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Exploring the Mind | 7 Ways Children's Storytelling Skills Impact Literacy Development

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 8:39am

Join Assistant Professor Nicole Gardner-Neblett of the University of Michigan for her presentation on the importance of storytelling in the development of literacy skills, and learn some strategies for supporting young children as storytellers.

Did you know that by the time a child is two or three years old they can tell a simple story? These early storytelling skills can help children develop a strong foundation for building later reading and writing skills. Research suggests that opportunities to practice telling stories helps children develop stronger language skills and a better understanding of how stories are structured. This presentation reviews seven ways that young children's storytelling skills can impact their literacy development. 

Nicole Gardner-Neblett, Ph.D., is a developmental psychologist whose work focuses on the individual and contextual factors that promote children’s language and literacy development. She adopts a strengths-based approach to understanding children’s development and identifying effective practices to transform the early learning experiences of young children. In particular, Dr. Gardner-Neblett’s work examines the oral narrative, or storytelling, skills of African American children and the implications for literacy development and educational practice.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Katherine Dawkins

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:05am

Katherine Dawkins was born in 1932 in the Black Bottom neighborhood in Detroit. She had two children as a teenager, and recalls how that impacted her relationships with friends and family. She married her second husband, James Dawkins, in 1963. She has held various jobs, including switchboard operator at the Gotham Hotel and customer service representative at Harper Recreation Bowling Alley and Henry Ford Hospital. Late in life, Dawkins was inspired to return to school and she received her GED at age 79.

Katherine Dawkins was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Connie and Ethan Stewart

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 9:48am

Connie Gibbon and Ethan Allen “Al” Stewart were married on August 31, 1948 in East Orange, New Jersey. Al had just completed his BA at MIT. They moved to Indiana for his job at Procter & Gamble. Within a few years Al started working for Ford Motor Company’s Saline plant and the couple moved to Ann Arbor. They had three children: Carol, Connie, and James. Connie organized a cooperative preschool with neighborhood mothers, and later in life she volunteered for Planned Parenthood, including serving as temporary director. They moved to Glacier Hills Retirement Community in 2004, and then Rochester, Minnesota to be closer to their son James. Al passed away on April 22, 2014.

Connie and Ethan Stewart were interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2008 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Author Event | Katherine Reynolds Lewis Discusses Her Book "The Good News About Bad Behavior"

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 12:17pm

A new and surprising problem has quietly been developing in the current generation of children: they are out of control. A recent study of first-graders found they could sit still for no more than three minutes, only a quarter of the time that their peers could in 1948. Government statistics show that half of all children will develop a mood or behavioral disorder or a substance addiction by age 18.

In the era of the helicopter parent, children seem to have lost the ability to regulate their behavior and emotions. Our time-honored methods of punishments and rewards haven't taught discipline -- they've undermined it.

Journalist Katherine Reynolds Lewis spent five years investigating this crisis: observing families at the dinner table, meeting educators who are transforming the school experience for kids with attention and mood disorders, studying psychological research, and looking introspectively at her own parenting habits.

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Bright Nights Community Forum | Postpartum Depression: What You Don't Expect When You're Expecting

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 12:34am

Women frequently experience mild mood changes during or after pregnancy, but if these symptoms become severe, they require treatment. Often misunderstood and conflated with the “baby blues,” postpartum depression occurs in nearly 15 percent of women and can interfere with their ability to care for or bond with their babies. Although highly treatable, many women are reluctant to seek care for a variety of reasons including lack of information about the illness, misconceptions about its treatment, and shame due to stigma and societal pressures.

Samantha Shaw, MD, Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry at Michigan Medicine, gives a brief overview presentation reviewing the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression; treatment options; and strategies to avoid common “traps” of postpartum depression. The presentation is followed by questions and discussion with a panel of experts including Lisa Anderson, MSW, Social Worker, Michigan Medicine; Monica Starkman, MD, Associate Professor Emerita of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical School.

This event was a partnership with the U-M Depression Center. For more information on the Center, visit their website or contact Stephanie Salazar, 232-0330, or

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Bright Nights Community Forum: The Adolescent Brain - Substance Use, Depression, and Recovery

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 3:10pm

Important features of brain development exist during the adolescent period, and this developmental phase matters when we talk about adolescent depression and substance use. Understanding these developmentally specific features of depression and substance use helps with parental monitoring, understanding, responding effectively to youth, as well as knowing more about what to expect and how to discern when more help is needed. It is common for parents to wonder, "are they just being a moody teenager?" or "isn't it normal to experiment with alcohol or drugs during adolescence?" Sometimes parents are unsure which condition, substance use or mental illness, is primary or what needs to be treated first. 

In order to address these and other dilemmas in relation to dual diagnosis in adolescence, The University of Michigan Depression Center and the Ann Arbor District Library present a Bright Nights community forum entitled, “The Adolescent Brain: Substance Use, Depression, and Recovery”.

