Category Archives: News

  • Join our Community Council

    Join our Community Council

    community council

    We’re seeking new members for our community leadership and advisory council. This is a great opportunity for anyone with a  record of leadership and passion for RORKC’s mission. 

     

    The Community Council supports the work of Reach Out and Read Kansas City and provides mission-based leadership and strategic governance. While day-to-day operations are led by ROR’s Executive Director, the Council/Director relationship is a partnership, and the appropriate involvement of the Council is both critical and expected.  Qualified applicants will be leaders in business, government, philanthropy, the medical field, or the nonprofit sector.

     

     

     

    RESPONSIBILITIES OF A COUNCIL MEMBER:

    Advocacy: Actively champion and advocate for a call to action related to early literacy and kindergarten readiness causes. This includes but is not limited to sharing Reach Out and Read Kansas City’s message and news about programs and events through personal and professional networks as appropriate.

     

    Committee and event participation: Members are asked to actively participate in at least one standing committee and to support the annual fundraising breakfast through the purchase of a ticket and/or their attendance.

     

    Ambassador responsibilities: Attend and/or volunteer at least one third-party sponsored meeting or event as an “official” representative of Reach Out and Read Kansas City.

     

    Attendance: The Council meets bi-monthly on the second Friday of the month, from 11:30a-1:00 pm at the Reach Out and Read office located at 2100 W. 36th Ave., Kansas City, KS 66103. Members are asked to attend these meeting on a regular basis and send advance notification for an excused absence.

     

    Length of service: Members are asked to commit to serving a minimum of three consecutive years on the Council, with the opportunity to re-up for an additional three-year term. Terms coincide with the organization’s fiscal year which begins on July 1 and concludes June 30.

     

    Financial commitment: There are no annual dues or minimum financial requirements associated with Council membership. Members are encouraged to support Reach Out and Read Kansas City by making a financial contribution in an amount that is meaningful to them. In addition, members are asked to assist with identifying potential donors and/or event sponsors. Staff will approach and cultivate these opportunities.

     

    Candidates should email the Council Development Committee with:

    – their resume or bio

    – a cover letter describing their interest in the organization/connection with our mission and what skills they would bring to the Council

  • 1 Millionth Book

    Video Presentation of Reach Out & Read KC’s 1 Millionth Book!

    On Tuesday, December 2nd, Reach Out and Read KC provided our 1 millionth book at the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Pediatric Clinic.  The millionth book was presented to a local family after their 4th month old son’s well child visit.   Watch highlights from the presentation below!

     


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    A Klass Act

    ROR National Medical Director Presents in KC at Regional Pediatrics Conference

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    The Reach Out and Read program and message of “Books Build Better Brains” took center stage on September 22, as Dr. Perri Klass, National Medical Director of ROR presented both the morning’s keynote speech and a subsequent working session to an audience of 200 pediatric care providers. Klass was the featured speaker at the 49th Annual Clinical Advances in Pediatrics Symposium, presented by Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics at Children’s Mercy Park. She explained and provided evidence supporting the many benefits young children garner by being read aloud to. Additionally, she urged attendees to take advantage of the special relationship between families and pediatric providers to support parenting practices that promote early brain development through literacy-related practices. Dr. Klass suggested the message to parents should include, “your baby will love books, because your baby loves you,” and therefore will love and look forward to time spent together sharing books.

  • CouncilSquare

    Welcome, Ashley, Mary, Kathleen, and Liz

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City is pleased to have four new members on our Community Council. Join us in welcoming Ashley Bieck, Liz Vasquez, Mary Olive Thompson, and Kathleen Johanson.

     

    Ashley

    Ashley Bieck is the Manager of National Medical Society Engagement at UnitedHealthcare, focusing on building external relationships and making sure the care provider point of view is well-represented. She previously worked for the American Academy of Family Physicians for eight years in workforce development and policy. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Biology, as well as a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Ashley loves spending time with her husband, Nathan, and five year old daughter, Maddie, and volunteering for a host of community and governmental organizations. Ashley shares the following about her commitment to community service:

     

    I have dedication for helping the underserved in the Kansas City community and have tried to focus my volunteer career life on programs related to health, housing and hope. I would welcome the opportunity for additional service. And, that is what it is, service to an organization you are passionate about.

