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MNAAP Newsletter

AAP Calling on Pediatricians to Promote Early Literacy

By Laurel Wills, MD, pediatrician at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare

In June of 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a landmark policy statement calling on pediatricians to promote reading aloud to children every day, starting in infancy. The recommendations represent the organization’s first official policy calling on both pediatricians and policy makers to make books available for families, especially for those living in poverty.

Shockingly, children in poverty hear 30 million fewer words than their more financially advantaged peers by age 4. This staggering “opportunity gap” manifests in developmental disparities, seen as early as 18 months of age. The tasks at hand are significant: to address the factors in a child’s early life that influence later achievement gaps; intentionally and efficiently build the capacity and capabilities of parents to be their child’s first teacher; scale it effectively and inexpensively across broad populations; and incorporate it into the ever-tighter time frame of the well-child visit. Fortunately, a solution was developed 25 years ago. Today, it takes a new step forward.

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Early Childhood Policy and Resources Update

By Laurel Wills, MD, pediatrician at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare…

Trying to address questions or challenges with your patients and their caregivers during their prenatal and early childhood years?

The following are resource links that we hope you will find useful in providing care and guidance in a clinical setting.

Help Me Grow

is our statewide portal for mobilizing early intervention services AND for parent information about child development.  Access Help Me Grow or make referrals for EI evaluation and treatment services at or 1-866-693-GROW (4769).

Child Care Aware of Minnesota

Formerly known as the Child Care Resource and Referral network (CCR&R), Child Care Aware provides information for families seeking services, as well as approved professional training opportunities for child care providers.  MNAAP is involved in disseminating a curriculum for child care providers and early learning centers (e.g. Head Start) on medication administration in child care settings.  Go to for more information (Spanish, Hmong, and Somali translations available on this website).  For more specific information on Health and Safety regulations for Child Care in MN, visit

Parent Aware

is Minnesota’s quality rating and information system for child care and early learning centers. This is a voluntary program, with quality coaches available through the state program. Developmentally appropriate curriculum, care environment, as well as health and safety parameters are included in the rating criteria. A free search tool and service for parents and other providers at 1-888-291-9811 or Parent Aware ratings are available in several counties at present and will be available statewide by 2015.


is a joint advocacy effort, endorsed by MNAAP, to secure public and private  investment in high quality child care and early learning environments for all young children.  See:

Reach Out and Read-Minnesota

is pleased to announce that our National ROR organization was just awarded the prestigious David M. Rubenstein Prize for Literacy by the U.S. Library of Congress!  Thank you to all of our 125 Minnesota clinics and pediatric providers who make Reach Out and Read happen for over 70,000 young children in our state.  We still have much work to do to sustain and expand our current efforts to reach still more children and families who could benefit from early parent-child literacy promotion.  Read more about the ROR model and research findings at and see Minnesota ROR “in action” by accessing video clips on YouTube (search Reach Out and Read Minnesota).

Please email or call with questions or input, and consider joining our Early Childhood Interest Group:  or  651-600-0901