Category Archives: Reach Out and Read

  • Anthony Meyer

    Celebrating our 20th Anniversary: An Interview with Anthony Meyer

    Anthony MeyerAs Anthony Meyer’s three sons grew older, he realized that other people, besides himself and his wife, had an influence on their lives.  He saw that coaches, teachers, and others were positively impacting them and decided that he wanted to volunteer to have a similar influence on others.  This led Anthony Meyer to Reach Out & Read Kansas City.

     

    Because he worked near Children’s Mercy Hospital, he reached out to them to see how he could be involved.  They recommended that he become a volunteer reader in their Pediatric Care Clinic as part of the Reach Out and Read KC program.  He began reading to kids during his lunch hour and still does weekly.  Meyer has read for almost 14 years and served on our Community Council for 7 years.   His dedication and passion are what help make our program succeed.

     

    When I joined him for lunch, he brought along The Cat in the Hat.  He began by stating that he loved The Cat in the Hat because it is a fun and engaging story.  Then he demonstrated his favorite part were Thing One and Thing Two enter and the cat asks, “Would you like to shake hands with Thing One & Thing Two?”  Meyer held out his hand to shake mine, as he does with the kids he reads to in the clinic.

     

    Meyer is a master of making stories come alive in the waiting room.   Recently, he recalls reading one of his favorites, The Snow Day, to two boys, Amot and Avat.  He replaced “Peter”, the main character’s name, with their own.  By doing this, he personalized the story for them and they were engaged the entire time.  As they left the clinic, Meyer heard them exclaim to their parent, “there he is, the man who read to us!”.

     

    By modeling interactive and engaging reading practices for parents, he hopes that they emulate them at home.  While most families do enjoy his reading (he has even had parents take pictures of him reading to their child) he does encounter parents who are not interested in watching.  While this can be hard, he says that the families that do appreciate it outnumber those who don’t and it reminds him how important it is to read with kids in the clinics.

     

    Meyer also notes that reading in the clinics not only benefits the kids but himself as well.  He talks about the numerous times he’s been reading to a child, begins to laugh, and can’t stop.  “I enjoy reading as much as the kids enjoy being read to,” says Meyer.  It’s a great way to spend his lunch hour and part of the reason he’s been a volunteer reader for so long, he is able to help show the importance of reading while having fun.  He says, “It helps the parents, helps the child and helps me too”.

     

    Thank you, Anthony, for being an extraordinary volunteer and supporter of RORKC!

     

     

  • Join our Community Council

    Join our Community Council

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    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

  • blog post about CAPS

    CAPS Students Volunteer Reading Project

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    Last semester, four high school students became volunteer readers at our partner clinics.  Once a week, these students from the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) medical program, spent their morning reading to children and surveying how they felt about reading.  These students are interested in a career in the medical field and spent their semester participating in a service learning project.

     

     

    The four volunteers found that a large majority of the children they read to came from primarily Spanish speaking households.  This presented challenges for the group, but they realized that these children, even if they only knew some English,  enjoyed sharing books with them in the waiting room.

     

     

     

     

    Additionally, the CAPS students created a project to research the effects of reading on children’s well-being.    They presented the children with a mood scale before and after they read to assess if reading had any impact. Overall they found that children’s mood increased after sharing a story in the clinic waiting room.  mood scale CAPS blog post

     

    When asked about their favorite memory from volunteer reading at the clinics, they said, “being able to see all the kids’ smiles and realizing that reading can make a huge difference in their life.” Thank you Northland CAPS volunteers!

     

     

     

  • 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!

     


  • 20th Birthday Breakfast Blog

    Sponsorships Available for RORKC 20th Birthday Breakfast!

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    2017 is Reach Out & Read Kansas City’s 20th year of providing new, developmentally appropriate books to children and important literacy advice to parents! Because we have something extra special to celebrate, we are replacing our Green Eggs & Ham event with our 20th Birthday Breakfast.

     

    The event will occur on April 20th, 2017 from 7:30-9 am at the Uptown Theater. Coffee and registration will begin at 7am. Ample and adjacent free parking is provided.

     

    Join us in celebrating by becoming a sponsor for the 20th Birthday Breakfast.  Whether you are an individual, small business owner, or representative of a large corporation, we offer a variety of sponsorship levels and benefits.  We also invite gifts made in memory or honor of someone special.  View more information.

  • possible bliog

    Reach Out & Read KC’S 2016: Year in Review

    As 2016 draws to a close, we are looking back at some of our favorite memories and awesome volunteers.  Because of all our supporters, Reach out and Read KC was able to accomplish new milestones and reach even more families in 2016.

     

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    Our Hooked On Books book drive collected over 24,000 books from 20 elementary schools in 2016.  Here are just a few of our dedicated volunteers helping us sort books!

