University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Evaluating the Effect of Reach Out and Read on Clinic Values, Attitudes, and Knowledge

Heather Burton, MD; Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD

WMJ. 2019;118(4):177-181.

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Objective: Reach Out and Read is a primary care clinic-based early childhood literacy promotion program that facilitates discussion around literacy and encourages shared reading at home. No prior studies have examined the effect of program implementation on clinic staff and clinic values, attitudes, and knowledge related to early literacy. The hypothesis of this study was that Reach Out and Read implementation not only improves early childhood literacy promotion, but also improves aspects of the clinician’s work environment. Understanding the potential effects of this program on clinic staff is important, since many clinics will implement this program in the near future.

Methods: Semistructured key informant interviews were performed with 10 study clinics with Reach Out and Read and 7 control clinics. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed according to standard qualitative research protocol. Comparisons were made for differences in clinic morale and attitudes towards early childhood literacy. A secondary analysis examined practice and workplace changes in study clinics.

Results: The coded transcripts showed that clinicians at the majority of the study clinics believed that the program boosted clinic morale, increased provider satisfaction, improved patient-clinician relationships, and promoted a literacy-rich environment. Compared to clinicians in control clinics, clinicians in study clinics were more likely to report that they played a large role in promoting literacy and reported having more consistent literacy discussion in visits. Funding was the only concern mentioned consistently by clinics with Reach Out and Read.

Conclusion: Understanding potential changes that can occur in clinics because of the Reach Out and Read program is crucial to help clinics adequately prepare for the implementation process. Knowing that this program has many advantages and few disadvantages in clinics may encourage more participation. Further studies should compare clinics with Reach Out and Read to those with no interest in the program to determine if results from this study can be more broadly generalized.

Author Affiliations: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wis (Burton, Navsaria); University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (Navsaria).
Corresponding Author: Heather Burton, MD, 3925 NE 45th St, Apt 111, Seattle, WA 98105; phone 920.573.2119; email
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank everyone who helped make this study possible. Thank you to all the clinicians and clinic staff who participated in this project. Additional thanks to Karin Mahony for all her support and assistance with this study. Finally, thank you to Max Rusek for his assistance in qualitative data analysis.
Funding/Support: This study was funded by the University of Wisconsin (UW) Shapiro Summer Research Program and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Pediatrics.
Conflict of Interest: Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD, is the medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin and is on the Medical Leadership Committee and Board of Directors of Reach Out and Read National Center.
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