000 was awarded to support the program over the next 3 to 5 years.  Heart of Texas completes 14,000 well child visits in a year.  Follow the link to read more from the Waco Tribune.

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 2016

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Newsletter Contributors

Jocelyn McConnell, M.Ed.
ROR-TX Director

Bang Pham
Web Developer IV

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Program Highlights

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