Saint Alphonsus Health System
Reach Out and Read Literacy Program introduced at C.A.R.E. Maternal/Child Health Clinic
Start Date

For more information, contact Elizabeth Duncan.

Program helps to serve the refugee population in the Treasure Valley – helping women learn valuable English skills along with their babies 

Boise, ID - Getting books from the doctor will soon be a routine part of regular pediatric checkups at the Saint Alphonsus C.A.R.E. Maternal/Child Health Clinic as doctors and nurses welcome the Reach Out and Read program to the practice. The Saint Alphonsus C.A.R.E clinic joins more than 4,779 Programs nationwide that are preparing America’s youngest children to succeed in school.

Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read's evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups, by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children.

The program begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities. 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 potential.

Pediatric healthcare providers are trained in the three-part Reach Out and Read model to promote early literacy and school readiness: 

  • In the exam room, doctors and nurses speak with parents about the importance of reading aloud to their young children every day, and offer age-appropriate tips and encouragement.
  • The pediatric primary care provider gives every child 6 months through 5 years old a new, developmentally-appropriate children's book to take home and keep.
  • In the waiting room, displays, information, and books create a literacy-rich environment. Volunteer readers entertain children, modeling for parents the pleasures - and techniques - of reading aloud.  

“In the Saint Alphonsus C.A.R.E. Clinic, we have refugee women and families from several different countries and continents throughout the world,” said Judith Hobbs, RN, FACCE, the manager of the Saint Alphonsus Family Center. ”Many of these women do not read or write in their native language, nor have they ever been to school in their native country. So in our Reach Out and Read Program, most of our refugee women are learning to read along with their babies, and all are learning valuable English skills. 

"Our first shipment of books was perfect in that they have pictures of real objects like an apple with the word "apple" below, so the parents can learn correct spelling of everyday items. In addition to this wonderful surprise, several of the books included pictures of babies and families from different ethnicities.  Many of our women say, 'I know that these CARE Clinic babies are smarter than other babies because of all that they are learning with Reach Out and Read, and other early learning interventions'. Thank you from the CARE Clinic and our refugee families!” 

For more information about Reach Out and Read at the Saint Alphonsus C.A.R.E. Maternal/Child Health Clinic, or if you would like to donate funds or volunteer as a reader, please contact Judith Hobbs at 208-367-7386 or

About Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based, national nonprofit organization that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. Reach Out and Read currently serves one-third of the most impoverished children in the United States. The Reach Out and Read model is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the program has one of the strongest records of research support of any primary care intervention. This year, Reach Out and Read’s 28,460 volunteer doctors and nurse practitioners will provide 6.4 million new books to more than 3.9 million children at 4,779 healthcare locations in all 50 states.

About Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center
Saint Alphonsus is a 387-licensed bed regional medical center serving people throughout the Northwest. As a not-for-profit medical center, Saint Alphonsus reinvests profits back into the community and works to improve the health and well-being of those we serve by emphasizing care that is patient-centered, innovative and community based. Saint Alphonsus focuses on providing services in a spiritual, healing environment, and is renowned for its state-of-the-art digital environment and pioneering technologies; award-winning clinical services; and the region’s only Level II Trauma Center. Saint Alphonsus is part of Saint Alphonsus Health System, a four-hospital, 714-bed integrated healthcare system serving the full range of the health and wellness needs of the people in southwestern Idaho, eastern Oregon and northern Nevada. Saint Alphonsus Health System is a member of Trinity Health. For information about Saint Alphonsus visit