     

     

     

    Mary

    Mary Olive Thompson is the Director of Library Outreach and Community Engagement at Kansas City Public Library. She holds Master’s degrees in both Social Work, and in Library and Information Science. In addition, Mary has over ten years of experience working with a variety of community and social service agencies in the Lawrence KS and the Kansas City Metro areas. She and her fiancé are also expecting their first child in December and couldn’t be happier for the coming life changes! After reading The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, Mary found a deep appreciation for reading aloud to children. She shares the following about how the principle in The Read Aloud Handbook led her to RORKC:

    I find these same principles in the Reach Out and Read program and would love to provide my skills and sweat equity to help RORKC continue to build the personal library of children across the metro, create a reading-rich environment, and encourage parents and caregivers to read aloud to their children.

     

     

     

    Kathleen

    Kathleen Johansen is the Senior Communications Liaison at The University of Kansas Hospital. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, a Master of Science degree in Health Education, and she has over ten years of experience in Communications and Journalism. Kathleen is also an active member of Junior League where she has a reputation for being a hard worker and very creative. Kathleen shares the following about her passion for reading aloud:

     

    My love for reading and sharing bedtime stories with my son is why I want to join the Reach Out and Read Community Council. I will never forget the first time my son read along with me during his favorite bedtime story, “Old Hat, New Hat.” Oh, the joy! He was barely two-years-old but had already become a voracious reader. I started reading to him before he was born and he was reading on his own by the time he turned three.

     

     

     

     

    20160817_182522Elizabeth Vasquez is a Physician’s Assistant at Health Partners Olathe, a Reach Out and Read KC partner clinic. She delivers the Reach Out and Read program to the children and families she sees in her practice and represents their sites (Olathe and Growing Futures) at our quarterly Clinic Coalition meetings. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies. Along with a love for reading and sharing books, she has a deep understanding of the need for and importance of our program and its role in fostering learning and healthy brain development. She says the following about her love of reading:

     

    I started reading at a young age and was encouraged by my parents greatly and some of my fondest memories are of my parents reading to me nightly, us reading out loud together, and going to library readings.  All of these early opportunities aided in writing, comprehension for later tests through school, and helped in general with all of my school subjects. Reading and writing have been a very big part of my life, and I would like to pass this on to other families throughout my work career.

     

     

  • Sydney3

    RORKC Welcomes New VISTA Volunteer, Sydney

     

    Sydney4We are thrilled to welcome our new Communications Specialist, Sydney Milner. Sydney joins our team as a full-time volunteer through the AmeriCorps VISTA program.

     

    Sydney is from St. Louis, and she holds  Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Arkansas. She describes herself as an avid reader, and last year she spent 6 months living and volunteering at high-poverty schools in South Africa where she realized how many opportunities can open for young children just by improving their literacy skills. She says “I am excited to join Reach Out and Read Kansas City and help promote their mission of encouraging family reading throughout my year of service.”

  • nat conference 2016

    ROR Leaders Come Together at National Conference

    RORKC’s Executive Director, Mark Mattison, and Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, attended the ROR National Conference in Boston, May 11-13. Of greatest benefit to them was getting together with leadership of other Reach Out and Read programs to share ideas and best practices, as well as a wonderful opportunity to put faces to names and voices of folks we work with regularly around the country.

     

    nat conference 2016

    On multiple occasions throughout the conference RORKC was acknowledged as an exemplary program. Most significantly, a video of our founder, Dr. Jean Harty, was used to introduce the session on implementing the 0-6mos program nationwide, acknowledging her insistence that it always be a part of KC program. Other takeaways of note were a commitment from National to begin providing content for grant applications connecting outside research in early brain development to the ROR program, and Sallie connecting with other nurse practitioners and making plans to present together on the ROR program at the National NP Conference this summer. The conference was sponsored through a generous grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and other corporate sponsors.