     

     

     

     

     

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    From February 29th through March 4th Reach Out & Read KC celebrated Dr. Seuss week! To honor the late Dr. Seuss, many local celebrities read to children in our clinic waiting rooms! Read more about this fun celebration. (from left to right: Karli Ritter & Mark Alford from Fox4 KC, and Ann Goodrich, a volunteer for RORKC)

     

     

     

     

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    On March 4, we held our annual Green Eggs & Ham breakfast.  Here we have Bryan Busby and Neville Miller from KMBC -TV reading to some of our youngest breakfast guests.  This year, because we have something extra special to celebrate in 2017, we are replacing our Green Eggs and Ham event with our 20th Birthday Breakfast! View more information about our 20th Birthday Breakfast.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Our annual Books on Tap fundraiser took place on October 19th at the 1900 Building.  It was a record- setting success raising over $9,000 for Reach Out and Read KC! This translates into providing over 1,800 books and literacy advice to children in KC.   For more pictures from this fun event, look through our photo album.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    On December 2nd, 2016, Reach Out and Read Kansas City reached a new milestone for our program.  We delivered our 1 millionth book during this four month old’s well-child visit at the University of Kansas Medical Center Pediatric Clinic.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Reach Out and Read KC YIRsquarerecently delivered our annual report for the fiscal year 2015-2016.  We had a record breaking year with RORKC providing 83,763 books to children at over 51 clinics.   View the full report.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Thank you to all of our volunteers who made this year monumental for Reach Out & Read KC! Below are only a few of the many who volunteered their time to help our organization succeed.

     

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    Want to help Reach Out & Read KC continue to provide books and a foundation for success to over 29,000 children in 2017? Please consider giving a gift this holiday season.

  • blog Reach Out & Read

    Reach Out & Read KC’s 20 Year Highlights

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City is in its’ 20th year of providing early literacy in pediatric care, here’s a brief look at how we got here!

     

    In 1996, KU Children’s Center received a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to become one of the first 50 national expansion sites of Reach Out and Read National. Jean Harty, M.D., was hired to begin the Reach Out and Read program in Kansas City. Dr. Harty held initial conversations in 1997 with Michele Kilo, M.D., about a joint Reach Out and Read collaboration between the University of Kansas and Children’s Mercy Hospital. In 1998, Children’s Mercy Hospital officially applied to Reach Out and Read National to become a program site, following an announcement by First Lady Hillary Clinton during a visit to Kansas City. A Steering Committee comprising Kansas University Medical Center literacy advocates voted to call the collaboration KC READS (K for KUMC and C for Children’s Mercy Hospital), developed a strategic plan, goals and a budget, and asked Laura Gregory to form and chair a Community Council. Dr. Harty was hired as the Executive Director of KC READS in the summer of 1998.

     

    On March 2, 1999, KC READS first celebrated “Read Across America” Day at its clinic sites on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

     

    Cute Boy w Bag of BooksBy 2000, KC READS had opened its 13th clinic site and had become the first Reach Out and Read program in the country to partner with a school district to obtain book funding through the Kansas City, Kansas, “Reading Excellence” grant. During that same year, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation began the Kindergarten Book Bag program with KC READS as a major distributor, and the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, began a 10-year Literacy Collaboration with KC READS as a partner and beneficiary.

     

    In 2002, the Kauffman Foundation transferred the Kindergarten Book Bag program to KC READS with a support grant. During that same year, KC READS officially changed its name to Reach Out and Read Kansas City.

     

    In 2006, Reach Out and Read Kansas City served 20,000 children a year in 33 clinic sites in Greater Kansas City and gave its 250,000th book to a child since 1997. During that year, it trained 185 pediatric providers to counsel parents about early childhood literacy and trained 273 volunteers to read to children in clinic waiting rooms.

     

    On Dr. Seuss’s birthdrading of GEHay, March 2, 2007, Reach Out and Read Kansas City held its first annual Green Eggs and Ham fundraising breakfast with Don and Adele Hall as honorary hosts, Carol Marinovich as Master of Ceremonies and Representative Emanuel Cleaver and Bryan Busby as guest readers reading Green Eggs and Ham. For ten years, this fun and lively event was a tradition.

     

     

     

    In 2010, Reach Out and Read Kansas City served almost 28,000 children in 46 clinic sites and distributed its 500,000th book. In 2011, it assumed organization and administration of the city-wide book drive Hooked on Books from the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, and collected more than 32,000 new and gently used books for nonprofit organizations and schools in Greater Kansas City.

     

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    By 2016, Reach Out and Read Kansas City was operating in 51 clinic sites in the metropolitan area and distributing 83,672 children new books in 27 languages to 30,000 children. Reach Out and Read gave its 1 millionth book on Dec. 2, 2016.

     

    On April 20, 2017, Reach Out and Read KC will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a Birthday Breakfast fundraising event at the Uptown Theater. Individual tickets go on sale in February. Sponsorship opportunities are available now.

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    Season of Giving Shopping Party at STUFF

    Join us on December 6th for an after-hours holiday shopping party at STUFF!  From 5:30-7:00 p.m. STUFF will be open for you to find the perfect holiday gift  and 15% of the evening sales will be donated to Reach Out and Read KC.  Located in Brookside, STUFF specializes in artist originals, handmade gifts, fine art, artisan jewelry,  small batch home and body products, indie cards, stationery & rugs.  Grab some friends and come enjoy some fun holiday shopping for a great cause.

