Reach Out and Read Supported by LeadCare!

November 4, 2016

Billerica, MA (November 3, 2016) – Today, 32 million American adults cannot read and one in four children grow up without learning how to read. Yet many do not realize that illiteracy is more than the inability to read a good book. Illiteracy is linked to almost every major global development challenge there is, from infant mortality and malnutrition to gender inequality and unemployment. (Project Literacy 2016)

Since 1989, Reach Out and Read has been combating illiteracy one book and one family at a time. Their approach is simple; A doctor. A family. A book. Pediatricians incorporate books during routine well-child visits, encouraging families to read aloud together every day.

Twenty-seven years and 15 peer-reviewed studies later, Reach Out and Read pediatricians have successfully encouraged millions of parents to read aloud daily with their young children. One pediatrician commented on the positive effects Reach Out and Reach has had in her practice: “Michelle has been my patient since she was born. When she came in for her 6-year-old checkup, and her mom was proudly holding up Michelle’s kindergarten report card. Not only is Michelle one of the strongest students in her class—the teacher actually recommended that she skip the first grade! Her mom said it was all because of Reach Out and Read.”

Sharing in the mission to improve literacy for children, Magellan Diagnostics has made a corporate contribution to Reach Out and Read to help support their work. Magellan Diagnostics is the provider of point of care testing technology used by pediatricians to quickly screen children for lead exposure at their well-child visit. Because lead is a powerful neurotoxin, young children who are chronically exposed to even small amounts of lead are six times more likely to have a reading disability than children who have not been exposed.

“Reading is fundamental to achieving a child’s potential and to living a full, enriched life,” said Amy Winslow, president and CEO of Magellan Diagnostics. “Early identification of lead-exposed children helps to ensure that they receive the care they need to reach their full potential. In this way, it goes hand-in-hand with Reach Out and Read’s mission to narrow the achievement gap by incorporating books into pediatric care. Efforts to support early brain development resonate with our customers and our employees, so we are delighted to support Reach out and Read.”

To celebrate the donation, Magellan president and CEO, Amy Winslow, visited the Reach Out and Read program at Harvard Vanguard – Cambridge Medical Associates. She spent the afternoon reading with the children and giving out new books to encourage a love for reading.

“We are pleased to host and celebrate Magellan Diagnostics’ generous donation to Reach out and Read. Our Pediatrician, Dr. Lauren LaGrega, has been promoting “Reach out and Read” for over five years. Handing out these books truly makes a difference to our little patients who are excited and happy to receive these wonderful colorful books. These books are a way parents can bond and communicate with their children.” – Harvard Vanguard – Cambridge Medical Associates

With medical providers delivering the program, Reach Out and Read is uniquely positioned to reach nearly all children and their parents as they visit their doctor. The organization focuses on children growing up in low-income families as research shows they are at the highest risk for reading failure. The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) estimates that by the time children from low-income families enter kindergarten, they are typically 12-14 months behind national norms in language and pre-reading skills.

At a cost of only $100 per child for the full five years, over 28,000 Reach Out and Read medical providers nationally distribute 6.5 million books to nearly 4.5 million children and their families annually, including 25 percent of all children in families with low incomes.

“We are thrilled to have the support of Magellan Diagnostics and the medical community!” said Reach Out and Read Director of Development for Connecticut and Massachusetts, Christine Garber. “By incorporating books and guidance into pediatric checkups starting in infancy, we help parents acquire essential parenting skills, showing them how reading aloud not only nurtures healthy brain development but is also the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading.”

The Reach Out and Read model is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and has one of the strongest records of research support of any primary care intervention. Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills, better prepared to achieve their full potential. For more information on Reach Out and Read, to get involved, or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit their website at

Magellan Diagnostics is a medical device company that provides point-of-care systems, clinical laboratory instruments, and analytical laboratory services focused on blood lead testing. A business unit of Meridian Bioscience, Inc., Magellan is headquartered outside Boston in Billerica, Massachusetts, and is dedicated to offering high-quality, reliable products that help identify children and adults at risk of harm due to lead exposure. We are committed to educating clinicians, policy makers, payers, families, and communities about the permanent health damage caused by lead and how to detect and address lead exposure. For more information, visit

Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates Cambridge Pediatrics has been providing pediatric care for Cambridge and surrounding communities for over thirty years. Our pediatricians, Chief Jose Alberto Betances, MD; Melissa Bergman, MD; Lauren LaGrega, MD; Rosemarie Gordon, MD, and Dianne Silverman, MD, provide important medical support in meeting with our patient’s family’s healthcare needs. We are a collaborative team ensuring that our patients receive the best care. We are happy to announce our new affiliation with Harvard University Health Services. Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates Cambridge Pediatrics will be opening our new pediatric practice, January 3rd in collaboration with our main practice located at 1611 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA. Joining our Pediatric Staff at the Harvard University Health Services location will be Dr. Naomi Priver, MD and Dr. Hongchao Zhou, MD offering support to Harvard University and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates Pediatric patients.

Kindergarten reading readiness can be affected by early childhood exposure to lead.
Read the full study here.

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