August and September Literacy events

Continue the summer fun and get the kids ready for back to school with these literacy events taking place across Wisconsin. If you don’t see an event in your area, be sure to check out your local library’s website or other local community resources.

August 2018

Date County Name Location Time More information
Aug 1 Fond du Lac Toddler story times Fond du Lac Public Library 32 Sheboygan St. 9:30 a.m. bit.ly/2uRx6Zl
Aug 2 Milwaukee Preschool story time Milwaukee Public Library 814 W Wisconsin St. Milwaukee, WI 10:00 a.m. bit.ly/2uTzT4f
Aug 7 Green Bay Children’s story time at Green Bay Botanical Garden Botanical Garden 2600 Larsen Rd Green Bay, WI 10:00 am bit.ly/2LFwwra This is an ongoing event. Check website for more dates.
Aug 10 Dane Robert Kurson, Rocket Men 702WI 702 E Johnson St. Madison, WI 7:00 pm bit.ly/2LRZdxU
Aug 10 Brown Prevea Read and Play Bay Park Square Mall 303 Bay Sq. Green Bay, WI 9:30 am bit.ly/2sa8dFP
Aug 17 Dane Summer in YOUR City: Kids create at the top of State The Grove, Intersection of W Mifflin and State St. Madison, WI 10:00 am – 1:00 pm bit.ly/2NNw7jJ
Aug 18 Dane Julie Fine, What Should Be Wild 702WI 702 E Johnson St. Madison, WI 11:00 am

 

bit.ly/2mJEzVF

Aug 22 La Crosse Family story time La Crosse Public Library 800 Main St. La Crosse, WI 10:30 am – 11:15 am

bit.ly/2mLWWcE

This is an ongoing event. Check the website for more dates

September 2018

Date County Name Location Time More information
Sept 7 – 8 La Crosse La Crosse Storytelling Festival Myrick Park 2000 La Crosse St. La Crosse, WI 6:30 pm bit.ly/2LVTFma
Sept 8 Everywhere International Literacy Day Worldwide – check the library or Google for local events All day bit.ly/2mMC30U
Sept 14 Brown Prevea Read and Play Bay Park Square Mall 303 Bay Park Sq.Green Bay, WI 9:30 a.m. bit.ly/2sa8dFP
Sept 25 Kenosha Family Literacy Night Kenosha Literacy Council 2419 63rd St Kenosha, WI 5:30 pm – 10 pm bit.ly/2uQT6n0
Sept 28 Dane Read Like Mad (Community reading event) Madison, WI   bit.ly/2uS7nQx

Do you know of an upcoming children’s literacy event in your area? Get it featured on this list by emailing Alex Rogers arogers@chw.org with details!

Outdoor portrait of young girl reading under tree
Get outside this summer and read

An Epic donation

Reach Out and Read (ROR) Wisconsin recently received more than 1,200 books thanks to Epic’s annual book drive in Madison. Our staff will distribute these new and gently-used books across Wisconsin as we travel to clinics for site visits. This is Epic’s fourth annual book drive to benefit ROR Wisconsin.

The new books will be prescribed and given to children by their medical provider at well-child visits from 6 months to 5 years. The gently-used books will help clinics expand their literacy-rich environment as they can be kept in waiting areas or exam rooms for families to enjoy while they are waiting to see the provider. Gently-used books can also be used to supplement the new books and they make great gifts for older siblings who visit the clinic with a ROR-aged brother or sister.

If you are interested in hosting a book drive for a ROR Wisconsin clinic near you, please contact Alex Rogers at arogers@chw.org or (608) 442-4175. Clinics accept books for kids of all ages, but we do ask that you screen donated books before dropping them off at a clinic. Please use our book guidelines when screening and sorting donations.

We would like to thank book drive coordinators Kate Parr and Adrienne Kiser and all the generous Epic employees who donated books. ROR Wisconsin is very grateful for our continued partnership with Epic and we know our clinics and families appreciate these books.

Two Epic employees with their donation of books to Reach Out and Read Wisconsin
Thank you Epic employees for your generous donation to ROR Wisconsin!