     

    Location:

    316 W 63rd St

    Kansas City, MO 64113

    Google Map

  • holiday book drive

    Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive

    holiday book driveFrom November 1st to December 31st, help RORKC give children the gift of literacy! Customers at the Town Center Barnes & Noble  are invited to purchase an additional book for Reach Out and Read KC from a selection at the checkout.    Our book coordinator chose the selection to include a variety of books for a range of ages.  These brand new books will be distributed to clinics and provided to children at their well-child visits.

     

    Location:

    Towns Center Barnes & Noble

    4751 West 117th Street

    Leawood, KS 66211

    Google Map

     

  • November Book Drive

    Give Books, Win Books: Hold a Giving Tuesday Book Drive

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    We are turning Giving Tuesday upside down by giving you the chance to win one of two gift cards from Barnes & Noble. Between now and Nov. 28, host a gently-used book drive benefiting Reach Out and Read KC and be entered to win a $20 or $30 gift card from Barnes & Noble.

     

    Reach Out and Read KC creates literacy-rich waiting rooms in each of our partner clinics from book donations.    Schools, family gatherings like Thanksgiving, workplaces, and churches are perfect places to collect books.

     

    To qualify for the contest, donations must be a minimum of 25 books and delivered to   the RORKC office by November 28th.  The two winners will be announced on Giving Tuesday, November 29th.

     

    If you are unable to host a book drive, please consider participating in our virtual book drive or make a donation. 

     

    Guidelines for Book Drives:

    New or gently used books that are clean, readable, and have intact covers

    Books for young children (birth to five)

    No Religious Books

    No chapter or adult books

     

    Recommendations:

    Picture Books

    Bilingual or Spanish books

    Board Books

     

    Books must be delivered to our office:

    KU Med Support Services Facility

    2100 W. 36th Ave, Suite 116,

    Google Map

    Monday-Friday, 8:30-3

     

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    Promoting Print Awareness

    Print AwarenessReading books together helps babies create a foundation for lifelong learning by building skills that fluent readers take for granted. Babies have to learn that there are patterns in the sounds they hear, and that these sounds make words. They have to learn that the squiggly lines in books are letters and those letters make words. They also have to learn that there is a connection between those letters they see and the sounds they hear. That’s a lot of work for a baby! However, this connection, called print awareness, is one of the most basic pre-literacy skills and is absolutely necessary before a child can learn to read.

     

    All About Learning Press describes print awareness as “the understanding that words on a page have meaning and that they are related to spoken language,” further explaining that “As children develop print awareness, however, they begin to realize that those characters on the page are words, and that words are read in lines from left to right and lines are read from top to bottom. They learn that there are spaces between words and punctuation at the end of sentences.” Once children learn what text looks like, they are better able to recognize it in different contexts. They will be able to recognize that there are words all around them, not just on the pages of a book, but also on signs, billboards, cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, and more!

     

    Reading aloud together is a great way for parents to get started on promoting print awareness with their child. Reach Out and Read provides books starting at birth to encourage families to read and build these vital pre-literacy skills. Still, there are many fun and effective ways to make emphasize text while reading aloud and while doing everyday activities. Here are a few ways to promote print awareness:

     

    1. Start at the beginning. Reading Rockets suggests that you begin reading aloud by looking at the front cover and reading the names of the author and illustrator. You can also talk about the front and back of the book, and about reading from left to right.
    Hold up the book and say, “This is the front of the book, (turn it sideways and state) and this is the spine.” Turn the book to the back cover and state, “This is the back of the book.” Then ask, “Do we begin reading from the front or the back of the book?” (Students should respond, “From the front.”).

     

    2. Point to the text as you are reading. This will help distinguish that you are reading the words rather than just interpreting the pictures.

     

    3. Talk about words you see during daily activities. Words are everywhere, and so are learning opportunities! This video has some great examples of finding words in daily activities. Mira’s mother doesn’t just point to the sign and read “melons” she also makes the connection between two M words: M for Mira and M for melon!

     

     

    Read aloud every day starting at birth builds babies’ brains so that when they start kindergarten, they are ready to learn and can become strong readers. Reach Out and Read Kansas City incorporates books into pediatric care for babies ages 0-5, encouraging families to read together. This allows children gain pre-literacy skills like print awareness. To learn more about our program, visit our website. To help further our mission, consider donating to our cause.

     

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    We Did It! Macy’s Thanks for Sharing Campaign reaches goal

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    A big thanks to all you Macy’s Cardholders who joined Macy’s Thanks For Sharing. As the result of a partnership between Macy’s and Reading is Fundamental (RIF), the Thanks for Sharing campaign raised $15 million for charities like us! This means more books for kids in our clinics. We are so grateful to Macy’s, RIF, and all who supported us in this campaign.

     

    Thanks for Sharing will continue until December 31, so there is still time to enjoy the savings! Visit any Macy’s store to learn more.

     

     

     

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    Land’s End Sales Benefiting ROR

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    Now through November 30th, help us give the power of reading to children who need it the most!

