Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Jo's Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and ReadMany children, especially those in poverty, may not be exposed to books until Kindergarten or Head Start. Researchers know that reading and language skills begin long before school starts. Pediatricians are in a unique position to deliver this message, because the average child will visit a pediatrician’s office several times before the age of two for well child visits and vaccinations.

Reach Out and Read promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms. This nationwide program gives new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud.

Vanderbilt pediatrician Rebecca Swan and her husband Michael, a Nashville obstetrician, founded Jo’s Reach Out and Read in 2000. it is a local chapter of this national effort, in 2000 in memory of their daughter, Johanna.

Reach Out and Read builds on the relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, ages six months to five years. Jo’s Reach Out and Read serves more than 4000 children and their families annually. This program works! Families read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten better prepared to succeed, with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills.

Program goals

  • Provide age-appropriate books free of charge to children at well child visits.
  • Encourage parents to read to their children daily.
  • Model good reading habits by providing volunteer readers in waiting rooms.

How to Help

Beautiful new books cost money, and we serve thousands of children through our small annual book budget.


Sometimes we need volunteer readers in waiting rooms at our Children's Hospital clinics. These volunteers model interactive reading techniques as they read to children waiting for their checkup. Volunteer information

Make a Tax-Deductible Contribution

Cash donations are processed through Vanderbilt and are tax-deductible. Give online here and be sure to put "Reach Out and Read" in the "special comments" box. Or learn more by emailing Cathy Atlas.

Last Edited: December 16, 2016
Valued Participant of Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network