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Letter from the Director

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Dear Friends of Reach Out and Read Texas,

It’s been awhile since I’ve written you--Kristi and I have been focused on getting out around Texas and visiting with you in person--our spring has been full!  As temperatures rise, we’ll be a little more strategic about being on the road but will continue to follow up with you and see how your programs are working.

Many good things are happening with Reach Out and Read both nationally and here in Texas.   We received funds through a joint grant proposal from the Pitney Bowes Foundation to support programs in the Dallas area and were invited to join four other affiliates to participate in a grant from the Heising Simons Foundation to look at roll out of Early Math content in Reach Out and Read programs. Additional opportunities to participate in research are on the horizon that will help us better understand the impact Reach Out and Read can have, stay tuned!

I had the pleasure once again to visit with Dr. Rebecca Huston and the Friends of Alamo City Reach Out and Read at the annual conference in San Antonio.  Several wonderful speakers, Dr. Andrew Martinez, Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology, and Dr. Melissa Svoboda, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Child Neurology and Neurodevelopment, Baylor College of Medicine, spoke on Early Literacy Development especially with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.

I also attended the National Reach Out and Read Conference in Cincinnati and heard about fascinating research activities across the country as well as new opportunities for collaborations.  One of the sessions reviewed updates to training and content for working with children with Developmental Disabilities, contact us if you’d like more information about these materials.

Dr. Pamela Chung, Physicians at Sugar Creek, Memorial Hermann Medical Group, attended the conference with me.  Dr. Chung has graciously agreed to wear the hat of State Medical Director this year.  So many medical providers across the state support the program and offer guidance and input when I ask; Dr. Chung will be able to commit a little more time to the challenges of representing a state the size of Texas.   I’m excited to have her perspective as we consider new opportunities and approaches to serving the programs here.  Please see her note below.

Welcome to Reach Out and Read: Tiny Tot Clinic for Neurodevelopment, UT Health Houston and Tots & Teens, Robstown!  Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group, Sugar Land and Texas Children’s Complex Care Clinic, Houston have completed training and are awaiting final determination as Active programs, so they’ll be sharing literacy guidance with families soon!

Progress reports will be open in July.  These are one way we continue the conversation with you, the National program, funders and the legislature, so please be sure to tell us how things are going!

Please remember that encouraging parents to talk, sing, read and engage 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.
Reach Out and Read Texas

"The home is the child's first school, the parent is the child's first teacher, and reading is the child's first subject." ~ Barbara Bush

Shortly after Jocelyn asked me to join the team, Texas experienced a great loss in the passing of Barbara Bush. I have been continually inspired when reading about her work and commitment to literacy.

Mrs. Bush, the mother of 6 children, took a particular interest in literacy after her son Neil was diagnosed with dyslexia. Mrs. Bush founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy while serving as First Lady in 1989. She strongly believed that “Most of our nation’s problems would be solved if every man, woman and child could read, write and comprehend.”  The Barbara Bush Foundation’s website ( has a wealth of information about literacy, for both adults and children, and a call to action to address the achievement gap that occurs for children raised in low literacy environments.  She also played a role in the 1991 passage of the National Literacy Act which supports national initiatives to increase adult literacy rates. Her family has continued her legacy of literacy by founding the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation in 2013. Right up until her passing this spring, Mrs. Bush was still actively promoting the Foundation.

I look forward to working with you all and helping to advance the cause of literacy in Texas. I hope we will all have the enthusiasm and dedication to literacy that Barbara Bush so wonderfully modeled for us.


Dr. Pamela Chung
State Medical Director
Reach Out and Read Texas

Reach Out and Read Texas sites who’ve achieved 100% Medical Provider online CME training since the last newsletter!!

(Contact us if you need support to get your team trained.)

Kristi and I are so pleased with the many clinics who have made a concerted effort to get to 100% medical providers trained at!  We realize that some of you start afresh every summer with a new round of Residents and more than one of you has noted that fellow faculty members are the most challenging to encourage.  A special shout out to Harlingen Pediatric Clinic who had a team meeting  to recommit to the process and seek best practices for including Reach Out and Read.  We so appreciate those of you who are championing the program and seeking to make your clinics high fidelity programs.