     

  • Mother-And-Son-Silhouette-2

    Reach Out and Read Benefits Adolescent Mothers

    It has been shown over and over that Reach Out and Read program has  significant benefits for infants, but a pilot study in Maternal and Child Health Journal indicates that the program may also have notable benefits for adolescent mothers.

     

    mae-bebe Adolescent mothers are more likely to experience maternal depression. This is likely a cause of the elevated language delay for their children, since depression can impair a mother’s ability to be a responsive caregiver. Fortunately, reading aloud together encourages mothers to enjoy time spent with children while doing something fun and interactive, resulting in healthier attachments and reduced depression.

    The aforementioned study encouraged reading by implementing the Reach Out and Read model, and used questionnaires and the Beck Depression Inventory-Revised to measure results. The participating clinicians attended a 1-hour session informing them of counseling strategies that are attuned to the unique needs of adolescent mothers. The model was implemented using three components common to ROR clinics: 1. The clinician giving an age-appropriate book to the child during a check-up; 2. The clinician administering literacy advice; and 3. A language-rich clinic environment, including volunteer readers. The program is feasible and low cost because the books and resources were donated, and the clinic readers were volunteers.

     

    Though it cost very little, the program was effective in reducing maternal depression and increasing time spend reading together. Researchers also observed high recruitment and retention rates, which was noteworthy considering the high frequency of missed appointments for adolescent mothers at the clinic.

     

    The study did have a small sample size and only included one clinic, so the results could not reach a statistically significant conclusion. However, the observations made here show promise for further study and will hopefully lead to research on a larger scale. This information also provides a reminder that the Reach Out and Read program is simple, but its effects are varied, broad, and profound. Our program begins in the clinic, but it is hard to say when (or whether) it ends, for the benefits of hearing a story in the arms of a loved one are benefits that last a lifetime.

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    The Consequences of “Second-Hand Screens”

    We all know how frustrating it is to talk to someone who is distracted by a mobile device, but did you know that it can also pose a potential developmental risk for infants? Reach Out and Read National Center recently posted an article by Dr. Robert Needlman, ROR co-founder, describing the parallels between screen-focused behavior and Ed Trunick’s “Still Face Paradigm.”

     

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    Click to watch a video of the Still Face Experiment

    The Still Face Paradigm comes from a series of studies by Dr. Ed Trunick. In these studies, each mother would interact with her baby by cooing, gesturing, and touching, back and forth. Then, on a signal from the research team, the mother would become still faced, no longer interacting with her baby.

     

    Dr. Needlman describes the baby’s reaction, “The baby’s response, at first, was to act even more adorable, as if trying harder to recapture the mother’s interest. Then, when the mother remained impassive, the baby would become angry, crying in rage. Then, when even that failed, the baby would slump back, defeated, looking depressed.  Babies whose mothers actually did suffer from depression did less flirting and protesting. Instead, they skipped right to “defeated.” It was as if they knew – had learned – that mother wasn’t to be counted on as a partner. These babies protected themselves by investing less emotional energy in the exchange, building walls against closeness and disappointment.”

     

    Dr. Needlman explains that this still-faced behavior is much like the behavior of a person who is preoccupied by a mobile device: They remain impassive, show little or no facial expression, and do not actively interact with those around them. This may be appropriate at times, and smartphones have many advantages that are hard to give up. However, screen focused behavior is something to be mindful of, especially around young children. Like second-hand smoke, second-hand screens may pose a risk to those other than the user.

     

     

    30-million-cover-hi-rezDr. Dana Suskind makes a similar point in her book “Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain.” In this book, Dr. Suskind lists three guidelines for improving a child’s brain development:

     
    1. Tune in to what the child is interested in and respond to that interest.
    2. Talk more by engaging in frequent and high-quality speech with the child.
    3. Take turns by letting the baby participate and responding, back and forth.

     
    Sound familiar? These behaviors are much like what the “Still Faced Experiment” mothers did before they were instructed to make their faces blank. Of course, you can’t effectively “tune in” and “take turns” when engrossed in content on a screen, which is why Dr. Suskind adds a fourth guideline: Turn it off. As in, turn off distracting devices when spending time with your child. Besides we can think of a fun activity that doesn’t require any screens: Reading a book!

