More than three decades ago, Dr. Robert Needlman decided if he was going to improve the health outcomes of his patients he was going to have to fight illiteracy. In 1989, Needlman started Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit that encourages literacy among young children, out of the trunk of his car. At first, he put books in the waiting rooms of pediatric clinics, then decided they should be brought into the doctor’s visits themselves. Today, the group is now in 37 outpatient clinics across Northeast, Ohio and serves 4.2 million young children in the U.S. In 2021 alone, Reach Out and Read books were distributed in over 36,000 well-child visits, according to the group.

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