Site ID

Site Name


Training %


Su Clinica Familiar / Brownsville Clinic




Driscoll Children's Hospital High Risk Infant Follow-Up Program

Corpus Christi



Hatcher Station Health Center




Parkland Health and Hospital System / Pediatric Primary Care Center




Southeast Dallas Health Center




Children's Health Pediatric Group




Southside School Based Clinic / Galena Park Community and Resource Training Center

Galena Park



Harlingen Pediatric Associates




Tiny Tot Clinic for Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Health




Children's Health Center, P.A. /

Marble Falls



Pasadena Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center /




UTMB Regional Maternal Child Health Program - Pearland




Tots and Teens Pediatrics /




University of Texas Health Science Center:  PREMIEre Program / Dept. of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology

San Antonio



University Family Health Center /

San Antonio



Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group / CHI St. Luke's Medical Group

Sugar Land



Program Highlights:

Book Drive

Jennifer Ramon and Kimberly Gonzalez of Corpus Christi Tots and Teens.


Daniella Lozano reads to Ezekiel David Cantu while waiting for the well child visit at Tots and Teens Pediatrics in Corpus Christi.

Summer 3  

Mallory Aparece, NP and Jennifer Ramon, Reach Out and Read Coordinator at Tots and Teens in Corpus Christi, celebrate the arrival of donation books from Star Bright Books and Scholastic!

Summer 4  

Scholastic shared an additional 3000 books for Hurricane Harvey relief and Reginald (Reggie) Gibbs and Travis Johnson figured out how to get the books from the loading dock to storage here at the Children’s Learning Institute at UTHealth.  We’ve been so fortunate to have the support of all the book vendors this year... really able to extend needed support to families impacted by the storm.


Parkland Health and Hospital System and UT Physicians have both recently highlighted their participation in Reach Out and Read, acknowledging the impact the program has on their patients’ lives. (link to Parkland article
UT Health’s article:

Note from Teresa Gallegos, MSW,  Harlingen Pediatrics, after the clinic recommitted to the program and reached 100% medical providers trained:  Good morning Jocelyn! We are excited to report that our shipment of books arrived yesterday! Beautiful books! The timing was perfect because today, May 1st,  we start giving out books. The doctors have decided to have books available where they will be selecting the child’s book. The training was very motivating. There was excitement in the clinic yesterday as I announced to each provider that we had BOOKS again. Thank you!

Note from Donalee Cushman, NP, UTMB Sugar Land, upon receiving donation books: Thank you so much! We are giving out books at well visits and seeing the children light up! It is such a wonderful teaching moment and promotes literacy. We just received more books (English this time). Last time Spanish.  Again, many thanks!  I just submitted my report for July to December 2017. 

First Book and Pat Mora honored UT Kids San Antonio with a $300 gift card for celebrating El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), commonly known as Día, which is a celebration every day of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30th. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. See the attached robust Dia planning guide and learn more here.

Summer 5

Summer 6


Tara Greendyk, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin, East Austin Community Care Clinic, commented: We consider ROR invaluable, for our families and trainees. Our residents' understanding of normal development, the impact of parent connection on healthy brain development and the positive affects literacy promotion has on everything from school readiness to social emotional skills is inextricably linked to ROR. We think about ROR as a roadmap and a guide which provides our families and all of us providers the most optimal experience of and journey through childhood and beyond!

Summer 7

Aubree Silva receives a new book at her well child visit at Southside School Based Clinic, Harris Health.   Lorena Mottu, APRN, MSN, FNP-C, AE-C is her medical provider.

We’ve expanded our vendor options this year so that we may increase the number of titles and languages we can share with sites when funding allows.  One of the book sellers that we are now partnering with is First Book.  While many of you have had experience working with them, I began a partnership with them last fall through the generous support of KPMG.  Below are details about how you might access their many selections:

Free and Low-Cost Books and Resources from First Book

ROR TX is excited to introduce you to First Book. First Book is a national nonprofit organization that since 1992 has distributed more than 170 million free and low-cost books and resources to programs and schools serving children in need. 
Joining First Book is free and open to all providers and staff from organizations serving at least 70% children from low-income families, kids with special needs, and military youth- including Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers.
We encourage you to sign-up at  Joining takes less than 10 minutes!
As a member of First Book, you get access to:

  • First Book Marketplace- including the new Health Care Resource Center
  • First Book National Book Bank- FREE books- just pay shipping and handling
  • Funding opportunities as available

first book

First Book is happy to accept your purchase orders, assist with large-scale special orders of 1,000 books or more, and is an approved vendor of UTHealth.

Site visits and observations are continuing.  This helps us evaluate the strength of your programs, how closely you are able to match the evidence-based best practices, and what support you need to execute your programs.  These conversations also help us make connections for you in your community for resources that may be available and to help you identify ways that Reach Out and Read can meet your clinic’s needs and priorities. When we ask you, “What aspect of your program are you the most proud of?” how will you respond?


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 or Kristi Romero, MSc at

Summer 2018

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Donation Chart

Newsletter Contributors

Jocelyn McConnell, M.Ed.
ROR-TX Director

Kristi Romero, MSc

Bang Pham
Web Developer IV



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