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    Hooked on Books 2016 Winner Announced

    Our winner for the 2016 Hooked on Books drive is Clear Creek Elementary School! They collected 6711 books,
    for an average of 13.4 books per student.

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    (Photo Courtesy of Taylor Kelly)

    Hooked on Books is our annual city-wide book drive and friendly competition between schools. It originated 17 years ago as a joint initiative of the Junior League of Kansas City and the KC Star. Reach Out and Read KC adopted the program in 2010, and it has continued to be a successful book collection program over the years.

     

    The winning school is determined by the ratio of books collected per student, and the winning school receives bragging rights, a $500 gift certificate courtesy of RORKC and Scholastic Books, a celebration assembly, and a teacher gift basket courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen. All participants receive a bookmark and a coupon for a free kid’s pizza at California Pizza Kitchen.

     

    This year, we had 19 schools and Rainy Day Books collect a grand total of 24,033 books that will be given to RORKC clinics as well as multiple local nonprofits and schools. With the help of the Junior League of Kansas City and the KC Star, we will be sorting and distributing these books to local agencies during the month of March.

     

    Hooked on Books Mouse Logo jpgCongratulations to Clear Creek Elementary, and thank you to all the schools and volunteers who helped us with this year’s Hooked on Books school book drive!!

     

     

     

     

     

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    Our Impact Continues to Grow

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    (Photo credit: Doug Bruns/Images for Change)

    Reach Out and Read KC is always trying to provide more books to more kids in the Kansas City Area. Because of your continued support, we have been able to give over 1700 more books to more kiddos at well-child visits in the first half of this fiscal year than we did in the first half of last year. This is such good news for us and for KC kids! Thank you for helping us make it happen.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • councilheader

    Welcome Eric and Larissa

    Join us in welcoming Eric Morey and Larissa Grantham,

    the two newest members of the Reach Out and Read Community Council!

     

    Eric is Director of Client Services at DST Systems, Inc. His experience prior to DST was in project management. He received his MBA from Washington University in St. Louis in December 2014. Eric shared the following about himself and why he feels so strongly about the Reach Out and Read program:
    Books and reading have always been a large part of my daily life. I was encouraged to read as a child and this has stayed with me as an adult (I’ve been in a book club for many years). I believe humans share a special connection with a physical book which cannot be easily replaced with modern technology. Working with an organization which provides something so special during critical phases of development would be an honor.

     

     

     

     

    grantham

    Larissa is a Financial Planner at Stepp & Rothwell, Inc. Before joining the Council, she was a volunteer reader for one year and has served on the finance committee since 2014. Larissa shared the following about her passion for reading and interest in the Reach Out and Read program:
    I know that being a good reader has made my life easier, both in school and on the job.  It has also been a wonderful way to escape in times of stress. I have been blessed to share that joy with both of my two sons, Carter, age 6, and Grayson, age 2. When I found RORKC, I started as a volunteer reader in the clinic at KU Prairie Village, and I loved being able to share that joy with the children that I saw each visit. I look forward to helping the program thrive and help give the area’s children a much needed boost in the right direction towards success.

  • esea_bill

    Every Student Succeeds Act Supports Reach Out and Read Model

    esea_billWe are thrilled to report that the Every Student Succeeds Act has passed. This piece of legislation recognizes the importance of pediatric literacy organizations, such as Reach Out and Read. The Every Student Succeeds Act was to developed to ensure quality education for all children. This act received overwhelming bipartisan support, including votes from some Kansas and Missouri representatives.

     

    The Every Student Succeeds Act can be read here. There are sections of this act that encourage funds for preschool and other early childhood education programs, support programs that involve parents and family members, and encourage children’s literacy and early childhood literacy preparation. This looks like a great step and we look forward to seeing how this law improves education and literacy preparation for children.

  • goldglove

    Salvy the Gold Glove Catcher

    salvyOne of our awesome supporters wrote this song for his brother’s school choir and it has become a bit of a hit, so he added a charity on with the song to get our name out there.  Lucky us!

