The Company

Words To Grow On is a new social enterprise dedicated to spreading the word to parents and caregivers that they need to talk, sing, read, and rhyme more with their babies because of its importance to optimal social, emotional, cognitive, and language development.
    
We're innovating ways to deliver that message to as many people as possible. 

Our developments include:
     *  a new home party platform focusing on early brain development for parents, their extended family and their friends
     *  our Time2Talk2Baby app that has proven effectiveness
     *  a personalized action plan for parents with fun, free, and easy ways to get their child ready for kindergarten
         . . .  and more!  Click here to learn more about these innovations and other products and services we offer.

Our Founder

The company's founder is Dr. Peggy Sissel.

For the past 30+ years, Dr. Sissel’s  research, teaching, writing, program design, advocacy, and community service has been dedicated to the healthy outcomes of children, families, and communities.
 
She is a former associate professor of education and director of the Center for Research on  Teaching and Learning at the University of Arkansas - Little Rock, where she was the first professional in the state specializing in health literacy, and raising awareness of the role low literacy can have on health care access, understanding, and outcomes. 

Dr. Sissel has a rich, 35 year history of community service and volunteerism, having served on dozens of boards and committees for local, state, and national organizations. Most notably, in 2002 she co-founded Arkansas’ Reach Out and Read coalition.  Since its incorporation, Reach Out and Read Arkansas has helped doctors and their staff distribute over 700,000 books to families.  Seeing the need for better books on food and nutrition that Reach Out and Read, WIC, SNAP, and other programs could distribute, in 2005 she founded Brain Child Press, a social enterprise publishing company which is now a division of Words To Grow On. 

She has also served as board member, Chair, and Interim Executive Director of the Arkansas Literacy Council, which funds and provides technical assistance to adult tutoring programs in the state.  In 2012 she joined the Advisory Committee of Arkansas' Grade Level Reading Campaign and remains active in that effort.  Another volunteer position she recently completed was as a member of the Governor's Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism, which oversees AmeriCorps programs in the state.  She was appointed by the Governor in 2013, and served as its Chair for 4 years.  

Dr. Sissel holds a doctorate from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University and received her master’s degree at Michigan State University and bachelors at the University of Iowa.  Her 50+ publications range from scholarly books, academic book chapters, editorials and magazine articles, children’s picture books and curricula.  

She is the recipient of numerous civic and academic  awards, including being selected as a Kellogg Fellow in 1998.  In 2016, her app idea - Time2Talk2Baby - was designated by HRSA as one of the top 10 innovations in the U.S. promoting better early development.

Dr. Sissel  lives in Little Rock, AR and is married to Dr. Kevin Phelan, who is a professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  They have two adult children;  a son Patrick, in medical school and a daughter Erin, who just graduated with her Master of Arts in Teaching and is now a 2nd grade teacher. 

Click here to view her Curriculum Vitae.