    Land’s End has partnered with Reach out & Read National to help connect parents and children to the joy of reading books together.  20% of all net proceeds on full-priced orders will go to Reach Out & Read when you enter promo Code: REACHOUT and Pin: 8547 at checkout.

    Thank you for your ongoing support of Reach Out and Read!

  • YIRsquare

    A Record-Breaking Year for RORKC

    YIRsquareOur 2016 Year in Review report is here, and we are helping more families than ever. Between July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016, RORKC distributed 83,672 books. That’s over 6,000 more than the last fiscal year! To see more of what we have accomplished recently, and to hear from some of our volunteers and medical providers view the full report.

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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.

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    The Benefits of Bilingual Books

    The Reach Out and Read program has a huge impact on every family we serve because we are able to provide books that meet the specific needs of different families. Our clinics encounter patients who are culturally diverse and often unable to read or speak English.

     

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    For these families, we offer bilingual and foreign language books in 27 different languages from Arabic to Vietnamese at well-child visits for ages 0-5 years old. Children in these families will usually go on to attend an English-speaking school, making bilingual books especially valuable in helping them get ready for kindergarten.

    Bilingual books have a number of unique benefits: They prevent language delay that some English language learners may experience, and they build vocabulary in the reader’s home language. However, the benefits of bilingual books go far beyond the measurable language effects. Here are some of the benefits of the foreign language and bilingual books that RORKC offers:

     

    1. Bilingual books encourage parents to read in their home language. Parents who do not speak any or very much English may not be comfortable reading English-only books to their children. Being read and talked to (in any language) is important for building those pre-literacy skills so babies can be ready to learn once they start school. Strong pre-literacy skills in the child’s home language prepare their brains to learn reading or writing and improve their capacity to learn both languages. For very young children, learning a language is not the only goal: Building strong neural connections is also important.

     

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    Somali is one of our 27 languages for bilingual book options.

    2. Bilingual books build vocabulary in both languages. Bilingual children may have smaller vocabularies in each language than their peers (though their combined vocabulary is often the same or greater). This can become a problem once they begin school, especially since “playground language” does not expose children to concepts that they need to know for school in their second language. Bilingual books familiarize children with “academic language” in both language, preparing them to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

     

     

    3. Bilingual books help children feel included. It is important for children to find themselves represented in stories and illustrations. If their family speaks a language that is not common where they live, they may begin to feel alienated. For languages like Burmese and Urdu, it can be hard to find any resources for children at all. Bilingual books and foreign language books can provide children with much-needed representations of their home language, or even their race and culture.

     

    4. Bilingual books highlight other cultures. Bilingual books are also a wonderful way to help young children learn about and become more accepting of other cultures and people. Learning about other people can boost children’s social and emotional development.

     

    5. Bilingual books are fun. We know reading is a lot fun. Languages can be fun too!

     

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    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.

     

     

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    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.”

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    RORKC’s Back-to-School Re-stock Our Bookshelves Campaign

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City's Back-to-School Restock Our Bookshelves Campaign

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City needs your help restocking our bookshelves for the new school year. Last year, we provided books and literacy advice to children from birth to 5 years old at 77,792 well-child checkups. That’s 6,584 more checkups than the previous year!

    Summer is always an especially busy time in our clinics as families get ready for the coming school year. Since we are serving more children than ever, our need for books has increased and our inventory is being depleted. Help us restock our shelves so that we can continue to provide brand-new, developmentally appropriate books for the nearly 30,000 children who we serve each year.

    For just $10, you can provide books and literacy counseling at 2 well-child checkups. Help us reach our goal of $10,000 by September 15. That is 2,000 brand-new books and literacy counseling for children in the Kansas City area.

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    Books on TAP 2016 Tickets Available

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    Reach Out and Read Kansas City’s Fall Fundraiser: Books on TAP

     

    Wednesday, October 19, 2016
    5pm – 8pm

    1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway
    Mission Woods, Kansas 66205
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    Tickets $25 advance, $35 at the door

    RORKC invites young professionals to attend its 5th annual Books on TAP fall fundraiser on October 19, at the 1900 Building, located at the corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and State Line Road . Come together with friends -old and new- to celebrate RORKC’s mission of preparing our community’s youngest children for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. Drinks, light fare and entertainment will be provided.

    Purchase Tickets

    Your ticket includes:
    Appetizers and desserts
    3 Drink coupons
    1 Raffle ticket
    Live entertainment

    Every year, Reach Out and Read Kansas City provides more than 83,000 new, culturally, and developmentally appropriate books and literacy advice to nearly 30,000 low-income children, birth to age 5, and their families during well-child visits at 51 partner clinics located throughout the metro. Through Reach Out and Read, each child can build a 15-book library before they enter kindergarten. For many families, these are the only books in their home. By attending Books On Tap, you are providing enough support to purchase 5 books – a full third of their 15-book library!

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    Welcome Lisa, Monica, Cathy, and Gharib

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City is thrilled to have four new members on the Community Council!

    Join us in welcoming Lisa Riojas, Monica Tiffany, and Cathy McCaddon.