    Take a listen and enjoy.

     

    Read the Article 

    $2 to download

    Listen on YouTube

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    Our Parents Report Success

    Results from our 2015 annual survey of parents have been tallied and we have good news to share! Of the 1090 families reporting between late August and late October, 99% of families said they received a book at their child’s well-child visit,  94% remember receiving literacy advice from their medical provider, and 83% of parents with children between 6 months and 5 years old say that they read to their children three or more times per week.

     

    Statistics tell us how many books we provide to children, but this self-reporting from parents is true confirmation that we are fulfilling our mission of preparing Kansas City’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.
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  • baby pic

    Hall Family Foundation grant funds new book at 1 month checkup

    We are excited to announce the award of $25,000 from the Hall Family Foundation to fund for two years the purchase and distribution of a new book at the one month well child checkup.

    Providers at our 51 partner clinics see up to 7000 children between birth and 4-months-old each year. Adding a new book at one month provides consistency in the prescriptive message and delivery of our program and extends the library of new books provided by RORKC to a total of 15.

    The book selected to launch this program, Sleep Baby Safe and Snug, was created by Charlie’s Kids Foundation for Safe Sleep to reinforce the message of safe sleep habits to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is available in both Spanish and English.

    1 month book

  • Hitting the Road - Jenny & Mark

    Hitting the Road: The RORKC Partner Clinic Tour

    Over the past month, our director, Mark, and volunteer manager, Jenny,
    set out on a series of day trips to visit each of the 51 partner clinics
    delivering the Reach Out and Read program.

    Hitting the Road - Jenny & Mark

    This was no small task since the clinics are located across both sides of the
    state line and in 7 counties throughout greater KC. Most were easy to find,
    some were so far we needed to pack a lunch, and only one threw us for a loop
    because the post office changed their address even though the office stayed
    put. Though the undertaking was great, the information we gained from the
    wonderful people and places we visited was even greater. We saw first hand what
    each of our providers have been telling us all along –  these folks are
    BUSY, they work very hard, and the new and used books we give them are highly
    valued by the providers and the families they serve.

    To all the staff, nurses, doctors, and practitioners who carved out a few

    minutes to say hi and show us around – THANK YOU. We couldn’t do

    what we do without you.

  • Welcome+copy

    Welcome Lucia

    Join us in welcoming Lucia Jones, the newest member to the

    Reach Out and Read Community Council!

    Lucia is a nurse and Program Manager at the Community
    Health Council of Wyandotte County. Before joining the Council, she shared the
    following information about herself and why she feels so strongly about the
    value and importance of Reach Out and Read:

    lucia

    (Growing up in Uruguay,)
    I come from a family where books and reading are part of the norm. In my family
    books are birthday and Christmas presents. They are reason for laughs and
    arguments. I have many memories of my mother reading her books until late into
    the night, and my grandma reading a passage out loud for us to enjoy. I read my
    first novel when I was 11 years old, my mom gave it to me and it had been given to her by my grandpa. 12 years ago, I became a mother and faced the challenges of being a good and productive parent. Going to school, working, and taking
    care of my kids was difficult, but I knew how important it was for my kids to
    have a relationship with books and reading.

     

    I believe we are the result of our environment, and for many the environment does not support the formation of reading habits that will have a lifelong impact. For me, reading is learning and loving. It is spending time with your child, it is imagining and dreaming. Reading means learning and improving, and our community needs all of that. I believe the Reach Out and Read KC program is very important because it brings families closer to books and (good) reading habits, and because it brings families together. I hope my experience, relationships, and understanding of the the KCK community will bring a positive impact to the council and program.

  • Turn the Page Dads

    KC Dads Read

    As Father’s Day approaches, Mayor Sly James and our partners at LINC and Turn the Page KC have launched a campaign to encourage KC fathers to spend time reading to their children. Between now and June 21, share a photo of yourself or a dad you know reading to his kids on our Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter using the hashtag #DadsTurnThePage and you could win Royals tickets! Watch this video for more details.

    Turn the Page Dads

  • Reach Out and Read Kansas City Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, during a well-child visit with four month old Katie.

