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Letter from the Director

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Dear Friends of Reach Out and Read Texas,

Welcome 2018!

I hope your holidays were restful and rejuvenating and you are invigorated by our unusual cold weather.

Reach Out and Read at the National level is experiencing a rebirth in a sense with 2.0 arriving in February.  Kristi and I will be remotely attending 4 different trainings on managing the system for the Texas Affiliate and we’ll have updates for you as we learn new things.  Primary announcement is that Progress Report season will be shifted a bit this winter—it will start February 15, 2018 and reports will be due by April 1st at the latest.  In general, the new version of should be much more intuitive and user friendly and we are grateful for all the hard work and funding put towards the effort.  I am sure there will be a learning curve as we adapt but I expect we’ll all celebrate the higher responsiveness of the new system.

In this newsletter we’ll also celebrate our new partnership with KPMG and the wonderful contributions made to our programs this year by several book sellers.

And in the most direct acknowledgement of new beginnings... we’ll highlight a program begun by Rowena Cadungog at Baylor Hospital NICU.  We’re hoping to connect her and any others working on programs in NICUs with Alison Corning-Clarke and the pilot study at Boston Medical Center.

Welcome to Reach Out and Read: UT Physicians Community Health & Wellness Center, Rosenberg!  This program’s launch was supported by a grant from Community Health Choice.  I have had the pleasure of visiting with the team at this clinic and look forward to seeing their program expand.

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

Launch of 2.0 begins February 15, 2018!  Progress reporting will begin at this time.  Watch for announcements and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or feedback.

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.)


Site ID

Site Name


Training %


Advanced Kids Care




NAM Children’s Clinic




Spring Branch Community Health Center




TCPA Corinthian Pointe




TCPA Gulfgate




TCPA Palm Center




UT Physicians Greenspoint




Seton Lockhart Care-A-Van




Access Health, Ft. Bend Family Health Center




UT Physicians Community Health & Wellness Center




Robert B Green Campus Pediatric Clinic, University Health System

San Antonio



In 2017 Reach Out and Read Texas was fortunate to become KPMG Houston’s newest partner in their Family for Literacy initiative.  The mission of the initiative is to eradicate childhood illiteracy by putting books into the hands of children in need and developing the next generation of young leaders through reading.  Rui Diemart and Hailey Laws, Co-Leads of the KFFL Houston Chapter, chose five clinics in the Houston area to support in their first year of collaboration:  Southside School Based Clinic, Galena Park (Harris Health System), Texas Children’s Pediatric Clinic-Ripley House, Spring Branch Community Health Center, El Centro de Corazon, and Houston Community Health Center at Denver Harbor.  On December 4th, KPMG volunteers added bookplates and bookmarks to over 3700 books to be distributed at the clinics.  Eduardo Lopez Mata has taken the lead to organize future volunteer efforts in the clinics.  We’re excited to see how this partnership will grow in the coming year!

View the album here


Kristi Romero, Jocelyn McConnell, Rui Diemart and Hailey Laws at the KPMG volunteer event.


Lorena Mottu, MSN, FNP-C, AE-C, Nurse Practitioner at Southside School Based Clinic, Harris Health System shares a book with a patient.

I had the good fortune to visit sites in the Panhandle and the Permian Basin just before the holidays; I was pleased to finally meet face-to-face with Dr. Tammy Camp, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Residency Program Director, and some of her team at Texas Tech’s Health Science Center in Lubbock.  Dr. Camp is a strong advocate for Reach Out and Read and she, Betty Sanders and their team ensure that their Residents complete the training as they rotate into their program each year.  I had the added delight of meeting Jada Bozeman on this trip.  She supports Reach Out and Read in the TTHSC clinics and so passionately spoke about the purpose and impact of the program that I asked if she might talk further with me so that I might highlight her thoughts here.  She shared,

“I feel like it helps children expand their vocabulary and their knowledge of interacting; reading helps them see different views of the world, builds communication skills, encourages them to be more creative.  I see that it builds self-esteem when parents take time to read with their children and I like the books that talk about feelings.  Teaches children about their emotions and how to share and have manners.  It builds a bond between you and your children when you take time to read.  Children learn to enjoy reading.  School is so much harder without reading.   I started reading to my children in the womb.  My favorites were Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Green Eggs & Ham, and bible stories.”


Dorothy Weintraub of Scholastic announced that in addition to 15,000 new books being donated to Texas sites in 2018, 5,000 additional books will be shared with clinics impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  We are so fortunate that the children of Texas continue to benefit from Scholastic’s ongoing support of Reach Out and Read!

10,000 books donated by All About Books to clinics who serve families impacted by Hurricane Harvey began arriving in November.  Shown, Nancy Gu, third year medical student at McGovern Medical School, UTHealth, shares a book with a patient at the Cleveland E Odom Clinic (Harris Health) in Houston.



Kristi and I happily received 2000 books from Star Bright Books which are awaiting delivery to clinics that are rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey.



Rowena Cadungog,  BSN, RNC at the NICU, Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas has been sharing her passion and enthusiasm for the impact reading can have on the development of premature infants.  She experienced this first hand when her twins were born and has instituted a program on her unit.  She’s calling her program kangaRead.  



If you have a NICU program or are interested in developing one, please let us know and we’ll be sure to connect you to resources.  Alison Corning-Clarke at has information about a pilot program at Boston Medical Center and may look at developing a standard Reach Out and Read protocol.

Daisy Morales, Vice-President-Community Affairs, Community Health Choice, has been targeting support for specific Reach Out and Read programs with great intentionality the past couple of years.  As she and I have discussed the powerful role of the medical provider in impacting the health and well-being of the children they serve, we’ve made connections between preliminary qualitative studies looking at family engagement in Reach Out and Read programs and focus group work done by Community Health Choice to improve patient compliance.

One of the focus groups addressed mothers attending post-partum visits, the second looked at decline in well-child visits in ages 3 to 6.  Both explored patient (or parent) relationship with the medical provider as factors impacting families keeping appointments.  There is definitely more work to be done on the research side of this question, but the question is a good one, how do you engage families in your practice?  Could a highly functioning, evidence-based implementation of Reach Out and Read improve compliance percentages in your health care system?

If you have completed or are in the process of researching these topics, let us know about it!   

Staff Training--we’ve created a brief ppt with some of the wonderful CME training videos included to assist with trainings for general staff (that don’t need to complete the online CME training).  Just contact us if you’d like to utilize this resource at your next staff meeting


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

Winter 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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