About Sandhyaa Iyengar

Sandhyaa Iyengar, M.D. received her undergraduate degree at Stony Brook University and then attended St. George’s University School of Medicine. She is currently a senior resident at Albany Medical Center in Pediatrics. After she completes residency this year she will enter sub-speciality training in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Her past experiences include teaching adaptive aquatics to special needs children and working in a home for girls with autism. She has enjoyed volunteering with the Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity and has been involved in international medical missions to Tanzania and the Philippines. In Albany she has pursued community advocacy through partnering with local organizations, and has been a part of a local farmer’s market for an underserved area of Albany, and she has founded a community-based initiative to teach families about the importance of reading with their children called Story Time Stars.

Talk Description

Story Time Stars: Let Every Child Shine with Early Literacy

It is better to build strong children than to repair broken men (quote from Frederick Douglass), yet we have great strides to make in helping our children achieve early literacy and school readiness. We know that by investing in children during the period of early education, every $1 we spend saves society $7 in educational and social outcomes, according to recent Nobel prize winner James Heckman. We will review the science behind the importance of early literacy as it relates to brain development, language, and social-emotional development. The talk focuses on ways that our community can embrace this mission of preparing our children for success by utilizing books. We will discuss both the Reach Out and Read model as well as a new community-based initiative called Story Time Stars. Reach Out and Read is a successful national organization in which doctors give books to children at well-child visits and has shown to increase family shared reading over decades of research. Story Time Stars is a new program in which parents receive one-on-one sessions with trained medical providers in the community with an emphasis on library resources and educational media outlets. We will give a comprehensive review of dialogic reading, a simple everyday tool that parents can use, and discuss how early literacy is the key to improving a child’s outlook on life-long learning