     

    lisariojas

    Lisa Riojas, M.D. is a pediatrician and the Medical Director at RORKC’s partner clinic, Children’s Mercy Hospital West. Lisa has nearly 25 years of experience in pediatrics, serving an urban, racially diverse population. She is also a longtime advocate and practitioner of the Reach Out and Read program. Lisa shares the following about why she believes so strongly in RORKC:

     

    I have watched countless children move through the Reach Out and Read program.  The families that read consistently with their children see improved speech skills as well as school performance but there is also a stronger parent-child bond.  While the improved literacy is critical for their school success, I also feel that the strong parent child bond is also a key component to that child’s ultimate success. 

     

     

     

     

    monicatiffanyMonica Tiffany is the Creative Director at Merrigan & Co, specializing in developing effective communications strategy for organizations. Monica has a plenty of experience working with nonprofits, as she has written for Shriners Hospitals for Children, National Geographic, the American Red Cross, and many others. She has also been an active member of RORKC’s event planning committee. Monica shares the following about the importance of being read to:

    It’s some of the most fundamental and important work we can do for kids and our culture. Also, it’s work that is close to my heart. I was lucky to have a mother who read to me—and who had her friends, sisters and parents (my grandparents) read to me. I participated in every summer reading program we knew about and it’s not stretching the truth to say reading, and what it did to my mind and my self-confidence, made me who I am today.

     

     

    CMcCaddonCathy McCaddon is the Senior Vice President of Keybank Real Estate Capital and has 20 years of experience in real estate finance. Cathy will enter retirement soon, and she looks forward to spending more time volunteering, specifically with early childhood development. She has a great volunteer background, including her participation in The Greater Kansas City Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club: She was named Pi Phi of the year in 2015. Cathy shares the following about why she looks forward to supporting RORKC:

     

     I would like to give something back to our community and I believe that our future lies in the education of our youth.

     

     

     

     

    Gharibi

    Gharib Gharibi is a Ph.D. student and instructor in Computer Science at UMKC, and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He has been an active volunteer for multiple organizations, including Harvesters, Operation Breakthrough, and Reach Out and Read KC. Gharib shares the following about his dedication to education:

    I was raised in a culture that praises helping, giving to others, and sharing. Specifically, we believe in giving , unconditionally, to those who are in need. The most noble form of giving is teaching, because education is the ultimate way to improve ourselves, our nation, and the human  race.

     

     

     

     

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    Dine at 39 Rainbow Restaurants to Benefit RORKC

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    Dine at select 39th and Rainbow Blvd restaurants during the month of July and RORKC will receive a portion of the proceeds. Eateries include Five Guys Burgers and Fries, topp’d pizza and salads, IHOP, Subway, and Pita Pit (to open in late July).

    Google Map for 39 Rainbow

    Also, bring your new or gently used book donations to the 39th and Rainbow Holiday Inn Express lobby for our month-long book drive!

    See the Facebook event

    Thank you to LANE4 property group and Page Communications, as well as our neighbors at 39Rainbow for making this happen!

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    Summer Reading Sure is Fun!

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    Image courtesy of Reach Out and Read National Center

     

    Summer has officially begun, and that means we get to experience the many joys of the season: Warm weather, ice cream, and many reading opportunities for the whole family. For young children (0-5years), summer can mean fun activities that make sticking to reading routines difficult. For school-aged children, summer break can result in summer slide—learning setbacks that result from time away from the classroom. Encouraging children to read through the summer can put them at an advantage for the rest of the year, and there are many ways to overcome the challenges of summer reading. Here are some tips for for keeping your little ones reading through the summer:

     

    1. Let your child choose what to read. From our friends at First Book: “Kids will always be more excited about reading, if they can choose what to read,” says Stephanie Phelix, Library Media Specialist at Belle Forest Community School in Memphis, TN.
    If you are having trouble coming up with summer reading ideas, check out these picture books about summer.

     

    2. Sign up for a summer reading program. Many local libraries provide incentives for children who meet reading goals, and programs are available for very young ages. Some KC area libraries with summer reading programs are:

    Mid-Continent Public Library
    Kansas City Public Library
    Johnson County Public Library

    If you can’t make it out to the library, Scholastic offers an online summer reading program as well.

     

    3. Incorporate reading into other fun summer activities. You know that hour between eating and jumping in the pool? Perfect time to read! RIF suggests some other ways to have fun reading, such as having a “book-nic” or a combined picnic and story time.

     

    KC area libraries are a great resource for free or inexpensive summer reading resources, events, and story times. However, home libraries are also important for developing young readers’ literacy skills. To help us provide books to KC’s youngest children through the summer and all year, consider donating to RORKC.

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    Enjoy your summer reading!

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    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.

     

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    Chatter Matters: Why it is Important for Parents to Talk to Children

    The following message is a guest blog from Sallie Page-Goertz MN, APRN. Sallie is the Medical Director of Reach Out and Read KC, and she recently gave a two-part presentation called “Parent Talk” about why it is important to engage in frequent, high-quality talk with young children. Her presentations were so informative and well-received that we would like to share that same message with you!

