Books Build Better Brains: How Promoting Literacy Is Key to Early Brain & Child Development

February 11, 2016

The first thousand days of a child’s life are of critical importance, and human relationships and interactions play a key role during this time period. Learn from Dr. Navsaria, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin, about the importance of early literacy, key concepts about literacy development, and how toxic stress and early adversity can lead to lifelong issues. You’ll also hear about the structure and concept behind the Reach Out and Read program, which provides early literacy promotion, as well as how libraries can become crucial partners in promoting and developing early literacy skills and helping to offset the effects of adversity.


  1. The importance of the first years of a child’s life for developing lifelong mental and physical health as well as learning potential.
  2. The concepts of early literacy and dialogic reading and how this plays into the advice and modeling you do with families.
  3. How promoting early literacy in community settings can be a powerful approach to affect early brain and child development on a population health level.

Photo Credit: Sarah Rose Smiley,


Dr. Dipesh Navsaria

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria

Dr. Navsaria is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and practices primary care pediatrics at Access Community Health Center. He is the founder and Director of the Pediatric Early Literacy Projects at the University of Wisconsin, and is the founding Medical Director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin. Dr. Navsaria is also the Director of Advocacy Training for the pediatric residency, serves as the faculty advisor for the Pediatric Interest Group, and is the Director of the MD-MPH program at the University of Wisconsin. Along with his medical training, he holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science, with a focus on children’s librarianship. You can find Dr. Navsaria on Facebook and on Twitter.



Liz Bowie

Liz Bowie

Content Strategy Manager at Demco, Inc.
Liz is the Content Strategy Manager for Demco. Her background includes editorial management and product development of innovative and time-saving tools for schools and libraries, with an emphasis on Common Core, literacy and math. The products she and her team have developed, including classroom games, learning centers and professional development resources, have garnered 46 industry awards for excellence in education. Liz is passionate about promoting literacy through her work and the work of others. If you are interested in sharing your ideas and programming tips on Demco’s Ideas and Inspiration blog or have ideas for topics you’d like to see covered, contact Liz at