The Needlman study at Boston Medical Center first suggested that giving books to families, along with anticipatory guidance about the importance of reading aloud, had a significant effect on parental beliefs, behavior, and attitudes towards reading. Subsequent studies supported that finding, suggesting that pediatric primary care providers had a unique opportunity to encourage the development of emergent literacy and language skills in the population studied.
In addition to peer-reviewed research studies, there are a number of recently published articles supporting the Reach Out and Read intervention.
Archives of Diseases in Childhood - "The developing brain and early learning"
Much of the new understanding of the brain in the early years of life emphasizes the translation of early experiences into neuronal connections, which in turn may influence later child development. We report an evidence based innovation in paediatric primary care in the United States that builds on recent research in brain development to promote learning in infancy and early childhood, with specific reference to books and language.P E Klass, R Needlman, and B Zuckerman: August 2003; 88: 651-654.
Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care - "Promoting Language and Literacy Through Reading Aloud: The Role of the Pediatrician"
Dr. Alan L. Mendelsohn explores the roots of language and literacy development in infancy and childhood, and challenges pediatricians to actively participate in the language development of patients. He reviews the scientific evidence supporting the home environment and parent-child interaction as important influences on language and literacy development, and the evidence supporting early interventions as effective means to improve academic achievement. Alan L. Mendelsohn, MD: July 2002, Volume 32, Number 6,
Journal of Pediatric Health Care - "Reach Out and Read: A Pediatric Clinic-based Approach to Early Literacy Promotion"
As primary health care providers, pediatric nurse practitioners are in a unique position to affect and encourage parental behaviors that foster early literacy development in children. Reach Out and Read is a successful early literacy program that can be easily adopted by pediatric nurse practitioners in primary care settings.Atkinson P, Parks D, Cooley S, Sarkis S: Jan/Feb 2002,16(1)15.
Contemporary Pediatrics - "Reach out and get your patients to read"
"Intervention to prevent reading problems needs to occur long before first grade. Evidence shows that incorporating a reading promotion program into your practice can improve the reading ability of children and thereby bestow lifelong benefits."Needlman R, Klass P, Zuckerman B: January 2002;19(1)51