Reach Out and Read

"By combining our suite of donated Microsoft software, we were able to leverage the power of Microsoft DirectAccess to seamlessly integrate remote offices nationwide with headquarters without the added overhead of additional IT staff; we are grateful for the generous support of both TechSoup Global and Microsoft."

Eric Belford, director, information technology 

Technology Helps Reach Out and Read's 4 Million Children With Literacy

More than one-third of American children enter kindergarten without the basic language skills they will need to learn to read. Reach Out and Read medical providers, in nearly 5,000 sites across the country, are changing that. Via well-child checkup visits, doctors and nurses are providing high-quality books and advice on the importance of reading aloud, to nearly 4 million children and families annually. Reach Out and Read promotes early literacy and school readiness with a research-tested, evidence-based model that's proven to help children develop the language skills they will need to learn to read and succeed in school. 

One key to Reach Out and Read's success is the organization's unique organizing strategy. Founded by Boston pediatricians in 1989, Reach Out and Read's 28,000 volunteers are primarily doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals recruited through hospitals and health clinics. This network provides an effective way to immunize children against illiteracy in the critical years before they enter school and to reach the parents of small children via trusted figures.

Reach Out and Read has also succeeded brilliantly with its nonprofit organizational model. Although employees had been doing their work for years as a loose-knit group of many chapters, the software donations enabled them to create a nationwide IT infrastructure with improved efficiency in management, fundraising, and communications.