     

    Babies love to hear your voices.  While in the womb, they heard your voices, as well as those who were around you!  A fascinating study had women read to their babies before the birth.  After the birth, babies listened to recordings of their mother and recordings of a stranger reading the same story – they were much more interested in listening to the story recorded by their mothers, a familiar sound!

     

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    Photos courtesy of Reach Out and Read National Center.

    For children to learn to talk, they have to hear lots and lots of talking.  The first 3 years of life are the MOST sensitive for development of later language skills.  If babies do not hear lots of conversation, they lose an opportunity for developing strong connections in the brain that help them to communicate.    When you talk to your baby, connections between neurons are formed that will help them learn to speak.   Research tells us that the more words children hear between birth and three, the more words they know at 18 months of age and at 3 years of age. Sharing a book with your child is one way to get these conversations going!

     

     

    The way we talk to young children influences how they think about themselves, how they learn to regulate their behavior, and their willingness to try hard, and keep trying when learning new skills.  For example, in the grocery store – one could tell that running child to “Stop, behave, you know you’re not supposed to run” or, one could say – “hey stop running and come help Mommy find the red apples that you like so much – let’s see if you can put four of them in the bag!   Thank you for being a good helper”.  In the first example, the child is chastised for unacceptable behavior, but doesn’t learn what might be acceptable.  In the second example the child is told what they are not to do, but also told what they can do, and further are given an opportunity to learn about color, and counting and helping.

     

    Another example – the preschooler is working on putting a puzzle together – it’s hard for her to find the right spot for some of the pieces.  In one scenario, her caregiver shows her exactly where it goes, she puts it here and is told “great job”. The child is pleased to have the help, and continues to look for that help.  An alternative scenario, is that the caregiver suggests puzzle skills – look at the pieces with smooth edges, and see which ones will go together, or think about matching colors on the different pieces.  The caregiver encourages the child to keep trying different pieces until she finds the right ones.  Praise is given for trying again and again, rather than for being successful!   In the second scenario, the child has learned a lot more – about puzzle making, but more importantly about not giving up when things seem too hard.

     

    Dana Suskind’s book, Thirty Million Words:  Building a Child’s Brain, has lots of great ideas 30-million-cover-hi-rezto think about when being in conversation with your children.  She presents the research that explains importance of being in conversation with children in an easy to read and understand way, and reminds us of the impact that our conversations can have on children, both negative and positive.

     

    Bottom line, words matter, and the more words a child hears, the more prepared they are to communicate and to learn as toddlers, kindergarteners and adults!

     

    So, go talk to your baby – watch how she reacts to your voice, to your singing.  Even though she won’t talk back with words for many months, she talks back with her eyes and her expressions to let you know that she is definitely listening and learning.

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    Choosing the Best Book for KC Kids

    Infant Vision Simulator Card

     

    The right book at the right time in a young child’s life is key for their development and keeping their interest. Little ones get bored with books that are “too young” for them and can get discouraged by books that are too advanced. At Reach Out and Read Kansas City, we make sure that every child receives a book that is the best fit for them developmentally at each one of their 14 regularly scheduled well-child checkups. We stock over 200 titles in order to offer many different choices for different age groups, and there are a number of factors to consider when we choose books for each group.

     

    New babies, from birth to 4 months, are still working on developing their senses and motor skills, so they enjoy putting things in their mouth to experience them. Starting out, their eyesight is very undeveloped but grows stronger, as demonstrated on the infant vision simulator card presented here. While family members often hold babies closer than the distance designated on the simulator, this gives us some idea about how baby sees the world that they are newly experiencing.

     

     

    At this age, black and white are easier for them to see clearly, so they find high-contrast board books or cloth books most stimulating (and harder to destroy). For these reasons, we offer book choices such as “Hello Baby” and “Black and White Nighty Night” to infants 2-4 months old. Little ones in this age group are also quickly improving their ability to recognize faces, and at 6 months, can already recognize faces better than they recognize objects. With that in mind, we offer plenty of book choices with lots of faces to look at.

     

    5899 Our volunteer reader, Brenda, recently used the book “Baby Faces: Smile!” to engage a family with a 4-month old baby at our Cockerell & McIntosh site. She moved the book slowly from left to right and watched the baby track the pictures with his eyes, and then he broke into a smile (just like the baby in the book!)

     

    Brenda also gave the family a little information about how reading to very young children helps their brains develop so they are better prepared to learn in school. The parents were very excited to see the baby interact with the book by tracking it and smiling! As they understood that their interactions really were beneficial to their little one, they continued to interact with their baby and book through their stay in the waiting room.

     

    As children grow older, they start to recognize and name objects and are learning concepts like numbers and opposites. Between 1 and 2 years of age, children can choose books about counting or opposites, or they can choose a book that asks them what different objects are, such as “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” By age 3, kiddos are ready for books with a story, such as Mother Goose tales.

    Cute Boy w Bag of Books

     

    At 4 years, it’s time for a special well-child visit! By this age, children are getting ready to start school and Reach Out and Read is ready to help by giving them a kindergarten book bag including their “Countdown to the First Day of School” book,  a kindergarten readiness checklist for parents, and some other preparatory materials.

