Season 3

Episode 68, The Case for Make Believe, January 19, 2023

What is “play,” and how hard is it to understand what it really is? Turns out it’s more of a challenge to grasp than you’d think, and not everyone understands that play is not merely amusement for children. Dr. Susan Linn, psychologist and world-renowned expert on creative play, joins us to talk about the role of play in a child’s development — and how children can use creative play to access and express their feelings.

  • Dr. Susan Linn

    Dr. Susan Linn is a psychologist, award-winning ventriloquist, and a world-renowned expert on creative play and the impact of technology, media, and commercial marketing on children.  She was the founding director of the children’s advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (now called Fairplay), and is currently a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical school. She is also the author of Consuming Kids, The Case for Make Believe, and her newly published book, Who’s Raising the Kids? Big Tech, Big Business, and the Lives of Children.

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Episode 67, The Legacy and Future of Native American Education, January 5, 2023

Native American education is one of our country’s culturally richest areas, but it comes at the expense of a very dark past. We take a closer look at the abuse Native American children experienced at government-run schools in the US in the 19th and 20th centuries, the intergenerational trauma that followed, and how Native American educators address this and move forward now. Francis Vigil from the Pueblo of Zia, is Jemez Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache, and an indigenous educator and consultant. He joins us to talk about how Native American educators confront the past and help build strong, well-supported families — which will boost their children’s academic and cultural success going forward

  • Francis Vigil

    Mr. Francis Vigil is from the Pueblo of Zia, and is Jemez Pueblo and Jicarilla Apache. Currently, Mr. Vigil serves as the Tribal Education Specialist for the National Indian Education Association. Mr. Vigil’s areas of concentration are in Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Education, Community-based Education, and Indigenous Methods, Methodology, and Pedagogy.
    He utilizes those areas to intersect with his social justice work, which includes diversity, equity,
    inclusion, and accessibility. Previously, Mr. Vigil served as the Educational Specialist for Culture, History, and Language for the Bureau of Indian Education under the U.S. Department of Interior. In addition, Mr. Vigil has served as a high school science teacher and as an educational administrator at the school, school district, state, and federal levels. In addition to serving on the Parents as Teachers Board of Directors, Mr. Vigil also serves as a Commissioner for the State of
    New Mexico’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission, and he currently serves on Google’s Education Equity Board. He recently served as the President of the New Mexico Tribal Language Consortium. Mr. Vigil continues to provide educational consultation services to various educational entities at the local, state, and national levels. Most importantly, he is honored to continue to serve and work with numerous tribes and tribal communities across the United States.  Mr. Vigil holds a B.S. in Microbiology from New Mexico State University, a M.A. in Secondary Education from University of New Mexico, and is continuing his work on a PhD in Social Justice with a focus on educator identity and social emotional learning in Native American education systems.

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Episode 66, Malcolm Mitchell Loves to Read, December 22, 2022

We’ve turned the spotlight on many gifted authors, but our next guest is the first to win a children’s book award and a Super Bowl ring. Malcolm Mitchell, American football professional, children’s author, youth literacy advocate, and CEO of the Share the Magic Foundation, joins us to talk about his journey to literacy and how he overcame professional and personal adversity in the process.

  • Malcolm Mitchell

    Malcolm Mitchell is a Super Bowl Champion, a children’s book author, a youth literacy advocate, and is the Founder and CEO of the Share the Magic Foundation.

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Episode 65, I Talk Like a River, December 8, 2022

Stuttering affects approximately 5% of U.S. children—it’s very common!  Jordan Scott, poet and author of “I Talk Like a River”, and Brooke Edwards, Director of Speech for SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young, join us to talk about how stuttering affects children and how all of us — caregivers, professionals, and beyond — can make their interactions with people who stutter a more positive and communicative experience.

  • Jordan Scott

    Jordan Scott, a poet and children’s author. His debut children’s book, I Talk Like a River (illustrated by Sydney Smith), was a New York Times best Children’s Book of2020. The book was translated into nineteen languages and was the recipient of the American Library Association’s Schneider Family Book Award, which honors authors for the artistic expression of the disability experience. Scott is also the author of four books of poetry and the recipient of the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize, given to amid-career poet in recognition of a remarkable body of work, and in anticipation of future contributions to Canadian poetry.

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  • Brooke Edwards

    Brooke Edwards, a speech language pathologist and board recognized stuttering specialist. Brooke is the director of speech for SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young. SAY is a national non-profit organization that empowers, educates and supports young people who stutter by offering summer camp, regional day camps, speech therapy, and creative arts programming.

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Episode 64, Seeing Into the Reading Brain, November 24, 2022

Thanks to advances in brain imaging, we can measure reading’s structural and functional benefits. Dr. John Hutton, a pediatrician and assistant professor in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, joins us to talk about what we can learn from neuroimaging about how children’s activities can affect their brain structure, and what probably helps — or hinders — children’s development.

