June 20, 2018

On today's show, Adrian and Bev visit Reach Out and Read Minnesota and sit down with Executive Director Kris Hoplin and Dr. Nate Chomilo, Pediatrician and Medical Director for Reach Out and Read. Later, Bruce Gale brings us an interview with Christina Li, a Stanford University student who founded Hello World.

The greatest amount of brain growth occurs between birth and age five. By the age of 3, approximately 85% of the brain’s core structure is formed. The developing brain triples in the first year alone and is almost fully formed by the time a child enters kindergarten.

Sadly, the majority of our investments are made in the traditional education years of K-12, which begin at age five.  That’s too late to start.

In the first three years, infants and toddlers begin acquiring the first of thousands of words they will use throughout their lives. At the same time, children are learning the rules of grammar.

At its heart, literacy is about communication, which begins long before a baby utters her first word. Babies are prewired to learn, communicate, and connect with others.  

In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement recommending parent-child home reading beginning at birth and continuing at least through kindergarten.

When parents talk, read, and sing with their babies and toddlers, connections are formed in their young brains. These connections build language, literacy, and social–emotional skills at an important time in a young child’s development. These activities strengthen the bond between parent and child. Pediatricians know this and urge parents to start reading with their babies from the start. 

This brings us to today's charity, Reach Out and Read Minnesota...

Adrian with Kris Hoplin and Dr. Nate Chomilo
Adrian with Kris Hoplin and Dr. Nate Chomilo

Reach Out and Read Minnesota gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.  @ReachOutandReadMN

Reach Out and Read was founded in 1989 with its first program at Boston City Hospital.  In June 2016, Reach Out and Read Minnesota severed ties with the National Center and became a Minnesota nonprofit corporation. They are one of the top ten affiliates in the country with respect to growth, number of clinics, number of children served, and overall performance.

With unparalleled access to families with young children, Reach Out and Read MN medical providers give books to children at well-child visits from infancy until they start school. More importantly, they encourage families to read aloud and engage with their infants, toddlers and preschoolers every day.


Their program is both cost-effective, and evidence-based: research shows that their program results in more frequent reading at home, accelerated vocabulary and critical brain stimulation. 

The effectiveness of the Reach Out and Read model is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  

While in Minneapolis earlier this month, we spoke with Executive Director Kris Hoplin and Dr. Nate Chomilo, Pediatrician and Medical Director for Reach Out and Read.

Christina Li
Christina Li

In today’s Kid Hero segment, Bruce Gale talks with Christina Li.  She currently attends Stanford University and is working on the Stanford Mars Rover Team.  

In 2015 she started an all-girls camp called Hello World, inspiring girls to be highly active in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs. Her mission is to close the gender gap between male/female students in the sciences and mechanical engineering. Christina started computer programming when she was in the 3rd grade. She also organizes field trips to places like Microsoft Tech Center and Google.

Christina was featured on CNN Heroes for "Computer Science Education".  In 2016 she was one of only nine people honored by the White House as a "Champion of Change for Computer Science Education."