Read On Arizona @ the Summit

Because reading is the foundation for success in school and life, partners across the state are working together as part of Read On Arizona, a collaborative effort to improve language and literacy outcomes for Arizona’s children from birth to age 8.

New for 2018!

For the past three years, the Read On Arizona Literacy Summit has been held immediately following the First Things First Early Childhood Summit. This year, instead of being two separate events, Read On Arizona and First Things First are partnering to present a full schedule of language and early literacy programming throughout the two days of the FTF Summit.

The First Things First Early Childhood Summit will be held on August 27-28, 2018 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Register for the FTF Summit for full access to presentations designed to highlight evidence-based practices, resources and technical assistance to make third grade reading proficiency a reality for Arizona's children.

About Read On Arizona

Read On Arizona is a statewide, public/private partnership of agencies, philanthropic organizations and community stakeholders committed to creating an effective continuum of services to improve language and literacy outcomes for Arizona’s children from birth through age 8 over the next ten years. Named a Pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Read On Arizona is committed to helping create an early literacy system that delivers the right program at the right time for every child. Learn more at

First Things First is proud to be a founding partner of Read On Arizona.

Language and Early Literacy Programming at the FTF Summit

Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

Opening Keynote: Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek is an expert on how young children learn and develop language skills. She directs the Infant Language Laboratory at Temple University and is a New York Times bestselling author. Visit Kathy’s website to learn more about her amazing work.

Early Literacy Track, presented by Read On Arizona

Guerrilla Storytime: Networking with Peers for Professional Learning

Guerrilla Storytime is a peer-to-peer skill sharing event that allows literacy colleagues from different fields to learn new skills, network with peers, and share their best early literacy practices. In this session, participants from the Storytime Underground social networking group will share the training they use to promote early literacy. Topics will include behavior management, building early literacy skills, transitions, finger play and songs, opening/closing songs, interactive books and more.
Stacie Kopa, Buckeye Public Library System; Jennifer Brown & Megan Jacobson, Maricopa County Library District; Stephanie Stoner, Mesa Public Library-Dobson Ranch; Stephanie Greene, Pam Harrison & Rachelle Thoman, Apache Junction Public Library; Lynette Christensen, Prescott Valley Public Library

Engage your children as active learners during storytime!

Come play with us as we apply new strategies in vocalization, vocabulary development, kinesthetic learning and story comprehension to your favorite books.
Jenny Millinger & Korbi Adams, Childsplay

Smart Talk: Let’s Talk with Babies - Language Nutrition

Providing children with abundant language nutrition, starting at birth, ensures a strong foundation for learning to take place. Participants will learn strategies and activities they can use to promote language nutrition.
Millie Archer & Sas Jakeo-Singer, Arizona Department of Education

A Responsive Approach to Early Literacy Outcomes in Arizona

This session will share research on what works related to early literacy, focusing on information that is helpful to administrators. The session will also highlight data available related to early literacy, math and other indicators. Finally, the session will describe case studies and promising practices on how communities, schools and districts can improve literacy outcomes. Information on how to scale and replicate using Lectio/Implementation Science and how to address health factors such as vision screening to improve outcomes will also be shared.
Terri Clark, Read On Arizona; Nicol Russell, Arizona Department of Education; Karen Woodhouse, Eyes on Learning

For the Love of Literacy: Books, Stories, Songs, Rhymes, Poems and Dramatic Play!

This highly engaging session demonstrates how interactive storybooks, songs, poetry, finger-plays and dramatic retells motivate and teach vocabulary and comprehension, early phonemic awareness, attention span, memory and emotional awareness.
Billie Enz, Arizona State University; Dawn Foley, Mesa Unified Public Schools

We Can Catch Them Before They Fall

Help prepare children to receive reading instruction in kindergarten and beyond. Learn the importance of building strong phonemic representations in order to build strong phonological awareness skills.
Stacy Fretheim, Wellington-Alexander Center; Sandra Laine, Kyrene School District

Smart Talk: Let’s Talk with Babies - Brain Development and Research

During the first three years, the brain undergoes its most dramatic development, forming more neural connections than at any other time. Participants will learn the newest finding on language development and neuroscience and glean ideas on how to share this information with other adults.
Lauren Zbyszinski, Elizabeth Hamilton & Kristi Rosen, Arizona Department of Education

