Vol. 5, Issue 3
October, 2015
In This Issue
From the Executive Director
Hello Friends of RORRI!

The leaves are turning, the temperature is dropping and life has picked up speed. At our house, my daughters are at practices until dark and we almost never manage to have a family dinner. So Posey and I picked a book to read together. Her choice was The Secret Garden  by Francis Hodgson Burnett . Last spring, we finished The Little Princess  by the same author. In many ways, our new book feels like an old friend-and more importantly, it has brought a sense of peace and quiet to our busy fall days. 

Life at RORRI  has picked up speed too! First, I'd like to welcome our newest board members Julie Novak  from the marketing and communications team at Neighborhood Health Plan of RI and Dr. Bonnie Reibman , a very recently retired pediatrician from East Greenwich Pediatrics who was both a practitioner and supporter of the Reach Out and Read program for years.

You will read in this newsletter about our upcoming event at Foolproof Brewing Company (tickets still available!) on October 21, our CNN  debut (see link below), and a fun book drive we are doing with ALEX AND ANI  during the month of October for National Family Literacy Day .

My call to action for you? Come have a beer with us (it's for the children!), donate a new children's book at an ALEX AND ANI retail location near you, and find some quiet moments to read with your children.


p.s. Did you hear about the published studies that noted increased brain activity in children as they listened to stories being read aloud to them? Check out our very own Perri Klass MD's guest article in the New York Times!

RORRI Event at Foolproof Brewing Company 10/21

Buy your tickets now and join us for a night at Foolproof Brewing Company in Pawtucket to benefit RORRI! Noble Knots food truck will be on hand to provide tasty treats to all our guests as we spend the evening sampling beer made right here in the Ocean Stat e.

Please Join 
Reach Out and Read Rhode Island 
for a night at:

Wednesday, October 21st
6:30 - 8:30 pm

Catered by Noble Knots

$50 for 2 Pours


$100 for 3 Pours 

CNN Profiles RORRI Program at Hasbro

In May, we welcomed CNN to  Hasbro Children's Hospital to learn about the importance of reading aloud to babies. We couldn't be happier to have this piece running nationwide on CNN's  Airport Network and AccentHealth channel. Look for us the next time you're in your doctor's office waiting room!

Important Study Shows the Effect of Reading on Children's Brain Function

Exciting new research using MRIs to observe what happens to children's brains when they are read to, was published in the August 10th issue of Pediatrics. This study revealed that "children from more stimulating home reading environments had greater activity in the parts of the brain that help with narrative comprehension and visual imagery. Their brains showed greater activity in those key areas while they listened to stories." 

Although we have more than fifteen studies proving the effectiveness of our program, including those that show that reading to kids has an impact on language development, this is the first time we have evidence that reading to children has a biological impact! "I think that we've learned that early reading is more than just a nice thing to do with kids," said the lead author, Dr. John S. Hutton, a clinical research fellow at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "It really does have a very important role to play in building brain networks that will serve children long-term as they transition from verbal to reading." So be sure to spread the word about the impact of reading aloud, and go home and read to those kids!

Reach Out and Read National Medical Director  Dr. Perri Klass, took the time to interpret these findings and it they mean to Reach Out and Read, in her NY Times article  entitled " Bedtime Stories for Young Brains " (8/17/15) .  

RORRI Attends Tri-Town Health Fair

Our Program Coordinator, Kitty Douglas had a ball at the Tri-Town Health Fair at Tri-Town's CAA Community Center in North Providence  on September 25th. She distributed 300 free books to children in attendance. Here are two of the lucky recipients: Briella Pagiarulo, age 3 and her brother Kayson, 8 months.

The Book Nook
By Tim Morello

Tim Morello, Vice President at Fidelity Investments, has been serving on RORRI's Board of Directors since 2013. We are grateful for his keen insight (and meticulous note taking!) in the boardroom. Tim is engaged, level-headed, and reliable -- and is always thinking of ways to contribute to the success of the organization. His unwavering wisdom and dedication make him an incredible asset to us as we work to promote early literacy in exam rooms across RI.

I often wonder what makes a good story - is it really the story, or the story teller? We all read and listen to stories all day long. I start my day with news and a look at my email, and then listen to an audio-book during my commute to work. When I come home, I ask my two boys to share stories about their day. And finally, every night before they go to sleep, my younger son Dante (age 6) insists that I read him a story. The question "Daddy, would you read me a story?" has become as routine for him as brushing his teeth.

