Reach Out and Read Expands Early Literacy Intervention Throughout Georgia

Grants awarded this year have allowed for the creation of a Reach out and Read state office in Atlanta, headed by Executive Director Amy Erickson. Our unique model partners with pediatricians to prescribe reading to children in low income areas.

Online PR News – 09-November-2012 – Atlanta/Georgia – Thanks to the generous support of two charitable foundations, the national school readiness initiative Reach Out and Read is expanding its infrastructure – and school readiness intervention –
throughout Georgia.

Grants awarded earlier this year have allowed for the creation of a Reach Out and Read Georgia state office in Atlanta, headed by new Executive Director Amy Erickson. With a strong background in education, marketing, sales, and relationship building, Erickson brings more than 18 years of experience to Reach Out and Read from leading education companies like Pearson Education, The Family Education Network, and Edison.

Erickson is a founding board member of the National Charity League, Northeast Atlanta chapter, founding member of the Young Men’s Service League, Northeast Atlanta chapter, and has been a member of the Junior League of Atlanta for more than 17 years.

On the ground in Georgia, Erickson will join Dr. Terri McFadden, Medical Director of Reach Out and Read Georgia and Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding; and Dr. Jay Berkelhamer, immediate past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics and longtime Atlanta-based champion of Reach Out and Read.

“I am thrilled to be joining Reach Out and Read, and I look forward to expanding awareness of the economic and social benefits of investing in early literacy efforts on behalf of the young children of Georgia,” said Erickson. “Nearly 30 percent of children are living in poverty in Georgia under the age of 5. These children are the ones most at risk for falling behind in school or even worse, dropping out of school. With Reach Out and Read, I want to help make a difference in the lives of the children and families in Georgia who need us most.”

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based, national nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud at regular pediatric checkups. The model includes providing a new, age-appropriate book for each child to take home at every checkup from 6 months through 5 years. Along with the free book for every child, doctors and nurses also provide guidance to parents about the importance of reading aloud with their children every day.

What distinguishes Reach Out and Read from other interventions is that it has a large and growing evidence base. Since 1991, the Reach Out and Read model has been studied by academic investigators in a variety of settings, providing 15 peer-reviewed research studies on the effects of the program. The body of published research supporting the efficacy of the Reach Out and Read model is more extensive than for any other psychosocial intervention in general pediatrics.

Page 2 – Reach Out and Read Expands In Georgia

In Georgia, Reach Out and Read serves 60,343 children annually via 57 program sites. Each year, Reach Out and Read medical providers distribute 88,262 books statewide to the children who need them most.

The expansion in Georgia was made possible by generous support from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and thanks to a grant made possible through funding provided by the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation to the United Way of Greater Atlanta/Smart Start.

In July of this year, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation awarded Reach Out and Read a $200,000 grant to help expand its programs in Metro Atlanta and strengthen 57 program sites across Georgia. The funding will allow Reach Out and Read to enroll 4,000 additional Fulton County children and their parents in the program, providing them with 8,000 developmentally-appropriate books and early literacy advice during pediatric checkups.

In addition, the $250,000 gift by the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation to the United Way of Greater Atlanta/Smart Start helped create the Atlanta-based state office, will allow for the hiring of a program director, and will allow Reach Out and Read to enroll additional children from Georgia’s lowest-income regions (with a focus on Metro Atlanta) in the program.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our work throughout Georgia,” said Reach Out and Read CEO Earl Martin Phalen. “Countless children throughout the state are arriving to school a year or two below grade level, already at an enormous disadvantage. If we want to ensure the future economic security of our nation, the strength of our workforce, and the health of our children, it is critical that we engage parents and together, close the school readiness gap.”

Nationwide, Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses serve 4 million children and their families annually at nearly 5,000 pediatric practices, hospitals, clinics, and health centers in all 50 states, with a focus on centers that serve low-income communities.

For more information on Reach Out and Read, visit

Follow us on Twitter at and join us on Facebook at

Contact Information
Amy Erickson, Executive Director
Reach Out and Read
145 Old Sandhurst Landing
Johns Creek Ga, 30022