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Pediatrics. 2004 May;113(5):1248-53.

More evidence for reach out and read: a home-based study.

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Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8064, USA.



Reach Out and Read (ROR), a clinic-based literacy program, has been shown to improve literacy outcomes in impoverished children. No study has used direct observation to assess a child's home literacy environment or to control for important confounders, such as the quality of the home environment. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between the frequency of ROR encounters that a family receives during well-child visits and a child's home literacy profile, while accounting for important confounders, such as the quality of the home environment.


A cross-sectional study was conducted of 137 children (aged 18-30 months) who received pediatric well-child care at the Yale-New Haven Hospital Primary Care Center. The number of ROR encounters that the family received was determined though parent interview, direct observation, and a review of the medical record. After a brief waiting room interview, a home visit was conducted. An assessment of the child's home literacy environment was completed on the basis of 10 variables that were obtained from parent report and direct observation within the home. These variables were summed to form a Child Home Literacy Index. The Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment, a standardized measure of the nurturing quality of the home environment, was also administered. Hierarchical linear regression was conducted to determine the significance of ROR on a child's home literacy environment.


A total of 100 families completed both a waiting room interview and a home visit. Families received between 0 and 6 books in the ROR program. A total of 93% of families reported reading to their children, but only 35% of parents identified reading as a favorite activity of their child and 45% of parents reported that this was a favorite joint activity. Hierarchical linear regression demonstrated that increasing frequency of ROR encounters contributed a small but significant portion of the variance explaining a child's home literacy profile (5%), with this model accounting for a total of 19% of the variance.


A modest literacy intervention, such as ROR, can have a significant impact on a child's home literacy environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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