Baseball, books and brains

Several families joined Reach Out and Read Wisconsin staff at the Duck Pond on Sunday, June 10 for our annual Madison Mallards fundraiser. The Mallards are a Madison-based collegiate summer baseball team that competes in the Northwoods League. It was a thrilling game, as the Mallards won with a home run in the bottom of the 10th inning. Tickets sales raised $170 dollars for our statewide literacy program. This money will provide more than 50 books. Children will bring home these books from their doctor’s office to enjoy again and again.

Books build better brains. Children participating in Reach Out and Read have language development scores that are improved by 3-6 months. Last year, more than 109,000 children statewide left their well-child visits with the gift of a new, high-quality book. But there’s more to Reach Out and Read Wisconsin than just those books.

Behind the baseball and the books, our program:

  • Is a two-generational clinical intervention that supports parent-child bonding, early brain development and a life-long love of learning
  • Has almost unparalleled access to children through medical clinics (nearly 90% of all young children see a healthcare provider at least annually for a check-up), supporting families through the trusted voice of their medical provider
  • Is incredibly cost-effective, as the implementation is embedded in the existing health systems
  • Is growing quickly, at the rate of 30 clinics a year (more than 20 clinics have initiated applications since the beginning of 2018!)

If you were unable to attend the Mallards game but would like to support our work, please use the button below! Thank you for giving more Wisconsin children the opportunity to reach out and read.

change a life by donating to reach out and read wisconsin

 

people in bleachers at madison mallards fundraiser
Friends and supporters of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin at the Madison Mallards game

My AmeriCorps HealthCorps experience

Since September 11, 2017, I have been serving a full AmeriCorps term with the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin. This is my first experience fully submerging myself into public health. Although I have only been here a short time, I have gained valuable insight on how to S.U.C.C.E.E.D. in the public health field.

 Support

My term with AmeriCorps has been a transition. There’s been a considerable learning curve as I’ve taken all the skills I learned in the classroom and put them to use. The shift to full independent living and the stress of graduate school applications has made it challenging at times. This has taught me the true importance of support. I am not just talking about the support you give and receive from interpersonal relationships, but also the support you give yourself. I realized that our professional and personal lives will inevitably intertwine and the effects can be depleting. When you aren’t supporting yourself in one area, you will always feel it in another. It is important to be able to recognize how you’re feeling physically and emotionally, and create a game plan to either sustain the positive environment or change the circumstances. A phrase I have truly started to embody is: “self-care is healthcare.”

Unconventional

Here at Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin, we have seven initiatives. That means there is always a lot going on! We not only support existing statewide programs, but we also work to create new perspectives on children’s health issues. We know public health works to create systems change. In order to create that change, we need individuals who think inside, outside and all around the box. Don’t be afraid to take the leap and explore ideas that may seem too unconventional. Sometimes radical ideas ignite our success.

 Coalition Creation

The Alliance serves as a table where federal, state and local stakeholders can gather and discuss the health issues children are facing in Wisconsin. If I have learned anything from my time in this position, it is that public health success relies on strong relationships. Coalition creation is the key to getting things done. Coalitions need interdisciplinary professionals to meet the needs of every problem. Once established, coalitions require integrity and accountability to sustain over time.

 Exceed Expectations

My last two points go hand in hand. The first is to exceed expectations. Going beyond what is expected will never go unnoticed and it’s appreciated by all those involved. When you produce good work, you feel prepared and confident, which creates a positive work environment. Always ask how you can do better and if you can do more.

Detail

The final thing I’ve learned is the importance of detail. Detail is everything! When planning an event, it is so important to have every detail checked multiple times. When attention to detail is a priority, events run smoothly. This has become evident while working with our Reach Out and Read Wisconsin team. One of my responsibilities is to coordinate state legislators’ visits to our Reach Out and Read clinics. Paying attention to details during planning has made state leaders more informed and helped them make decisions that positively impact children.