What Contributes Most to a Child’s Reading Success? Accelerate Success in Reading Through the Interactive Repeated Read-Aloud Process

Participants will explore strategies that optimize literacy development in oral language, vocabulary, phonemic awareness, fluency and comprehension through the “interactive repeated read-aloud process.
Bobbie Zemanek-White, Community Literacy Plus Initiative /Three Rivers Education Foundation

More Sessions Related to Language and Early Literacy Development

Systems Building Track

Responsive Family Partnerships: Building Community Collaborations Focused on Early Language and Literacy in Read On Communities

This session will illustrate how the Read On Phoenix, Chandler and Tempe Communities are creating educational solutions through aligning and targeting family supports to improve early language and literacy outcomes for children birth to age 8.
Kendra Smiley, Southwest Human Development; Amy Corriveau, City of Phoenix; Joann Floth, Read On Chandler

Community Schools: An Evidence-Based Strategy for Equitable School Improvement

A community school is a neighborhood hub, uniting families, educators and community partners to provide students with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed in school and in life. A panel of Yuma leaders will share how they are partnering at a local school to provide students with top-quality academics, health and social services and enrichment. Evidence-based resources and strategies for starting a community school in your community will be shared.
Rudy J. Ortiz, First Things First; Mary Beth Turner, Yuma School District One

Strengthening Arizona’s Comprehensive System to Meet the Developmental Needs of Children

The Early Intervention System State Partners Group, comprised of health, education and family support partners, is working to improve how the developmental needs of young children are identified and addressed. Hear from a cross-sector panel on strategies identified to improve coordination and delivery of services to support the physical, behavioral, developmental and social needs of children. Strategies shared will include efforts aimed at improving policy, coordination, screening practices and provider capacity. Participants will develop an understanding of screening, referral and intervention pathways and efforts underway to support families in navigating a complex system of services.
Kelly Lubeck, First Things First; Jane Kallal, Family Involvement Center; Dr. Rene Bartos, AzAAP

Early Learning Track

Quality Preschool and Kindergarten Readiness—Evaluating Tempe PRE and Quality First Programs

This session will provide an overview of Tempe PRE, a two-year pilot program launched by the Tempe City Council to increase access to high quality preschool at no cost for families living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The session will discuss how this effort intersects with Quality First and a formative assessment called the Kindergarten Developmental Inventory. The session will also discuss preliminary findings from an evaluation study of these programs on preschool quality and kindergarten readiness.
Marie Raymond, City of Tempe; Roopa Iyer & Sarah Johns, First Things First

Getting Beyond Happy, Sad, and Mad: Building Emotional Literacy Through Storybook Reading

This session will focus on using storybooks to support social-emotional learning. Building children’s emotional vocabulary while reading can support development in the oral language and social-emotional domains, areas critical to school success.
Hillary Roselund & Ann Marie Marino, Jumpstart

Introduction to the Revised Arizona Early Learning Standards

The Arizona Early Learning Standards provide a framework for planning of quality early learning experiences for all children ages 3 to 5. They cover a broad range of skill development and provide an instructional foundation for all children. This session provides an overview of recent standard revisions.
Lori Masseur, Arizona Department of Education

Creating Language and Literacy Rich Environments for Family, Friend and Neighbor Care Providers

This workshop will offer tools on design and implementation of reading and writing corners in the provider's home to promote early literacy with the children in their care.
Claudia Ortiz-Vazquez & Anita Ruiz, Association for Supportive Child Care

Strengthening Families Track

Respecting and Connecting with Families

This interactive workshop will present information to assist in building meaningful and inclusive relationships with different types of families by addressing their strengths and challenges.
Stephanie Goodman, Kathleen Ahearne & Maja Djokic, City of Phoenix Birth to Five Program

Parents Have the Power: Addressing the Talk Gap through a Parent Group Model

All parents have the power to support their child’s early language development! Come learn about a parent group model called LENA Start that has been implemented across the country. Challenges related to implementing parent group models will be discussed, as well as strategies for recruiting and retaining parents.
Traci Martin, LENA

Public Awareness Track

FTF Online: Raising Awareness with Engaging Content for Parents

Learn about First Things First's innovative strategy to reach today's parents with videos, graphics, information and resources for supporting their child's healthy development and learning.
Dan Puglisi, First Things First