Reach Out and Read of Greater Milwaukee (ROR-M)
This medically-based early literacy program is evidence-based. Please review a summary of research (PDF) published on the effectiveness of the program.
ROR gives low-income parents the information, encouragement and materials they need to make books and reading a regular part of their children's lives.
Reach Out and Read integrates early literacy development into pediatric primary care settings for preschool children, by taking advantage of regularly scheduled well-child visits to reach parents of children from six months to five years of age. It is a pediatric literacy program that uses health supervision visits and the power of the provider/patient relationship to support the development of early literacy skills in young children.
- To encourage parents to read to their babies and young children
- To encourage parents to share in the excitement of learning
- To "prescribe" appropriate books at well-child visits for children ages six months to five years
- To help young children develop a love of reading
- To prepare children to start school ready to learn and succeed
- To promote positive interactions between clinicians and children and families from underserved populations
Beginning at the six-month visit and continuing through the child's fifth year, clinicians give a child a developmentally appropriate and culturally respectful book at each visit. Their parents receive guidance about the benefits of literacy development, looking at books with young children, and reading aloud. By the time they begin school, children will acquire a library of at least ten beautiful children's books.
In the clinic waiting room, volunteers read stories and look at books with children, thereby modeling reading aloud techniques and other nurturing interactions for parents.
Greater Milwaukee is part of a nationwide effort to encourage children and their parents to experience the rewards of increased literacy at a young age. The Commission on Reading reported that reading aloud is the single most important predictor of later reading success.
In addition, reading aloud supports children's language and cognitive development and strengthens the parent-child bond. Most important, children regard reading as an enjoyable activity, associating books with parental love and attention.
A pilot study found that clinic parents who received literacy counseling and a book during a clinic visit were four times more likely to look at books with their children than parents who did not.
Please read about our current program measurables. (PDF)
5433 W. Fond du Lac Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53216
Isaac Coggs Heritage Health Center
8200 W. Silver Spring Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53218
Martin Luther King Heritage Center
2555 N. Martin Luther King Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Next Door Pediatrics
2561 N. 29th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53210
Lisbon Avenue Health Centers
3522 W. Lisbon Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53208
Hillside Family Center
1452 N. 7th St., 2nd Floor
Milwaukee, WI 53205
Sixteenth Street Community Health Center Cesar E. Chavez Location
1032 South 16th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204
Sixteenth Street Community Health Center Parkway Location
2906 S. 20th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53215
If you or your company would like to send a monetary donation please view our online giving form and select "Other" as the Gift Designation and specify "Reach Out and Read - Milwaukee" in the Comments section.
- Betty Brinn Foundation
- Wisconsin Energy Foundation
- Children's Wisconsin
- Medical College of Wisconsin
- Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation
- Reach Out and Read Wisconsin
- Bob and Linda Davis Family Fund
New and Gently Used Book Donations
- Books for Kids - Next-Door Foundation
- First Book
- Half-Price Book Metro Milwaukee Area
- ROR Wisconsin Coalition
- Value Village - North Ave.
- Literacy Services of Wisconsin
- Milwaukee Achiever Literary Services
- Marquette University Service Learning Program
- University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Service Learning Program
Read our volunteer overview (PDF)
The pediatricians at these clinics will continue your good work by counseling parents on the importance of sharing books with their children, and by giving books to the child during the well-child visits.
Volunteers must complete certain requirements (PDF), submit a volunteer application (PDF), have a background check (PDF) completed, two TB skin tests, and submit an immunization record. View Volunteer Health Assessment (PDF)
Volunteers are given an on-site orientation to introduce them to the clinic environment. They are given advice on reading aloud techniques, interacting with parents, and sharing literacy referral information.
For more information please call Alexandra Lesnick at (414) 955-5749 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have gently used children or adult books or magazines that you would like to donate, please contact Alexandra Lesnick at (414) 955-5749 or email email@example.com.
Children’s earliest literacy begins at home with their families. The links between literacy and poverty are well documented. Reach Out and Read is a national program that improves language development in children. The goal of ROR-M is to assess and improve literacy development including health literacy in urban populations.
In partnership with Midtown Clinic (MTC), ROR-M developed a protocol: Is the Message Getting Through? to accomplish the following objectives:
- Assess early literary resources within zip codes of existing MTC patient population
- Evaluate readability level of MTC patient education materials
- Administer Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (STOFHLA)/ and After Books Reading Survey (BABAR) to assess health literacy, parental attitudes and practices regarding reading with children
- Obtain parent opinions about book selection for ROR-M
- Identified that 79% of patients come from 10 zip codes. Overall, there were 13 (Range 0-5/zip code) early literacy resources identified in those 10 zip codes
- Over half (68%) of patient educational material was recorded as 7th grade and higher (Range 7th-17th)
- Reading books was one of their favorite activities (69%) and part of their bedtime routine (50%)
- Three quarters (75%) had more than 11 books in their home and 63% possessed library cards
- Health literacy levels by determining parents’ ability to comprehend basic medical concepts and what they must do in order to stay healthy. Parents had either an Adequate Reading Level (92%) or Marginal Reading Level (8%)
- Most (88%) parents bought books for their children in addition to the ROR-M books that they received at their doctor’s appointment
- Parents (63%) expressed a preferred for books with words & pictures that have a moral lesson
- Half of the parents allowed their child to choose their own books
Limitations of this study is that convenience sampling results in self-selection of parents to be assessed that might have higher literacy levels and under representation of families at greatest risk for literacy challenges.