One of my favorite parts about being an AmeriCorps member at the Alliance has been working with our state’s amazing Reach Out and Read team! They are an inspiration to me and I am always amazed at the work they accomplish with such a small but mighty staff. If it was not for their positive support and guidance, I would not have been able to put together four successful legislative visits. Some of the best moments have been watching our state leaders engage with books and children. The smiles on everyone’s faces are a reminder of why Reach Out and Read is such an impactful program.

June and July literacy events

Summer is here and what better way to start off this season of sun, fun and hopefully some relaxing time spent reading than by attending a literacy event in your area? Check out the information below for local Wisconsin events happening in June and July. If you don’t see an event in your area, be sure to check out your local library’s website as they often have many summer reading programs for both kids and adults.

Please note: use arrows below table to scroll to the right for more information.

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Library summer reading programs for kids:

Fox Valley programs

Madison Public Library

Milwaukee Public Library

Monroe Public Library

Know of an upcoming literacy event in your area that you would like to see included on this list? Email Alex Rogers arogers@chw.org with details!

Outdoor portrait of young girl reading under tree, events

Reading programs are really about supporting strong parent-child bonds

This article was originally published by the Cap Times on April 23, 2018.

Toddler at well-child visits at doctor's office receiving a book from her provider. Reading programs often are supporting of parents and children.
PHOTO BY COBURN DUKEHART — WISCONSIN CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

Recently, I encountered a new-to-Wisconsin mother and toddler who had left behind a not-so-good environment. As we established trust with one another, it came out that she was concerned about her child’s mild speech delay. The upheaval in their lives meant they hadn’t been able to find a primary care clinic and schedule his regular checkups yet. What could I do that might offer some immediate benefit for them?

As many know, I do a lot of work around early literacy promotion. In the last few weeks, there have been two relevant, notable studies released in this field. The first article is a meta-analysis — a combining of several studies together — showing interventions in parent-child shared reading have clear benefits, not just to the child’s language and literacy skills (we’ve known this for some time), but also psychosocially. There were better social and emotional skills and improved behavior in the children. Less expected was the benefit to parents, who had less stress, less anxiety, and greater confidence in their ability to parent.

The second study was on the Video Interaction Project (created by an NYU friend and colleague, Dr. Alan Mendelsohn). It uses video recording of a parent playing and reading with their child, followed by watching the recording together with a parenting coach who points out notable moments in the interaction. The researchers found decreases in child aggression, hyperactivity, and difficulty with attention.

These both support the value of working on early literacy skills, the foundation of the almost-30-year-old Reach Out and Read program, which makes discussion about early literacy an integral and routine part of checkups in early childhood. (Note: I am the founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin, and serve on the national board.)

However, I’d like to point out that these studies emphasize a critical element that’s not always present in the countless literacy programs out there. While you may view Reach Out and Read as a child literacy program, it’s really secretly a parenting program: a program designed to gently and collaboratively support strong shared reading between a parent and a child.

I don’t object to programs that bring high-quality books into a child’s home, but that emphasis is often misplaced; the book itself does little if handed to a child without any other interaction. A child learns the magic and power of reading only when a loving, nurturing, responsive caregiver (usually a parent, but could be anyone) reads aloud with them. A book that sits on the shelf is useless — it only does its magic when open in the hands of a parent and child reading together.

Equally important is a parent who knows how to read effectively to a young, squirmy toddler, a technique known as dialogic reading. Simply reading at a child doesn’t work for a child with a naturally short attention span. Knowing how to read with them and interact is an important learned skill. Merely providing books accomplishes only part of the job — supporting parenting confidence is absolutely essential.

It’s not just about the books. It’s about the act of reading together. A book without a caring adult…is just a book.

The key point: Parents benefit most when we offer clear modeling, coaching and encouragement. It’s not enough to say what to do; careful intentional skill-building is crucial for success. This explains the incredible outcomes seen from high-quality home visiting programs, for example. So question projects and recognize that they are not all the same. Ask yourself if they merely provide resources or whether they are building capabilities or capacities in families

So what of the family I encountered? I took the board book we had given him and pointed out her child’s brief interactions with the book. Then I modeled talking about illustrations and I reassured her that his turning away quickly was just his normal short attention span. Finally, I complimented her on her good parenting when she described how he would bring a book to her and “ask” to be read to.

