In our continuing effort to showcase local Reach Out and Read (ROR) programs and successful community collaborations around early literacy promotion, Sen. Terry Moulton was invited to visit Marshfield Clinic-Chippewa Falls Center Pediatric clinic on Feb. 7, 2018. During the visit, Sen. Moulton read two books aloud to a group of preschoolers, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” and “Pete the Cat.”
Also attending the event was Chris Seelen of Eau Claire, former ROR Wisconsin Advisory Council member and current Chippewa Valley ambassador. United Way of Greater Chippewa Valley’s executive director Jan Porath and Director of their Successful Children’s Network, Kari Stroede, also joined in the fun. The United Way of Greater Chippewa Valley shares a commitment to early literacy promotion and provides ongoing book support to Marshfield clinic’s area ROR programs.
After the book reading, Sen. Moulton participated in a mock well-child visit led by Dr. Robert Bullwinkel. During the well-child visit, Sen. Moulton learned how the ROR intervention fits seamlessly into preventative visits, how providers give advice and guidance to parents on signing, talking, playing and reading with their youngest children and how providers can assess a child’s developmental milestones just by watching how they interact with a book.
After the exam, Sen. Moulton spoke to the media about the importance of early literacy promotion. “It is very important to start reading to children at a very young age,” said Sen. Moulton. “I can see a difference in my grandchildren who have been read to regularly.” He also said he was surprised by the growth of the ROR Wisconsin, which now includes 210 clinics.
One of those programs, Marshfield Clinic-Chippewa Falls has participated in ROR for 19 years. Marshfield Clinic system has 18 clinics throughout the state with ROR programs. Since launching their ROR program, the Chippewa Falls Pediatric Clinic has provided literacy guidance and advice to countless parents and have distributed more than 54,000 books. That’s a lot of bedtime stories!
ROR Wisconsin hosts three to four legislative/ community leader visits a year. Our Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin AmeriCorp Health Member works to coordinate these visits which are designed to engage community and legislative leaders about early literacy and children’s health. The visits also provide advocacy skill development for medical providers, who talk to legislators about their early literacy promotion efforts and any unique issues facing their communities.
ROR Wisconsin does not currently receive funding from the State of Wisconsin or federal government. Instead our funding is made up of contributions from health systems, grants and donations. ROR Wisconsin provides partial book support to eligible clinics. In 2016, ROR Wisconsin provided more than $48,000 in book funds to 68 clinics across the state.
Eight clinic systems in the state currently fund all book purchases for their participating clinics: Access Community Health Centers, Aspirus, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, Gundersen Health System, Monroe Clinic, UW Health and Watertown Regional Medical Center.
ROR Wisconsin is grateful for the opportunity to organize these visits and bring together state leaders and the medical community.