While I often have other things to take care of in the evening - Dante is persistent! I know reading a story has a calming effect on both of us. We have fun with each story we read, making up voices for the different characters. Sometimes I'll change a character's name ( see if he's following the story) - or - mispronounce a word ( see if he's paying attention) but he catches me every time!

Recently, Dante has asked me to read some of the Frog and Toad Collection .
Frog and Toad are the principal characters in these fun-to-read children's books written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel.  The short stories catalog the whimsical daily activities of two very different personalities; Frog who is always positive and playful, and Toad who is more serious and always concerned about one thing or another. Each story inevitably ends with Frog somehow reassuring Toad that everything is going to be just fine.

RORRI Board Member Tim Morello with his son Donte, age 6

The other night, Dante and I read Frog and Toad All Year . In the story titled "The Surprise," - Frog awoke one morning, looked out the window and saw everything covered with leaves. Determined to do something nice for his friend, Frog took a rake and rushed to Toad's house. At the same time, on the other side of tow n, Toad looked out his window and was upset to find so many leaves so he also took a rake and ran to Frog's house. They each worked  separately , and diligently, to rake the leaves in a neat pile, with the hope of surprising the other. As they were returning to their homes a great wind blew, scattering the leaves once more. At home Frog looked at the leaves in his yard and made a plan to clear them the next day - but felt good about the work he'd done for Toad. Similarly, Toad returned home and found leaves covering his yard, but knew that Frog would be pleased with the work he'd done to clear his yard.

In the story titled "Down the Hill" which is set in the winter, Frog is determined to convince Toad to put on winter gear and ride a sled. Toad is afraid of this prospect, so Frog encourages Toad by agreeing to ride with him. Of course, the sled hits a bump and unbeknownst to Toad, Frog falls off and Toad is left riding the sled all alone. Toad soon crashes into a tree and out of nowhere; Frog appears and congratulates Toad on how well he rode the sled.

While I really enjoy reading stories like  Frog and Toad to my two boys; I honestly believe children are the best story tellers. So I make it a point to listen to stories about their day. I'm hopeful that they are forming close friendships and having small adventures of their own, similar to Frog and Toad. And, I'm optimistic they are learning to become great story tellers along the way.

Alex and Ani Supports 
RORRI by Collecting Books 
this October

All month long our friends at ALEX AND ANI  will be collecting new books for Reach Out and Read Rhode Island at their stand-alone storefronts to benefit Naval Health Clinic New England and Olneyville Health Center! So please stop by one of Alex and Ani's retail locations in Providence, Cranston and Newport and donate a book! 

Provider Q & A with Dr. Cheema-Hasan 
of RI Hospital

Dr. Ayesha Cheema-Hasan  is a third year Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics fellow
Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children's Hospital , and part of our RORRI network. 
She traveled to Nepal for two UNICEF workshops. The workshops were held two months after the first devastating earthquake and focused on how developmental variations impact the reactions of children in disasters and ways to address them. The workshops took place over the span of three long intense days each in Biratnagar and Khatmandu, Nepal.

Question:  Tell us about your work in Nepal.

Answer:  The workshops I attended provided me with a unique opportunity to network and collaborate with other professionals across disciplines. In addition to medical providers there were teachers, psychologists, home health workers and a nun who participated.  

It was truly gratifying to find ways to teach Nepali medical providers how to respo nd to these challenging situations in a manner that respected their cultural and societal norms. I was also thrilled to bring books donated by R each Out and Read Rhode Island  and to set up a small library in the playroom of the pediatric ward. My team members, Dr. Herran and Dr. Yurigionas, donate d toys for the playroom and we found joy in giving the children a place where their parents and caregivers could read and play with them.
Question: Do you have any reflections on refugee children in Nepal, especially pertaining to literacy or early childhood development?

Answer:   I had the opportunity to visit  a UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner  for Refugees) camp in Koss, Nepal. These camps are organized with schools, dispensaries, libraries and youth centers and I was happy to donate some of the books supplied by RORRI to this camp. The people there are trying to survive day
to day, having to figure out where their next meal is coming from. Most of the parents either did not go to school or had to leave school early to earn a living to support their families. Early childhood development in Nepal is still in its infancy, with people just now becoming aware of the importance of 
reading to children at an early age. UNICEF is working with governments and communities to design and implement early childhood education programs to promote early literacy in these developing countries .
Reach Out and Read RI
PO Box 603442
Providence, RI 02906
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