     

    Thanks to Janice Dobbs, our dedicated book coordinator of nearly 15 years, the Reach Out and Read KC team is experienced at and devoted to providing the most developmentally-appropriate book for every age. Equally as important, we also strive to provide the children we serve with books that are a good fit for them in other ways as well. Many families visiting our partner clinics do not speak English as their first language, so we offer bilingual books in 27 different languages (from Arabic to Vietnamese!) and our medical providers make sure to talk to each family about the importance of sharing books with their young children. By offering the best book choices to every child served by our clinics, we make sure the Reach Out and Read program has the greatest impact possible. Having access at home to the right book at the right time means a child is more likely to want to return to that book again and again, and will begin their lives learning a love of books and reading that will last through their school years and beyond.

     

     

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    The Value of Our Volunteers

    Volunteers are vital to Reach Out and Read KC’s success. With an in-office staff of only four, it is no surprise that RORKC relies heavily on volunteer work and donations. Our volunteer force is over 100 people, and growing. Last year, these ROR superstars clocked 4347 hours of work. This is equivalent to $102,415.12 of volunteer labor (according to Independent Sector’s estimate of the value of volunteer time). This is a significant amount for which we could not be more grateful. Still, these numbers only reflect part of the effect our volunteers have on our program and on the community. The work they do is varied in valuable in ways that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. So let’s take a closer look at some of their work:

     

    AnneGoodrichReading

    Volunteer reader Anne reads a Dr. Seuss book in an ROR clinic waiting room.

    Our regular volunteers include clinic volunteers and office volunteers.

    Volunteer readers assist clinics in creating a literacy-rich waiting room environment by sharing stories with children waiting for their doctor’s appointments. This models behaviors for families, like dialogic reading, and gives the kiddos something fun and positive to do while waiting (and it gives the parents/caretakers a short break!). This work isn’t just nice: It is one of many ways to encourage children to read, and this behavior is absolutely critical to their development.

     

     

    Office volunteer Allie labels books for well-child visits.

    Office volunteers do various tasks as-needed, including stuffing  and stamping envelopes for mailings, putting stickers on books (to color-code them for specific age groups), and database entry.

     

     

    One-time volunteers assist us with office tasks as well, often sorting or labeling books. Groups from various community organizations or corporations visit our office to help us get through the large number of books that come through our office on their way to one of our 52 clinics.

     

    Community volunteers label and sort Hooked on Books donations.

    Event volunteers allow us to hold successful annual fundraisers and book drives. Last March, we had volunteers sort and haul over 24,000 books from our yearly Hooked on Books school book drive and competition. These books are used as waiting-room books in our clinics, and over half of the books were donated to other local agencies and schools. Volunteers also set up and cleaned up after our Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, and directed attendees to the event space.

     

    Committee volunteers share their professional expertise and help us successfully run our program. This involves event planning, serving on our council, and much more.

     

    Because of our volunteers, we are able to fill KC kids’ lives with stories and prepare them for success in school, and eventually in college and careers. These books give them the developmental boost that all babies need as well as fond memories of imaginative stories shared with loved ones. Because of our volunteers, we were able to reach 76,000 children all over the Kansas City area just last year. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for RORKC, contact Jenny.

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    Hooked on Books Donations Benefit Local Agencies

    HOB Sorting 40  This year’s Hooked On Books Challenge collected more than 24,000 gently used books to be redistributed to kids who need them throughout our community. 19 area schools participated in the annual book drive during January and February. All the books were sorted and distributed in March.  Almost 10,000 books went to waiting rooms in  Reach Out and Read’s 52 partner clinics.  The rest were distributed to local agencies including W.E.B. Dubois Learning Center, The Urban Scholastic Center, The Upper Room, Literacy Kansas City, and several schools in KCK.

    41 volunteers joined us over two Saturdays in March to sort 250+ boxes of books by age/reading level, repackage them, and load them onto pallets and trucks for distribution. A special thank you to the Junior League of Kansas City for their help with collection and sorting; to the Kansas City Star for printing and storage; and to Vanguard Packaging for providing boxes. Thanks also to Serve KC, Cerner, and our all of our wonderful community volunteers for donating your time and muscle!

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    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.”

     

    stillfacescreencap

    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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    KC Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Donate Books

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    On February 25, the Greater Kansas City Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi donated 1,901 books to RORKC as part of a 20,000 book grant from First Book. The Pi Phis have divided these books up and donated them to several local organizations. The organizations are listed in this video.

     

     

    The  donation to Reach Out and Read KC includes books for well-child visits, volunteer readers’ book bags, and clinic waiting rooms. Thank you Pi Phi alumnae for your donation and your continued support over the years.

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    10th Annual Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast: A HUGE Success!