    New Study Shows Reading to Children Increases Brain Activity

    Thanks to those who have already responded to our Spring fundraising appeal sent last week from our Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz (pictured below with a young patient and mom.)

    In case you missed it, Sallie also shared a hot-off-the-press article from AAP News about a recent study where MRI scans show associations between reading to young children and brain activity. These results provide new evidence for something we’ve known all along – sharing books with infants and toddlers can promote brain development and support reading readiness. Read the full article here.

    Save a stamp when responding to Sallie’s request. Contribute to Reach Out and Read KC online through our secure website.

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, during a well-child visit with four month old Katie.

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, during a well-child visit with four month old Katie.

     

     

  • blog7

    Macy’s campaign benefits RIF & ROR-KC

    Once again RIF has partnered with Macy’s to create Be Book Smart, a national partnership to raise awareness and support of children’s literacy. The effort helps RIF provide free books and literacy resources to children nationwide, and Reach Out and Read KC is fortunate to be the program’s local recipient.

    Between June 21 –July 12, 2015, shoppers at any of the Greater Kansas City area Macy’s can give $3 to provide a book for a child in need and receive a coupon for $10 off a $30 in-store purchase at any Macy’s nationwide. The discount can be applied on purchases made that day or in the future. Macy’s will give 100% of every $3 to RIF. New this year, in addition to the $10 off $30 discount, Macy’s will also offer 20% off a future purchase.

    This year’s campaign has a special focus on summer reading. Research shows that reading books during the summer is the most effective way for a child to maintain and even improve their literacy skills. Each coupon sold during the campaign provides a book for a child and just as important, the spark to keep them reading during the school year and all summer long.

  • Welcome+copy

    ROR-KC Welcomes New Manager of Volunteer & Constituent Relations

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    We are very excited to introduce our new Manager of Volunteer and Constituent Relations, Jenny Horsley.

     

    Jenny worked previously as Director of Volunteer Services at Operation Breakthrough where she handled a variety of volunteers and events, including working with the Reach Out and Read Program. Prior to that, she served as the Disabilities and Mental Health Coordinator at Head Start in Columbia, MO. Jenny holds a degree in Human Development as well as a Master in Business Administration, and is very involved in the nonprofit community. Over the past 10 years she has helped organize special events and raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation, and served in many positions on the Executive Board of the Greater KC Alumnae Chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi, most recently serving as President of the organization.

     

    Jenny proudly shares that she and her husband have two beautiful children, Tegan (age 4) and Connor (age 6), and because she loves reading and sharing books with her children, they love it, too. “My son is excelling in school and my daughter “reads” pictures every day,” she said. “I truly believe in the power of reading and want every child to have this great advantage in life.”

     

    In addition to meeting and working with Reach Out and Read’s amazing volunteers and supporters this summer, Jenny is looking forward to playing volleyball, summer BBQ’s, and cheering on the Royals. Please join us in welcoming Jenny. We are so thrilled to have her on the team!

  • Executive Director, Mark Mattison

    Giving Thanks, Giving Literacy

    Executive Director, Mark Mattison

    Executive Director, Mark Mattison, in ROR-KC book processing room

    Everyone knows the holidays are a time for thanks giving and for giving back. As I reflect on the past year, I am so very grateful to have been entrusted with this wonderful opportunity to spend every day giving back alongside the mighty staff of five, 46 clinic partners, and over 200 active volunteers of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. Also, I am thankful to you, for your past support and ongoing commitment to helping ensure every child in Kansas City will enter school ready to learn.

     

    Since coming on board as Executive Director in September, I have been challenged, inspired, and ever-so-honored to play a part in the important work we do and the contributions we make to improve the lives of children. Not only do I hear it every day in testimonials from our volunteers and clinic staff, in a recent Parent Survey 98% of our families reported getting a book at their child’s well-child visit, 95% of families reported getting literacy advice, and, as a result, 82% of families reported reading to their children three or more times per week!

     

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, during a well-child visit with four month old Katie.

