Vol. 5, Issue 1
March, 2015
In This Issue
From the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

This has certainly been a winter for the Rhode Island record books, but the excessive snowfall amounts have not slowed us down here at Reach Out and Read Rhode Island ! We had a busy holiday season with events like holiday shopping at Homestyle, the Winter Book Blast  at Thundermist Health Center and the dedication of Dr. T's Book Nook at St. Joseph Hospital's Pediatric Clinic. Dr. Trivett was a dedicated pediatrician as well as a RORRI Medical Champion and friend before passing in 2013. We were happy to help his family honor his memory!

We also were thrilled to issue our first ever Annual Report in November. We marked the occasion by inviting our longest standing supporters, as well as former and current staff and Board members to an evening unveiling, hosted by Board member Cecily Kerr Ziegler . In producing this report, I was incredibly proud to reflect on all that's been accomplished over the last 15 years thanks to so many dedicated individuals, many of whom are still advocating for and supporting RORRI today! I hope you'll take a minute to follow the link below and read all about our progress in the 2013-14 annual report. 

I want to thank all who have responded to our annual appeal and for those of you who have not yet had a chance to, it's not too late! We know how busy life can get around the holidays. With cards and packages arriving daily, other mail easily gets lost in the shuffle. No need to worry! You still have time to contribute to this year's annual fund by visiting and clicking on the " donate" button. Your tax deductible donation will help us spread the joy of reading and expand our reach to even more RI children.

Speaking of expansion, we're happy to welcome another pediatric clinic to the Reach Out and Read RI ranks - Kingstown Pediatrics, Incin North Kingstown. Thank you to Dr. Colleen Powers , Dr. Michelle Levesque , RN Caitlin Levesque  and Missy Cotnoir for training and joining the RORRI team! 

Please mark your calendars for our "Sweet 16  Celebration", scheduled for May 7th from 6:30-8:30 at the  Providence Art Club (click on the links below to purchase your tickets today). We're looking forward to seeing you there!

Enjoy the remaining days of winter...we will be back in touch when Spring has Sprung!

Happy Reading,


Guest Ticket $100


Benefactor Ticket $250 (includes VIP Reception @ 5:30 pm)


Stop by and take a virtual stroll -- we think you'll like what you see!

Senator Jack Reed Introduces Key Early 
Childhood Literacy Legislation 

Here's yet another reason Rhode Islanders are lucky to have Senator Jack Reed
(D-RI) advocating for our children and families in Washington! Last month he teamed up with Senator Charles Grassley  (R-IA) to reintroduce the Prescribe A Book Act , a bipartisan bill aimed at helping doctors and nurses provide low-income parents with a children's book to take home from every well child visit, as well as advice about the importance of reading aloud to their child and age-appropriate reading tips.

Jack Reed reading to children at a Reach Out and Read RI event at Thundermist Health Center in 2013
If successful, the act would create a federal pediatric early literacy grant based on our highly successful and proven effective Reach Out and Read model. "This legislation is about empowering parents to make a difference with their kids through reading, and providing them with high-quality books to get started," says Reed. Thank you Senator Reed for your dedication to the cause of early literacy; the children and families of Rhode Island are lucky to have you representing them! Click  here  to read the news release about the legislation. 
Thundermist Health Center, RORRI and Citizens Bank Join Forces for a Winter Book Blast

We were thrilled to join forces on December 16th with Thundermist Health Center and Citizens Bank
for a Holiday reading event, the " Winter Book Blast!
Children and families were invited to Thundermist Health Center for an afternoon of crafts, refreshments and readings and all children who attended were sent home with free books courtesy of Reach Out and Read Rhode Island.

We are grateful to the wonderful volunteers from
Citizens Bank  -- Andrea Grondines , Steve Sherlock , Brendan Hooley , and Diana Fashjian --  who lent their time and talent to make sure the day was a success!
"Hot off the Presses" RORRI Releases Inaugural Annual Report

In early December Reach Out and Read Rhode Island gathered its long standing and ardent supporters, along with Board members and staff, to celebrate a significant milestone -- the release of its very first Annual Report. Pictured below holding their own copies hot off the presses are (L to R): Sarah Gleason (RORRI's founding director), Susanna Rhodes Beckwith (current executive director) and Stacy Paterno (RORRI board chair). We'd  like to send a big thank you to Board member Cecily Kerr Ziegler for hosting the evening, as well as to everyone who came to help us celebrate. Please click on the link to read the full 2013-14 Annual Report.

Provider Q&A with Jessica Manyan D.O., Chief of Family Medicine at Kent County Hospital

Dr. Jessica Manyan  is currently Chief of Family Medicine at Kent County Hospital, and Program Director at the Kent Family Medicine residency in Warwick, RI. She sees patients at Thundermist Health Center of West Warwick, where she also supervises the resident physicians.

