Meet the Raising Readers Advisors
Combining the expertise of our clinical and early literacy advisors gives us opportunities to share up-to-date research and relevant messaging about reading and brain development with healthcare providers across Maine. Our provider partners then share these messages with parents and caregivers to encourage the emergent literacy skills development of their youngest patients. We’re pleased to introduce the team to you here.
Meet Gabe Civiello, MD: Dr. Civiello has been working as a general pediatrician at Franklin Health Pediatrics in Farmington since 2013. He completed his medical training at Dartmouth Medical School and then did residency and a chief resident year at Maine Medical Center. He is also involved with Tufts Medical School as the Farmington site director for their rural 3rd-year program.
“Maine is truly fortunate to have the Raising Readers program and I feel fortunate to be involved. I have participated from helping to select books on the selection committee to giving them to children in my exam rooms.”
Meet Jenn Dubail, MD: Dr. Dubail decided she wanted to be a physician when she was 9 years old after reading a book about Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female physician in the United States. She loved to read as a child, but really became interested in early literacy through reading with her own children. Outside of her office, Dr. Dubail loves spending time with her family. Her husband, twin daughters and she enjoy traveling and are avid Disney fans.
“Children are drawn to books because of their beautiful illustrations, transformative stories, and closeness of sharing time with a loving caregiver. I believe that books have the power to change lives. I take every opportunity in the office to share the Raising Readers books, laughing about the titles of silly books, looking at the animals in pictures or counting objects. It is an honor to be partnering with Raising Readers as a Clincal Advisor.”
Meet Annie Powers, MD: Dr. Powers grew up in rural Minnesota with a love for the outdoors and the adventures brought by each new season. She attended Colby College for undergrad and then traveled west to the University of Utah to complete her MD and Ph.D. degrees and remained in Utah for her Pediatrics residency. Dr. Powers and her family moved to Orono in 2014. She now works at Penobscot Community Health Center. She loves camping, canoeing, hiking, biking, skiing and outdoor exploring with her husband and three children, Nora, Grace, and Owen.
“One of the favorite parts of my day in the office is seeing the joy in a young child’s eyes when they receive a new book to take home—the spark of curiosity and imagination is truly rewarding. I look forward to working with the Raising Readers team to continue this amazing program and bringing the joy of books to the children in our community.“
Meet Brian Youth, MD, the Residency Program Director for Pediatrics at Maine Medical Center (MMC) since 2004. He also serves as the Medical Director of the Newborn Nursery at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at MMC. He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine, and practices general pediatrics at Maine Medical Partners – Pediatrics at the Westbrook office. Dr. Youth also precepts pediatric residents in the pediatric clinic at Maine Medical Center. Dr. Youth completed medical school at the Dartmouth-Brown Program in Medicine, and his Pediatrics Internship, Residency, and Chief Residency at the Univ. of Minnesota Hospital and Clinics in 1996.
“Raising Readers is an amazing program. I’ve been involved with the program since the very start and truly believe in the benefits of reading to infants and children on a regular basis. I’ve had the honor of serving on the book selection committee in the past as well as in the role of clinical advisor to the program for many years. It is so rewarding to be part of such a dedicated group of individuals all with the goal of promoting reading and literacy to families.”
Meet Colette Sabbagh, MD Clinical Advisor Emeritus. Dr. Sabbagh began as an advisor to Raising Readers shortly after she started as a Pediatrican in Bangor in 1999. She worked for Northern Light Primary Care Pediatrics from 1999–2019 and consulted with Raising Readers during all of that time. She is currently a pediatrician in Winchester Virginia for a private practice. She has two grown daughters who she remembers were always excited to see the books she brought home from the selection committee. She has a fine collection of children’s literature that she will always treasure!
Meet Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ph.D., our early literacy advisor. Dr. Bennett-Armistead is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education at the University of Maine. She completed her doctorate in Teacher Education, Curriculum and Policy at Michigan State University with an emphasis in early literacy while serving as the Program Supervisor of the MSU’s Child Development Laboratories. Prior to doctoral study, she was a preschool teacher and administrator for 14 years. Dr. Bennett-Armistead speaks internationally on literacy development in young children as well as on the role that families can play in that development and is the co-author of several published books. Dr. Bennett-Armistead lives in Bangor with her husband and four children.
“I am delighted to work with Raising Readers! One of the things that drew me to Maine was the variety of strong initiatives that have made such a difference to the literacy levels in Maine in such a short amount of time.”
Meet Kirsten Cappy, our book advisor. Her deep knowledge of children’s books stems from her early career as a children’s bookseller and from 2003 onwards as a children’s book consultant at her Maine-based company Curious City. Cappy now serves as the Executive Director of I’m Your Neighbor Books, a nonprofit helping schools obtain and engage with children’s books set in immigrant and new generation families. Since 2005, Ms. Cappy has sorted through the thousands of children’s books published each year and personally read 400+ board and picture books each year to find the strongest titles to show to our annual Book Advisory Committee. Her guidance through the latest children’s books has allowed the committee and staff to make the best selections for Maine children.
“Maine is unique in its focus on early childhood literacy. The generosity of the Libra Foundation has meant families have access to the very best books published, books that bring the joy of the read-aloud experience, and all the developmental growth read-alouds deliver. It has been an honor to play a small role in helping Raising Readers raise Maine readers.”
Raising Readers Clinical Champions
Katie Adams, MD
Health Access Network
Lucy Amory, MD
Maine Medical Partners Pediatrics
Katelyn Bolduc, FNP
Molly Skog, PNP
Sacopee Valley Health Center
Margaret Kloby, MD
Pen Bay Pediatric
Steve Jacobs, MD
Retired (continues to consult with Raising Readers)
Lisa Ryan, MD
Dr. Harry E. Davis Pediatric Center
Laura Walsh, MD
Kennebec Pediatrics and Winthrop Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
Augusta and Winthrop