Award-winning (and Milwaukee-based!) journalist and literacy advocate Maya Payne Smart appears with her new book, Reading for Our Lives, which provides a clear, step-by-step guide to helping your child thrive as a reader and a learner. Cohosted by Milwaukee Public Library.
When her child went off to school, Maya Smart was shocked to discover that a good education in America is a long shot, in ways that few parents fully appreciate. Our current approach to literacy offers too little, too late, and attempting to play catch-up when our kids get to kindergarten can no longer be our default strategy. The brain architecture for reading develops rapidly during infancy, and early language experiences are critical to building it.
Reading for Our Lives challenges the bath-book-bed mantra and the idea that reading aloud to our kids is enough to ensure school readiness. Instead, it gives parents easy, immediate, and accessible ways to nurture language and literacy development from the start. Through personal stories, historical accounts, scholarly research, and practical tips, this book presents the life-and-death urgency of literacy, investigates inequity in reading achievement, and illuminates a path to a true, transformative education for all.
Maya Payne Smart is a literacy advocate who has served on the boards of numerous library and literacy organizations. She and her family live in Milwaukee, where she serves as affiliated faculty in educational policy and leadership in the College of Education at Marquette University.
Joining Maya Smart for this conversation is Dr. Dipesh Navsaria. Dr. Navsaria is a pediatrician working in the public interest. He blends the roles of physician, occasional children’s librarian, educator, public health professional and child health advocate. With graduate degrees in public health, children’s librarianship, physician assistant studies, and medicine, he brings a unique combination of interests and experience together.