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  • Sarah Waara

Reach Out and Read: Promoting early literacy

Reading to a baby or young child creates warm, loving memories but it also does something else — it helps their brain develop and kickstarts learning from the day they are born.


When Mary Beth Nienhouse first learned about Reach Out and Read, she knew that she wanted to support the program's implementation at Ascension NE Wisconsin - St. Elizabeth Campus. 


“When I first heard about the program, I went ‘oh my gosh this is a perfect fit,’" said Mary Beth, a retired teacher from Appleton. “Reach Out and Read is such a positive program and I strongly believe in the impact that books can have on young kids, especially when going to a doctor’s appointment where they may be feeling anxious.”


Every well-child visit starting from birth to five years begins with the child receiving a new, age-appropriate book to take home. Doctors can use the books to help ease a child’s nerves during the appointment, but the impact goes much further than that.


Reading to children at a young age has been proven to help children better recognize sounds and letters, increase their range of vocabulary, support listening skills and deepen

Reach Out and Read, funded 100% by the child-parent bond. 


Reach Out and Read, funded 100% by philanthropy in the Fox Valley, it is also available at:

  • Ascension All Saints - Four Mile Road in Racine

  • Ascension All Saints - Green Bay Road in Mount Pleasant

  • Ascension All Saints Pediatrics - Spring Street Campus in Racine

  • Ascension Medical Group Wisconsin -  Ninth Avenue in Oshkosh

  • Ascension NE Wisconsin - St. Elizabeth Campus in Appleton

  • Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Family Health Center in Milwaukee

  • Ascension Wisconsin Health Center - Mount Pleasant


“Every day, my goal is to put a smile on peoples’ faces. When kids get a book, I know it puts a smile on their face,” Mary Beth said. “This is a really positive thing for kids and I can’t think of a more positive program to be involved in.”


Thanks to the support of generous people like Mary Beth, providers across Ascension Wisconsin can help in supporting the healthy development of your youngest patients. Thank you for making this possible.


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