Reflecting on Dr. Navsaria

November 24, 2015 at 9:27 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nancy Bianchi another winner of NAHSL’s Professional Development Award summarizes and appreciates Dr. Navsaria plenary presentation.

Reflecting on Dr. Navsaria

blog post by

Nancy Bianchi, MSLIS

Library Associate Professor, University of Vermont


First of all, thank you for the generous Professional Development Award to attend the annual meeting in Providence, RI. It allowed me to take the CE course, Supporting Systematic Reviews: the Basics taught by Janene Batten and Angela Myatt as well as to hear the two Conference plenary sessions on Monday.

My blog post will summarize the relevance of Dr. Navsaria’s plenary presentation (Libraries Lift Limits on Learners: Libraries as Agents of Change across the Educational Continuum) as it relates to a proposed activity at the Dana Medical Library, UVM.

As the Library’s liaison to the Department of Pediatrics and also as a member of the Library’s exhibit team, I began to explore themes on early literacy education last year for an upcoming Library exhibit. My interest in this topic came about after learning that pediatricians will be telling parents to read aloud to their infants right from birth under a new policy announced by the American Academy of Pediatrics in June 2014.

Even the title (Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice) of this new guideline speaks to the importance of this activity for pediatric healthcare providers and parents alike. And, to put some positive momentum into this new policy, the Academy has announced a partnership with Scholastic, a well-known children’s book publisher. As part of this team effort, Scholastic will donate books through Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit group of medical professionals, who make books available to low-income families.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when I heard that Dr. Navsaria, Pediatrician and Medical Director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin, was going to be a plenary speaker at NAHSL ’15. Dr. Navsaria’s presentation and PowerPoint provided an interesting mix of scientific facts and literary quotes in his effort to promote libraries/librarians as agents of change, especially for young children.

His bullet points on early brain and child development came from The Science of Early Childhood Development, a scholarly document published by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child in 2007. They included powerful statements like “Brains are built over time” and “Both brain architecture and developing abilities are built “from the bottom up” with simple circuits and skills providing the scaffolding for more advanced circuits and skills over time”. All wonderful concepts to include in a future early literacy library exhibit.

In addition, Dr. Navsaria incorporated scientific evidence from the 1985 Adverse Childhood Experiences study into his presentation. He labeled it “the most important study you’ve (probably) never heard of”. The study described the cumulative effect of adverse childhood exposures on language and learning. At this point in his presentation, Dr. Navsaria cited Frederick Douglass’ wonderful quote (“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”) to introduce the power of reading into a child’s early life.

Dr. Navsaria’s presentation went on to describe “literacy-rich waiting rooms” at the pediatrician’s office, “Prescription for Reading” pads used by healthcare providers during primary care visits, as well as a nationwide expansion of the Reach Out & Read program. All wonderful images to include in an upcoming library exhibit!

As I was driving home to Vermont from Providence and the NAHSL Conference, I couldn’t help but reflect on Dr. Navsaria’s wonderful presentation and feel excited to share his work and enthusiasm for early literacy education with the UVM community of librarians and pediatricians.


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