Reach Out and Read: Physician Assistant program is collecting books for children

Each year one-third of all children entering kindergarten lack the basic skills needed to learn to read.  By fourth grade, most of these children who were initially behind in reading will not catch up with their peers.  Juvenile delinquency, absenteeism, polysubstance abuse, and school failure have all been shown to have an association with poor reading skills in childhood.  These statements, from the evidence base for Reach Out and Read, highlight the importance promoting literacy skills in children before they begin elementary school.

In light of these staggering statistics, this year Reach Out and Read was selected as the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA) President’s Project.  TAPA President Lauren Dobbs chose Reach Out and Read because it is a national, non-profit organization that trains medical providers to counsel parents during well-child visits on the importance of reading aloud to their children.  Reach Out and Read also provides children’s books to participating pediatric clinics to be given out every six months for the child’s first five years of life.

During this year’s National Physician Assistant (PA) Week, October 6th through 12th, the seven Physician Assistant education programs in Texas will be competing to see which program can collect the most books for Reach Out and Read.  Faculty, staff and students at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio are encouraged to donate new or used children’s books (ages 6 months to 5 years old).  All books collected will be donated to the Center for Children and Families, a Reach Out and Read-participating clinic.  Donation bins will be located in the Dolph Briscoe Library, 3rd floor lobby, Texas Star Café, Research Administration Building lobby and the Christus Santa Rosa Professional Pavilion Suite 1295.  To make arrangements for a special pick-up, please e-mail Amanda Miller at

For more information on TAPA please visit

For more information on Reach Out and Read please visit

Amanda K. Miller, MPH, CPH