She beamed with pride. And that’s how I knew we were doing right by her.

Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD is the medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin
Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD is the medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin

Librarian visits Reach Out and Read clinic to talk about early literacy

Madison Public Library Youth Services Librarian Holly Storck-Post (middle) with UW Health 20 South Park Street Staff and reading volunteer
Madison Public Library Youth Services Librarian Holly Storck-Post (middle) with UW Health 20 South Park Street Staff and reading volunteer

Holly Storck-Post, a Youth Services librarian from Madison Public Library recently visited clinicians and staff at UW Health’s 20 South Park Street location. Holly shared information with clinic staff about library programming and ways librarians engage families around early literacy.

Madison Public Library gives families information that is very similar to what Reach Out and Read (ROR) providers give at well-child visits. The librarians share ways to build early literacy skills by telling parents to talk, sing, read, write and play with their kids. They provide encouragement to parents and offer practical advice. Through their free high-quality programming, librarians model reading aloud for parents and show how to engage children of all ages with books.

Hearing this messaging in two different environments is important for parents. Not only are parents hearing from their child’s medical providers that early literacy is crucial to brain development, but they also learn this during activities at the library. When two organizations in different sectors are promoting early literacy, it makes sense to develop a collaboration.

Benefits of library collaboration

ROR Wisconsin encourages clinics to collaborate with their local libraries. These partnerships have benefits for both the clinic and the library. Clinics can benefit from library staff by:

  • Helping to create literacy-rich environments throughout the clinic
  • Coordinating reading times in the waiting room with volunteer readers
  • Collecting gently-used book donations for the clinic
  • Acting as partners on grant applications
  • Suggesting new book titles or helping with book selection

However, clinics are not the only ones who benefit from this collaboration. Libraries benefit from partnering with medical providers who:

  • Encouraging families to visit the library and getting a free library card
  • Sharing information about free library events and programming suitable for all ages
  • Assisting libraries in their outreach efforts to families who have not been library users in the past

UW Health’s 20 South Park Street Clinic does a great job collaborating with and promoting their local library. Information about library hours, events and programming is posted in the waiting room. Stacks of free Kidspages (a seasonal publication from the library highlighting children’s programming and reading tips) are available for families to take home.

This clinic has also created a wonderful literacy-rich environment with posters, gently-used books and a children’s reading area. Twice per week, the clinic has volunteers who read aloud to kids (and model ways to engage squirmy toddlers) while they wait for their doctor’s appointment.

Children’s reading area in the waiting room encourages kids to read
Children’s reading area in the waiting room encourages kids to read

While UW Health 20 South Park Street is a pediatric clinic they also recognize the importance of adult literacy. Information is posted about local resources for adults who may be struggling with their own literacy challenges. Magazines for adult readers are available for waiting parents. Seeing a parent read signals to the child that reading is important and can increase the child’s desire to read too.

For more information about finding a public library in your area visit the Wisconsin Public Library System Directory. To find more information about adult literacy resources across the state, visit Wisconsin Literacy’s website.

Holly Storck-Post speaking to UW Health staff about early literacy over their lunch hour
Holly Storck-Post speaking to UW Health staff about early literacy over their lunch hour
Madison Public Library materials, including book lists, event information and tips to talk, sing, read, write and play with your child.
Madison Public Library materials, including book lists, event information and tips to talk, sing, read, write and play with your child.

Unique way to support Reach Out and Read Wisconsin this week

Reach Out and Read Wisconsin (ROR) is excited to have been chosen by Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) as their spring membership drive’s thank you gift. When you make a monthly pledge of $10 or more to WPR, you are eligible to select the ROR thank you gift, which provides three new, high quality and developmentally appropriate books for young children throughout Wisconsin. The drive runs from Tuesday through Saturday this week.