    ROR-KC Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, during well-child visit with four month old Katie

    As you take a moment to give thanks this holiday season, I invite you to share your good fortune by also giving the gift of literacy – truly a gift that keeps on giving. A donation of just $60 to Reach Out and Read Kansas City provides a child with their own starter library, a new book received at each well-child visit from birth to 5 years old.

     

    Your gift will spark the joy of learning in thousands of children throughout Greater Kansas City. Thanks to you and other advocates, in the next twelve months medical providers will meet with parents over 72,000 times to prescribe the importance of sharing books with their children. 30,000 children will take home a brand new age, language, and culturally appropriate book from their well-child pediatric appointment. And volunteers trained and provided by Reach Out and Read Kansas City will model book sharing skills as they read to children in clinic waiting rooms.

     

    Research confirms that parents who receive literacy counseling from their health care providers, according to the Reach Out and Read model, are more likely to read to their young children, read more often, and have more children’s books in their homes. Over 70% of the children who visit Reach Out and Read Kansas City clinics come from low income families, and many of these families are struggling just to cover the basic necessities of food, rent, utilities, and transportation. They wish they could provide books for their children but their hard earned paycheck just doesn’t stretch that far. With your gift, Reach Out and Read Kansas City can help these children start the first day of kindergarten having experienced the joy of owning their own book, ready to read and learn.

     

    Best wishes and Happy Holidays,

    Mark Mattison
    Executive Director

  • dad reading to daughter

    Parent Surveys Confirm Program Success

    Results from our annual survey to parents have been tallied and we have good news to report! Of the 1085 families reporting between late August and late October, 98% of families said they received a book at their child’s well-child visit,  95% remember receiving literacy advice from their medical provider, and 82% say that they read to their children three or more times per week! Purchasing, delivery, and inventory statistics tell us how many books we provide to children by way of our clinic partners, but this self-reporting from parents is true confirmation that we are fulfilling our mission of preparing Kansas City’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.

     
    We would like to take this opportunity to show our gratitude for the clinics that are excelling in our program. At the following sites 100% of families surveyed reported reading to their children three or more times a week:

     

    Brookside Family Medical Group Leavenworth County Health Department
    Platte County Health Department Southwest Boulevard Family Care
    Swope Central

     

    At the following sites, 100% of families reported receiving early literacy advice from their medical providers:

     

    Argentine Family Care Brookside Family Medical Group Grain Valley Family Medical Care
    Heartland Primary Care Hope Family Care Jackson County Health Department
    KU Silver City Clinic Swope Independence Leavenworth County Health Department
    Platte County Health Department Samuel Rodgers Health Center Samuel Rodgers Northland Health Center
    Swope West TMC – Center for Family Health Turner House Children’s Clinic

     

    We want to be sure all of our families receive literacy advice and a book. This survey shows that we are doing well—almost all of our families are getting advice and books and this is translating into a high percentage of families sharing books with their children three or more times per week. Thank you to all our supporters and especially to our providers for making early literacy a critical aspect of your pediatric practice!

  • Publication3

    2013-2014 National Annual Report

    Publication2

    We’re thrilled to share our  2013-2014 National Annual Report. 25 years ago doctors created Reach Out and Read in one exam room, in one hospital, and in one city. Today, it has grown to impact 4 million children with 5000 sites in all 50 states.

     

    Here’s a short recap of our 2013-2014 year:

    -Received David M. Rubenstein Award from Library of Congress in recognition of our groundbreaking work to advance early literacy
    -Received a 1 million book donation from Scholastic
    -Attended Clinton Global Initiative America meeting, made new commitments with Too Small to Fail, AAP, and Scholastic

     

    We hope you’ll take a few minutes to check it out and celebrate an amazing year (and 25-year journey in early literacy) with us. Thank you for your continual support and partnership!

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    Reach Out and Read on The Today Show

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     The Today Show: “Hope To It”

     

    Our national chapter of Reach Out and Read was  featured on The Today Show! It was an incredible piece about Dr. Carolyn Boone, one of Reach Out and Read’s pediatricians that serves in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Boone and her story were featured as part of Today’s “Hope To It” series, which highlights people who have overcome adversity and are now giving back in their lives.