Dr. Joanna Quigley, Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry; Associate Medical Director for Child & Adolescent Services, Ambulatory Psychiatry & University of Michigan Addiction Treatment Services (UMATS), gives a brief overview presentation reviewing the signs and symptoms of adolescent depression; signs, symptoms and impact of substance use during adolescence; the intersection of these conditions; how they influence one another and what this can mean for long term development. She speaks about the importance of early intervention and prevention, as well as response focused on education and effective dialogue.

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Bright Nights Community Forum: Adolescent Depression, Resiliency, and Coping Skills

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 6:03pm

Adolescence is a period of great change and great stress. Academics become more challenging, the number of competing responsibilities increase, and navigating the social world becomes more complex.

Major depression in adolescents is common, with 11% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 experiencing a major depressive episode each year (NSDUH, 2014). When depression is diagnosed and treated early, many people with depressive illnesses are able to achieve remission and maintain wellness. Even without a clinical diagnosis of depression, families and adolescents can benefit in creating a surplus of coping skills.

To learn more about depressive disorders in adolescents, including how families can help generate resiliency in their teen, the U-M Depression Center and the AADL presented this community forum on adolescent depression, resiliency, and coping skills.

Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, LMSW, Behavioral Health Consultant and member of the University of Michigan Depression Center presents on this topic. This is then followed by questions from the audience and a discussion with expert panelists, including Craig VanKempen, LMSW, MPH, Social Worker and Health Educator, Corner Health Center; Nicole Speck, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, Clinical Manager, Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools; and Amy McLoughlin, Guidance Counselor, Skyline High School.

This event was cosponsored by the U-M Depression Center as part of an ongoing Bright Nights series. For more information on the Depression Center, visit their website or contact Stephanie Salazar, 232-0330, or email Stephanie at

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An Evening With Lesley Stahl As She Discusses Her New Book "Becoming Grandma: The Joys And Science Of The New Grandparenting"

Tue, 10/11/2016 - 2:37pm

AADL is honored to host an evening with Journalist Lesley Stahl as she discusses her new book Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting.

The event, which will include a book signing, will be held at The Michigan Theater. Books will be for sale at the event, courtesy of Nicola’s Books. There is no charge to attend this special evening event, which is cosponsored by Michigan Radio.

After four decades as a reporter, Lesley Stahl’s most vivid and transformative experience of her life was not covering the White House, interviewing heads of state, or researching stories at 60 Minutes. It was becoming a grandmother.

She was hit with a jolt of joy so intense and unexpected, she wanted to “investigate” it—as though it were a news flash. And so, using her 60 Minutes skills, she explored how grandmothering changes a woman’s life, interviewing friends like Whoopi Goldberg, colleagues like Diane Sawyer (and grandfathers, including Tom Brokaw), as well as the proverbial woman next door. Along with these personal accounts, Stahl speaks with scientists and doctors about physiological changes that occur in women when they have grandchildren; anthropologists about why there are grandmothers, in evolutionary terms; and psychiatrists about the therapeutic effects of grandchildren on both grandmothers and grandfathers.

Throughout "Becoming Grandma," Stahl shares stories about her own life with granddaughters Jordan and Chloe, about how her relationship with her daughter, Taylor, has changed, and about how being a grandfather has affected her husband, Aaron.

In an era when baby boomers are becoming grandparents in droves and when young parents need all the help they can get raising their children, Stahl’s book is a timely and affecting read that re-defines a cherished relationship.

Lesley Stahl is one of America’s most recognized and experienced broadcast journalists. Her career has been marked by political scoops, surprising features and award-winning foreign reporting. She has been a 60 Minutes correspondent since 1991; the 2015-16 season marks her 25th on the broadcast.

Prior to joining 60 Minutes, Stahl served as CBS News White House correspondent during the Carter, Reagan and part of the George H.W. Bush presidencies. She also hosted Face the Nation from 1983-91 and co-anchored American Tonight from 1989 to 1990. She is married to author and screenwriter Aaron Latham. They have one daughter and two granddaughters.

Join us for this fascinating evening with Lesley Stahl.

Co-sponsored by Michigan Radio

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Sex on TV: What Are We Learning? Why Does It Matter?

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 10:18am

The mainstream media has emerged as a prominent force in the sexual education of American youth, with teens consuming nearly 7.5 hours of media a day. Yet relying on media models of sex and courtship can be problematic because portrayals are often narrow, unrealistic, and gender stereotypical. In addition, mainstream media often feature a hyper-sexualized ideal for women that may encourage young women to value themselves mainly for their beauty and sexual appeal. This lecture discusses several studies that investigate how regular exposure to mainstream media affects young peoples’ sexual attitudes, expectations, and experiences.

L. Monique Ward is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research examines how media use and parental messages contribute to gender and sexual socialization. This program was co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Department of Psychology.

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Bullying in Our Schools: Strategies for Students, Parents and Educators

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 12:07pm

Huron High School basketball coach Waleed Samaha lead this informative program on the destructive effects of bullying. The discussion features teens and adults he has worked with to promote a safe, respectful, and positive educational environment at Huron High School and provide strategies for dealing with bullies.

This event was in partnership with the U-M Council for Disability Concerns as part of their 2015 Investing in Ability programming.