4 reasons why you should donate this week:

  • ROR Wisconsin programs work with kids ages 6 months to 5 years. Providing books during this time delivers the most impact because it’s when their brains are growing most rapidly! 95% of the brain is developed by age 6.
  • Support medical providers as they build parents’ skills by talking about practical ways to read aloud with their kids and early literacy’s impact on future development.
  • ROR Wisconsin’s impact is statewide so the books you buy will help communities throughout Wisconsin.
  • WPR typically spends 10% of your donation on thank you gifts. By selecting the ROR thank you gift, WPR is only spending 6.7% of your donation. This means more of your money stays with WPR to help support high quality radio programming.

Donate to WPR and give books to kids through Reach Out and Read. Your gift makes a difference

Interested in making a pledge? Click here. Thank you.

To learn more about ROR Wisconsin and the impact of our work, please visit our website.

Reaching Out Beyond the Clinic Setting

Dr. Michelle Hill pediatrician at the Prevea West De Pere Health Center
Dr. Michelle Hill pediatrician at the Prevea West De Pere Health Center

Reach Out and Read (ROR) has been one of the most fun and helpful additions to our pediatric practice at Prevea Health. The response from families and children who are receiving our books at their visits is so overwhelmingly positive. We wanted to work on even more ways to integrate this program, not only into our health centers, but also into our community.

Prevea Health has sponsored a children’s play area at Bay Park Square Mall in Green Bay for a few years. This play area is partially enclosed, with little slides and play pieces for kids to climb on. In brainstorming ways to best utilize that space, we felt it would be a great place to expand our messaging about the importance of families reading aloud with their children. Not only would we get to have fun interactions with children in the community, but also we would have the chance to promote the importance of early literacy promotion and model engaging reading behavior.

The mall is a central location to our patient population in Green Bay, which means we can reach people throughout the whole community. This includes children who may not see Prevea Pediatricians and who do not benefit from the ROR program in the clinic setting. It also offers families in the community something fun and educational to do, especially during the winter months in Wisconsin!

Prevea Pediatrics and the mall tried to find a way to incorporate story telling along with play time. Knowing how active children can be and that sometimes sitting still for a story is a challenge, we decided it would be a good idea to add some structured play to these events. This would give the children a chance to get their wiggles out before the story. Then, we could settle right in the middle of the play area to read several books.

Prevea Read and Play

We decided to call the event Prevea Read and Play, featuring our pediatricians or child life specialists reading books for the storytime portion. I find it important for the pediatricians to participate in the reading, in part, because it’s just fun to do, but also because I think it magnifies the message of how important reading is when parents see a doctor taking time out of their day to read to children. It also takes us out of the clinical setting and more into the real world of these families and shows them again that reading is a key part of childhood development. I also feel it’s important for children to know that reading is fun and exciting, so this is one more way to keep them interested in new stories.

As of now, this is a monthly program and the community response has been very positive. I participated in our most recent story time in March, around the time of Dr. Seuss Week. After doing some movement activities with the children at the play area, I read two Dr. Seuss stories to about a dozen children of various ages. Some of them had heard the stories before and were eager to chime in about trying Green Eggs and Ham or capturing Thing 1 and Thing 2. We were also able to take a moment to talk about trying different foods because you just might like them, like at the end of Green Eggs and Ham. I was very impressed with the children’s level of attention during my reading. They were all very engaged, even the younger ones who may not have been as interested in these longer stories.

The parents also seemed to enjoy watching storytime and taking a break from chasing their children around the play area. Some of the people attending this Read and Play were repeat visitors who knew about the storytime, but many happened to be passing by and stopped or were pleasantly surprised when they came to play.

After we finished reading, our child life specialist led the children on a fun scavenger hunt through the play area to get them up and moving again. They were able to find various objects like a teddy bear or a stethoscope. Then, they each were rewarded with a certificate and a ROR bookmark to finish up our Prevea Read and Play event. Literature was also available for the parents regarding the ROR program and our Prevea Pediatricians.

Overall, it was a very fun morning at the mall and another great way to expand reading farther into our community. I do think seeing reading in action from a physician sends a great message to our families and I am glad ROR has given us even more encouragement to send that message.