     

    Dr. Carolyn Boone is more than just a pediatrician of 30+ years. She is also a mentor, a teacher, and a part of the families of the patients she serves.  As part of her involvement in the Reach Out and Read program, she starts each appointment with a book, understanding the vital importance of reading. Dr. Boone was a child of teenage pregnancy, raised by a foster mother on a small farm without much, but she did have books — and the message to pass along her love of reading to others throughout her life.

     

    She became a doctor, dedicating her life to low-income families and adopting an holistic approach to medicine. “Books are just as important as an immunization,” says Dr. Boone, noting that books make sure the brain develops properly and are a way for parents to interact and talk with their children. Every day she promotes literacy and offers hope to the families she serves. The piece truly captures the power of Reach Out and Read, and how together through reading, we are changing lives, families, and futures.

     

    If the video does not work, watch the piece here.

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    Reach Out and Read Kansas City Awarded Federal Grant to Help Early Childhood Literacy

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City has been named sub-recipient in a $3.8 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant awarded to the Children’s Reading Foundation by the U.S. Department of Education. For 2014-2015, we will receive $22,590 to pilot two new early literacy and early learning programs to serve high-poverty communities in the Greater Kansas City area.

     

    Training for READY! For Kindergarten Program“We are honored to have the opportunity to build upon the solid foundation of our existing clinic-based school readiness program by presenting early learning and literacy skills workshops directly to local families,” said Mark Mattison, Executive Director of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. “Following the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s decision to add Kindergarten Readiness to its Big 5 Goals, this grant provides the perfect opportunity for us to do our part by expanding our current role.” Per the terms of the grant, we will be introducing in Kansas City the READY! For Kindergarten and Read Up programs, both developed by the Children’s Reading Foundation and currently operating successfully in chapter sites throughout the U.S. and Canada.

     

    READY! For Kindergarten classes provide training and tools for parents and caregivers, equipping them to help children birth to age five develop strong brain connections, ensuring school success. Studies show nearly 80 percent of children whose parents take part in READY! meet the kindergarten reading readiness standard regardless of family income or ethnicity, compared to 55 percent of children whose parents do not attend.

     

    The Read Up program is a summer literacy program that helps keep reading a part of daily summer routines by providing free books and weekly story times for children birth to eight. The program aims to reverse the “summer slide,” a situation where students lose up to three months of reading skills when school is out. Through this program, Reach Out and Read Kansas City will receive and distribute more than 13,000 books.

     

    The nonprofit National Children’s Reading Foundation is headquartered in Kennewick, Wash. The organization was founded in 1996 with the vision that every child learns to read early and well, thereby reaching his or her full potential in school and life. The reading foundation developed and delivers national programs focused on reading skills and school readiness for children birth to age five. The organization also helps establish local Children’s Reading Foundation chapters in communities across the country. Learn more at:  www.readingfoundation.org.

     

    Read the Children’s Reading Foundation’s press release.

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    Early Literacy and Reading Aloud is Taking the Lead

    Early literacy has become a popular topic this week as the American Academy of Pediatrics issued its first-ever policy statement focused on literacy promotion. The policy calls for pediatricians to advise all parents about the many benefits of reading aloud, which promotes literacy and motor skills.

     

    The new statement, aimed at 62,000 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics’, urges pediatricians to talk to parents about how critical reading aloud is for children’s brain development and literacy skills, and to provide books during visits for all low-income, high-risk children.

     

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City is extremely excited to see how this new policy affects children’s development and enhances their lives. For 25 years, Reach Out and Read has trained doctors and nurse practitioners to give books and early literacy advice at well-child visits, and now that it is becoming an official policy for all pediatricians to follow, even more parents will understand the importance of reading to their children every day.

     

    Studies have shown that every year, more than one in three children enter kindergarten without the language skills required to learn how to read.  In low-income families, children hear very few words by the time they are three. Reach Out and Read works to solve this problem every day and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new policy is another step in the right direction.

     

    Now, there is nowhere to go but up as we continue to fight for children’s literacy and hope to witness even more children enter school ready to read and succeed.