  • John Hutton, MD

    Dr. John Hutton is a pediatrician and assistant professor in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center and Director of the Reading Literacy Discovery Center. His unique reading background includes almost 20 years at the helm of the blue manatee children’s bookstore, which in 2019 was converted into the Blue Manatee Literacy Project, a non-profit providing books and reading experiences to underserved children. He serves as the “spokes-doctor” for the Read Aloud 15 MINUTES national campaign and is on the national Medical Advisory Board of Reach Out and Read. Dr. Hutton’s research at Cincinnati Children’s covers all facets of pediatric general and health literacy. He is utilizing magnetic resonance imaging to better understand the influence of modifiable aspects of home reading and screen environments on structural and functional brain networks which support emergent literacy, the skills and attitudes preparing a child for reading.

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Episode 63, Leadership on Location, November 10, 2022

Leadership on Location”: After three years, the annual Reach Out and Read Leadership Conference was finally back in person last month. More than 150 leaders gathered in Madison, Wisconsin over three days to share their vision, values, and voice – all in the name of ROR’s mission. Listen to their conference takeaways, what inspires their work, and what drives our community forward.

Episode 62, Puppet Talk, October 27, 2022

Why would someone write a research paper involving puppets?  Well, puppets can not only be a tool for helping children feel more comfortable in medical settings, but more recently have been used to support relational health.  Dr. Gretchen Domek, Associate Professor and the Frankenburg Research Professor in Developmental Pediatrics at the University of Colorado, joins us to talk about her work introducing finger puppets as a tool to help caregivers talk with their infants both at home and abroad.

  • Gretchen Domek, MD

    Dr. Gretchen Domek is an Associate Professor in Pediatrics at the University of Colorado, a general pediatrician, and the Director of the International Adoption Clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado. In addition to her medical training, she received a Master of Philosophy degree in Medical Anthropology and completed a Global Health Research Fellowship. Her current research focuses on early childhood development in resource limited settings. She has designed and implemented a community health program promoting early childhood health and development in southwest Guatemala and rural China. She has also developed a primary care-based intervention to promote infant language acquisition in underserved children in the U.S.

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Episode 61, Environmental Health & Children, October 13, 2022

Children are uniquely vulnerable to climate change: rising temperatures and poor air quality increase asthma attacks and allergies, and natural disasters can lead to physical displacement, food insecurity, and an increase in mental health concerns. Dr. Jerry Paulson, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and of Environmental & Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Medicine, joins us to talk about this subject – and how caregivers can separate the noise from the science.

  • Dr. Jerry Paulson

    Dr. Jerry Paulson, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and of Environmental & Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. He spent the majority of his career teaching and practicing primary care in the system that bridges Children’s National Medical Center and GW. He is the founder of the American Academy of Pediatrics Program on Climate Change and a founding member of Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action. He works as a consultant to the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health fostering the development of state CCA organizations.

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Episode 60, Health Equity by Design, September 29, 2022

There’s a lot of conversation around health equity, and rightly so: research suggests that many disparities in overall health and well-being are rooted in early childhood. But how can one meaningfully address that in our healthcare system? Dr. Darrell M. Gray, the inaugural chief health equity officer for Elevance Health, joins us to talk about how to help shift health care from a transactional relationship to a deeper one using an equity framework.

  • Dr. Darell M. Gray, II

    Dr. Darrell M. Gray is an outspoken health equity advocate, a clinical and policy expert, and a passionate voice for a better healthcare system. As the inaugural chief health equity officer for Elevance Health, he leads the execution of comprehensive strategy to advance health equity through a whole-health approach (addressing physical, behavioral, social, and pharmacy needs) among Elevance Health’s more than 45 million members and their respective communities.

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Episode 59, Read Charlotte, September 15, 2022

The world of literacy has a dizzying array of systems that go well beyond schools and home — including legislatures, philanthropies, and other NGOs — but they aren’t always collaborating well. Munro Richardson, Executive Director at Read Charlotte, NC, reimagined how these systems could work, creatively connected groups that hadn’t before, and got community buy-in in the process; a clear example of how to make a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

  • Munro Richardson

    Munro Richardson is Executive Director of Read Charlotte, a community initiative that unites families, educators, and community partners with the goal of improving third grade reading proficiency in Charlotte, North Carolina. Read Charlotte is a capacity-building intermediary that supports local partners to apply evidence-based knowledge about effective reading instruction and interventions, high-quality execution, continuous improvement, and data analysis to improve reading outcomes.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, and graduate degrees from Harvard University, Oxford University, and the University of Illinois. He is co-author of Read With Me: Engaging Your Young Child in Active Reading, published by Rowman & Littlefield in November 2018.