Dr. Manyan 
is a graduate of University of New England, College of Osteopathic Medicine and did her residency training at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey. Prior to becoming a teaching physician, Dr. Manyan was in private practice in North Kingstown, RI. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of New England, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Biddeford, Maine, and has served on the board of the Rhode Island Society of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons. 
Dr. Manyan resides in Rhode Island with her husband and two children.

Dr. Jessica Manyan, Chief of Family Medicine at Kent County Hospital
Question:  Wh at is your favorite Reach Out and Read book ?

Answer:  I have to pick two, I Like it When... and Goodnight Gorilla. My own kids loved these books, and I appreciate how they focus on appreciating positive experiences and family.

Question:  What is your favorite Reach Out and Read moment?

Answer:  Giving an 8 month old baby the book Smile and seeing her get so excited to see pictures of all the other babies.

Question:  How do you think Reach Out and Read impacts the lives of your patients?

Answer:  There is no other way to connect so quickly and in such a positive way with children and parents at the same time. Beautiful, engaging pictures along with simple words and descriptions stimulate development, and knowing a book is coming at each check up gives families a good  reason to come in for their check up.

Question:  Why have you been such an advocate of getting residents trained in the Reach Out and Read model?

Answer:  The sooner primary care physicians know about the Reach Out and Read program, the better they will be able to recommend the program, become familiar with the benefits of early reading and books at wellness exams, and become champions for the program themselves.
The Book Nook
by Natalia Golova,M.D.

Natalia Golova M.D. 
is a RORRI 
oard member and an attending physician at Hasbro Children's Hospital Pediatric Primary Care Clinic where she has been practicing general pediatrics for the past 20 years and supervising residents and medical students. Dr. Golova grew up in Argentina and has raised her 3 children in a bilingual household. Early childhood literacy has been an area of interest for her for many years. In 1997 she published one of the first randomized controlled research studies on the topic of literacy promotion with Hispanic families in the pediatric primary care setting. We are incredibly lucky to have her enthusiasm, expertise and passion for literacy promotion as part of the RORRI team.

One of my fondest memories of raising three young kids was that moment of the day when my husband and I would get them ready for bed. After dinner and baths with wet hair and footed pajamas, it was story time! Along with the chaos, the tiredness and the bargaining for more awake time, there was that precious moment of getting under the soft, fuzzy covers (finally!) and getting to read a few bedtime stories. 

Despite a fairly wide selection of books that grew together with our family, my kids quickly developed a liking for a particular book, that we would read over and over and over again. Luckily, most of the time, it ended up being a story that I also enjoyed reading to them over and over again, to the point of memorizing the rhymes and knowing what the next page would say.

What was so beautiful about those precious moments? The c loseness and the connection I felt with my kids: the bond. That's why the title to the AAP literacy toolkit that was recently released, says, "Books build connections". It is absolutely true on so many levels. 

RORRI Board member Natalia Golova M.D., pictured on vacation in Kauai with her three children

Books build neuronal connections in the young brain. By listening to stories, children are exposed to new words and a more sophisticated language t han the spoken word. They also learn the rules of print, such as reading from left to right and top to bottom. In our case, I'd read to my kids in two different languages, and we'd laugh together when mixing them up. When reading  stories in Spanish, I felt that I was connecting them to their heritage, to their grandmas, uncles and cousins; and ultimately to me. Again, I felt connected through our language.

As soon as they could, those soft little hands loved to turn the pages, one by one (it was so hard at first!) and hold the book themselves. Later on, when learning to read, placing that small finger under each word would help them stay still, instead of jumping around on the page. They would sound out the letters one by one, until finally, they could read! Every night was a discovery; something new, unraveling in front of our eyes. 

Reading stories together also helps build emotional connections. While lying in bed side by side or when holding my baby on my lap, wrapped in my arms, I felt an incredible bond. It was a soothing moment, not just for my kids, but also for me. After a very busy day of work, while juggling the role of being a young professional and a young mom, life felt quite stressful at times. Reading bedtime stories every night was a cherished moment, maybe as much for me as for my kids. It gave me the peacefulness I needed to sleep like a baby.

Books also open up a child's imagination, letting them fly as far and as high as they can go. I remember reading some stories that would help my children role-play some of their fears and anxieties, and when talking about them, I could help them deal with their worries in more productive ways. A small window into what and how they were thinking opened up, giving me a chance to get to know my kids better and feel a deeper connection.

After all, what is life without connections?
Reach Out and Read RI
PO Box 603442
Providence, RI 02906
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