Reach Out and Read Wisconsin welcomes national medical director Perri Klass, MD

Reach Out and Read national medical director Perri Klass, MD, recently visited Madison, Wisconsin to give a presentation to Reach Out and Read Wisconsin supporters and stakeholders. During this talk at the Madison Central Library, Dr. Klass emphasized the importance of using books to promote healthy brain development in young children. One of the ways reading aloud supports brain development is through the parent-child relationship. “If we want to promote healthy child development in the early years, then we have to promote that parent-child relationship,” said Dr. Klass.

Books aid in the development of the parent-child relationship because they spark back-and-forth conversations. These conversational turns are what form connections in babies’ brains. Even young babies who are not themselves talking yet, show signs of engagement when these back-and-forth interactions are happening. Examples of this include, smiling at a book or the parent, looking at the pictures, reaching out to grab the book, trying to turn pages, cooing or babbling along with the story, or even trying to put the book in their mouth.

When parents read aloud they are not only helping foster brain development but development in all kinds of areas, like math, language, vocabulary, socio-emotional, school readiness and attachment.

Dr. Perri Klass presents at Madison Public Library about the importance of books and reading aloud for healthy child development
Dr. Perri Klass shares the importance of books and reading aloud to an audience of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin supporters and stakeholders.

Screen time

Dr. Klass also shared her thoughts about screen time and e-readers. She recommended physical books for newborns and children younger than age 2. Physical books allow babies to touch, feel, learn how to turn pages and put books in their mouths – all of which are appropriate developmental milestones for young children. Screens and enhanced e-books (stories that make sounds when tapped or have animations) can be distracting for young babies. New research shows that when e-readers are used, the number of conversational turns and back-and-forth interactions between parents and children decrease. Dr. Klass recently wrote about this new research in her weekly New York Times column.

When kids are older, using electronic reading devices can help them gain access to a wide range of information. However, it is still important for parents to provide supervision and make time for reading physical books aloud together.  

Reach Out and Read Wisconsin would like to thank Dr. Perri Klass for sharing her time and expertise. Also, thank you to the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters and the Madison Public Library for co-presenting this event. To learn more about Reach Out and Read Wisconsin and how to support us our work, please visit our website.

There’s still time to support Reach Out and Read Wisconsin’s Advisory Council learning and fundraising event

Last weekend, Reach Out and Read (ROR) Wisconsin’s Advisory Council hosted a learning and fundraising event at 702WI, a creative space in Madison, Wisconsin. ROR Wisconsin donors and guests gathered to learn about the program’s impact on early literacy, clinical care and parent support. Together, they raised hundreds of dollars to keep ROR Wisconsin programming strong throughout the state.

ROR Wisconsin learning and fundraising event
ROR Wisconsin supporters gather to learn more about our work and how they can help

During the event, Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD, ROR Wisconsin medical director and Dennis Winters, MS, chief economist for the State of Wisconsin, gave a presentation about the link between high-quality, early interventions like ROR and future economic benefits to the community. For example, every dollar invested in early interventions yields a $7 return on investment to society (Heckman, 2012). Investing in early interventions have shared benefits across sectors. Not only is personal success impacted with better employment opportunities and improved health outcomes but communities as a whole see lower crime rates, less social intervention and higher civil contributions. The business community also sees long-term benefits with a more skilled workforce, higher worker productivity and less employee turnover. To learn more about ROR Wisconsin and our impact please visit our website.

Dipesh Navsaria presents at learning and fundraising event
Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD, ROR Wisconsin Medical Director presents to ROR Wisconsin supporters and donors

If you were unable to attend this event, you can still support ROR Wisconsin. Please click here to make a donation today. A gift of just $5 will help provide a local child with a new book and parental support.

Thank you to the in-kind donors who made this event possible: Mary Morgan for the event space, Johnson Public House for coffee and Madison Chocolate Company for chocolates and other treats. 

If you would like to receive an invitation to the next ROR Wisconsin event, please email Alex Rogers.

Heckman, J. J. (December 2012). Invest in early childhood development: Reduce deficits, strengthen the economy. Retrieved from: https://heckmanequation.org/assets/2013/07/F_HeckmanDeficitPieceCUSTOM-Generic_052714-3-1.pdf

Reach Out and Read Wisconsin Learning and Fundraising event

event invite for Reach Out and Read Wisconsin learning and fundraising event

Come learn about how early literacy builds a baby’s brain infrastructure, as well as economic implications for the well-being of our families, communities, and state.

On Sunday, Oct. 14, Reach Out and Read Wisconsin (ROR) advisory council members are hosting a friendraising and fundraising event. We want to increase awareness about how crucial early language exposure is to a child’s development and the link between high-quality, early intervention and future community economic health.

Join us and bring a friend or neighbor.

Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD founding ROR medical director and Dennis Winters, MS, chief economist for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will give a short presentation and a Q&A session.

The event space is generously being donated by Mary Morgan at 702 Writer Incubator.

Please RSVP to Michele Erikson by Oct. 12.

Can’t make it to the event but want to learn more about our work and impact? Please contact Alex Rogers. To donate to ROR Wisconsin, please click here.

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

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

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

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.

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

Senator Moulton shares love of reading at Marshfield Clinic- Chippewa Falls Center

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.