Information table at Prevea Read and Play with information about Reach Out and Read and Prevea Health
Information table at Prevea Read and Play

A day with the Reach Out and Read Wisconsin staff

With more than 210 Reach Out and Read (ROR) programs statewide our three staff, plus our medical director, stay busy. Whether we are visiting clinics, fundraising, giving presentations or assisting in building community partnerships, we are committed to promoting early literacy throughout Wisconsin.

ROR Wisconsin is a state affiliate of the national ROR organization. Since 2010, our office has helped launch more than 155 programs. We help clinics start their program, provide ongoing support (fundraising and technical assistance), quality assurance and books. However, working with clinics is just one piece of what we do.

Karin Mahony, MEd, MSW, Project Manager

Karin Mahony, our project manager, oversees all aspects of our work and is our resident fundraiser. Working with staff in our foundation office, she applies for grants, meets with potential and current funders, searches for new funding opportunities and provides book support to clinics in Wisconsin. If you have ever been to one of our annual meetings and had the chance to attend her fundraising breakout session, you will quickly learn why she has been so successful over the last seven years. Karin knows it is more than raising money, it is about building relationships with donors and organizations. She tells the story of ROR Wisconsin in a compelling and motivating way. “When I first started at ROR Wisconsin I had enough funds for my salary and some for clinics, everything else I had to fundraise for.” Our ability to grow our team while also becoming the seventh largest affiliate in the country, is proof of her success.

Project Manager Karin Mahony reading a book for her monthly book club
Karin reading for her monthly book club

Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD, Medical Director

Dipesh Navsaria is many things; a pediatrician, occasional children’s librarian, associate professor of pediatrics at UW Health’s School of Medicine and Public Health, child health advocate and founding medical director of ROR Wisconsin. Regardless of all these roles, on a weekly basis Dr. Navsaria travels around the state and country giving presentations about the importance of reading for brain development. He is a tireless advocate and promoter of our work and one of the reasons we believe our number of participating clinics has risen so quickly. He engages, motivates and educates people about how setting aside time each day to read aloud will have a positive, lasting impact.  For these presentations, he directs all honorariums to ROR Wisconsin, which provides us with unrestricted funds we can use for program supplies and special projects.

Medical Director Dipesh Navsaria speaking at a local event
Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD speaking at a Wisconsin Medical Society event

Amber Bloom, MSW, CAPSW, Project Coordinator

Amber Bloom, joined our team in January 2017. Amber works in the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin Milwaukee office and assists clinics in the eastern part of the state. She conducts site visits, helps clinics wanting to develop new programs and manages our quality assurance efforts. She analyzes and prepares data from the parent literacy orientation survey to share with participating clinics. The purpose of this survey is to show any change in parents’ literacy behaviors after their clinic starts a ROR program. This data is then shared with clinics at site visits to show their impact within the community.

Amber’s background is in child welfare and she says, “I really appreciate the aspect of prevention that ROR provides. It offers families the opportunity to thrive through creating a nurturing environment at home, building parent skills and getting children ready for success in school. I’m glad to have a part in making those things happen.

young girl and parent reading aloud

 

Recent photo of Amber Bloom
Project Coordinator Amber Bloom MSW, CAPSW

Alex Rogers, Project Coordinator

Alex Rogers, joined the ROR team in January 2016 and works with clinics in the central part of the state, assisting with the application process and providing ongoing support. She also manages our marketing and communications, particularly with the launch and operation of this blog. She oversees our social media posts, annual program update and email campaigns. Each fall, she plans and organizes the annual meeting as an opportunity for ROR clinics and early literacy advocates to come together for education and networking. Alex enjoys working for ROR Wisconsin because it combines her love of reading and desire to help improve everyday life for children and families.

young girl reading in laundry basket

 

 

girl with favorite children's book Corduroy
Project Coordinator Alex Rogers “reading” when she was young and more recently with her favorite children’s book, Corduroy

ROR Wisconsin is the early literacy initiative of Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin, which is affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Being part of this larger organization not only provides us with infrastructure funding, but support in communications, graphic design, website, data analysis and strategic planning. All this allows our staff to devote the majority of our time to the programmatic needs of our clinics.