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Episode 58, Adventures of Fatherhood: Rasing Raffi, September 1, 2022

Parenting is often tough. While our society has better normalized talking about the highs, lows, and in-betweens of raising children, there’s still a lot that’s hard to say publicly. Keith Gessen, the author of the new book Raising Raffi, takes on these challenges, asks the many unvoiced questions, and does so as someone not heard as frequently in the parenting book space: the perspective of a father.

  • Keith Gessen biography

    Keith Gessen is the author of several books, including A Terrible Country and All the Sad Young Literary Men, and is the founding editor of n+1, a print and digital magazine of literature, culture, and politics. Keith has translated or co-translated several books in Russian and is a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and New York magazine. He teaches journalism at Columbia University in New York, where he lives with his wife and two sons, one of whom is the namesake of his latest book, Raising Raffi: The First Five Years.

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Episode 57, Raising a Baby the Government Way, August 18, 2022

As in other times, women in the late 1910s-20s from all over the U.S. looked for parenting advice.  Who did they ask? The federal government, believe it or not.  They flooded the Children’s Bureau, a division of the Department of Labor, with letters about their worries and concerns around raising children. Molly Ladd-Taylor, author of “Raising a Baby the Government Way: Mothers’ Letters to the Children’s Bureau,” joins us to share the story behind the letters and what they can tell us about what has changed – and what hasn’t – regarding maternal and infant care.

  • Molly Ladd-Taylor

    Molly Ladd-Taylor is a Professor of History at York University in Toronto. Her research has focused on the history and politics of motherhood, resulting in publications such as Raising a Baby the Government Way: Mothers’ Letters to the Children’s Bureau; Mother-Work: Women, Child Welfare and the State, 1890-1930 and a co-edited anthology called ‘Bad’ Mothers: The Politics of Blame in 20th Century America. Her most recent book is Fixing the Poor: Eugenic Sterilization and Child Welfare.

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Episode 56, What is Material Culture of Childhood, August 4, 2022

What can a piece of clothing tell us about how a child lived? How can parent interactions be revealed through a pair of gloves? What might a baby’s quilt tell us about family dynamics? Dr. Sarah Anne Carter, Executive Director of the Center for Design and Material Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Human Ecology takes us on a field trip into the Center’s vast collection to examine childhood objects throughout history and how these objects can help tell the stories of the children who used them.

  • Dr. Sarah Anne Carter

    Dr. Sarah Anne Carter is the Executive Director of the Center for Design and Material Culture, and an Associate Professor in Design Studies at the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Carter is the author of the recently published book Object Lessons: How Nineteenth-Century Americans Learned to Make Sense of the Material World and teaches a course on “The Material Culture of Childhood” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Episode 55, Love Letters to Food, July 21, 2022

Using the talents of both writing and illustrating to offer messages encapsulated within compelling stories through children’s books is difficult.  Yet, Shabazz Larkin is an artist, author, illustrator, and activist who manages to do just that. He joins us today to talk about his craft and the unique way he has been able to weave healthy messages surrounding food and nutrition into his work for children and their families

  • Shabazz Larkin

    Shabazz Larkin is an artist and activist interested in creating images of black culture and contemporary spirituality. Shabazz is a multi-disciplinary artist, painting vibrant portraiture on canvas, typographic printing techniques and film.  He made his picture book illustration debut with Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table and his author/illustrator debut with A Moose Boosh, both selected as American Library Association Notable Books.  His most recent book, The Thing About Bees, was named one of School Library Journal‘s Best Picture Books of 2019.

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Episode 54, Planet Word, July 7, 2022

Is a museum with words and not objects still a museum? Yes! Planet Word, a unique museum in Washington DC, houses immersive experiences dedicated to the celebration of words and language. Ann Friedman, Founder and CEO of Planet Word, joins us to talk about Planet Word’s overall mission and atypical design – both of which are deeply grounded in language arts and science.

  • Ann Friedman

    Ann Friedman is the Founder and CEO of Planet Word and the developer behind the restoration of the Franklin School, the museum’s home. Her interest in literacy began with a lifelong love of reading, early work as a copy editor and translator, and a later career as a beginning reading and writing teacher in the Montgomery County Public Schools. She previously served as the Chair of the Board of the SEED Foundation, the parent body of the nation’s only public, inner-city, college-prep boarding schools, where she currently serves as Vice Chair.  Ann was recently elected a trustee of the American Alliance of Museums.

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Research shows reading physical books together brings the strongest benefits to children. That’s why we’re happy to have Boise Paper – a responsible paper manufacturer – sponsor this podcast. Through their Paper with Purpose promise, Boise Paper looks for ways to make a difference in local communities. Thank you to Boise Paper for investing in our Reach Out and Read community.