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(This article is part of Virginia Gay Hospital’s bi-annual publication, “Thrive” Spring/Summer 2017 issue. Online version can be found at https://myvgh.org/thrive/)

Reach Out & Read at Virginia Gay clinics is part of a nationwide program touching the lives of 4.7 million children. In 2014  Dr. Maggie Mangold, M.D., agreed to be the program’s medical sponsor, and Jen Blix, LPN, was the lead nurse. Today, in large measure because of Jen’s continued commitment, the program continues to flourish with support from the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation, the local Lions Club, individual donors and the active work of Virginia Gay’s health care providers.

“We give books to every young child and, of course, many of them have books in their homes and are read to by parents,” explains Lu Horak, MA, “but we also provide books to families that aren’t as fortunate. Part of our work is to share how important the time spent reading one-on-one is for the development of a child’s ability to read.”

Independent research has shown that parents are 2 ½ times more likely to have books in the home and to read to their children as a result of the Reach Out & Read program. Pre-school language development of children is improved by 3 to 6 months. Reach Out & Read touches the lives of 1 in 4 children of low income families in the U.S.


The national program, in partnership with the publishers of many children’s books, makes it possible to provide books for one child throughout the year for just $20.  To support Virginia Gay’s Reach Out & Read program or to learn more, visit myvghfoundation.org/reach-out-read/