    Gallagher - Gershun - Mattison - Navsari

    (Pictured: Brian Gallagher, Director ROR National; Martha Gershun, ROR Supporter; Mark Mattison, Director RORKC; Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, Medical Director ROR Wisconsin)

     

    We had a fantastic time at the 10th Annual Green Eggs & Ham breakfast. Over 300 people attended, and we raised $70,000 and counting. That’s 14,000 books that kids in the Kansas City area will receive at our clinics! If you missed the opportunity to contribute, it is not too late: Donate here.
    We also heard a wonderful keynote speech from Dr. Dipesh Navsaria. Access the presentation slides here.
    Thanks again to our top level sponsors: The Walsh Family and Kelly Family Foundations in honor of Betty Keith; Pamela Miller and Michael Cummings in honor of Mary Jo Williams; Hallmark Cards, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; and to all other sponsors, table hosts and supporters. Because of you, Green Eggs & Ham 2016 was a huge success and tons of fun.

    View photo booth pictures

    View event pictures

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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.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    RORKC Celebrates Dr. Seuss Week

    Happy 112th Birthday Dr. Seuss!

    To celebrate the life and literary accomplishments of Dr. Seuss, Reach Out and Read KC had a number of local celebrities read in our clinics.

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    Gary Amble from KCTV5 at Samuel U. Rodgers

    Lisa Teachman from KCTV5 at Samuel Rodgers Westside

     

     

     

     

    CMH-PCC 2-29-16 (4) Karli Ritter

    Karli Ritter from Fox4KC at Children’s Mercy Hospital-Broadway Clinic

     

     

    Baby & Child- Dr. Suess 2016- Linda Wagar FOX-4

    Linda Wagar from Fox4KC at Baby & Child Associates

     

     

    CMH-PCC 2-29-16 (1) Mark Alford

    Mark Alford from Fox4KC at Children’s Mercy Hospital-Broadway Clinic

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    CMH West-2016-Lewis Diuguid

    Lewis Diuguid from the Kansas City Star at Children’s Mercy Hospital West

     

    Thank you to all our special readers, our amazing clinics, and to our volunteer readers who help us celebrate reading aloud every day!

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    Reach Out and Read Night at California Pizza Kitchen

    You are invited to Reach Out and Read night at California Pizza Kitchen on Tuesday, March 1st from 4:30-9:30pm. Not only will there be many kinds of delicious pizza, but a percentage of the proceeds will benefit Reach Out and Read KC. Join us for dinner or order take out or catering for the evening while supporting RORKC. We hope to see you there!

    Address: 11655 Ash Street, Leawood, Kansas 66211
    Map

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    Meet Dr. Dipesh Navsaria

    We are delighted to have Dr. Dipesh Navsaria as our keynote speaker for the 10th Annual Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast on March 4th. Tickets to the event are available now.

    Dr. Navsaria is the Medical Director for Reach Out and Read Wisconsin. He is a pediatrician with experience as a children’s librarian, a professor of pediatrics, and an advocate for children’s health.  Dr. Navsaria also has more degrees than a thermometer and wears really excellent bow ties.

     

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    Last year, Dr. Navsaria and Dr. Amy Shriver co-authored a report titled “The Elephant in the Clinic,” describing the Reach Out and Read program’s various benefits. At this year’s Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast, Dr. Navsaria will speak about this report. It is sure to be fun and informative, so you won’t want to miss it! Reserve your seat now:

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    (Photo credits: Sarah Rose Smiley, www.schaharazad.carbonmade.com)

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    Hooked on Books Volunteers Needed

    Hooked On Books collection day is Tuesday, February 23, from 9am-2pm. We are looking for volunteers with strong backs for lifting boxes of books and large vehicles for transporting them (up to 20 copypaper sized boxes at a time.) Volunteers will be assigned to pick up books at schools located throughout greater KC (from DeSoto to the West, Overland Park to the South, Raymore to the East, and Smithville to the North,) and deliver them to the KC Star loading dock in the Crossroads.

    Contact us for details.

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    We’ve got boxes full of books!

     

    We also need help on Saturday, March 12 from 9am-3pm and Saturday, March 19 9am-noon at the KC Star when we label, sort, and pack up our “Hooked on Books” books.

    Click here to sign up for a 3 hour shift.

     

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    International Book Giving Day

    February 14th is not just a day to give candy and flowers to your loved ones–it is also a day focused on encouraging people worldwide to give books to children. International Book Giving Day started as a joint effort between book-lovers in the US and UK in 2012, and it has spread worldwide since then. This year, all of us at Reach Out and Read KC want to make a special effort to celebrate this day, and need your help! Here are three ways you can enjoy International Book Giving Day:

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    Read a book with your loved ones. Set aside some time to relax and get comfy with a good book to share with your favorite kiddos. Let us know which book you shared by tweeting us @rorkc!

     

     

    Print free bookmarks and bookplates from the International Book Giving Day website.

     

     

    Donate to Reach Out and Read KC and we will do the work for you! We will use your donation to order and deliver age-appropriate books for children who visit our clinics for well-child check-ups. Click here to donate, and enter “International book giving day” in the special instructions section. $60 will provide a whole course of books for one child–that’s 15 books!

     

     

    The benefits of reading to children are numerous, and we appreciate any and all the work you do to bring about these benefits. We hope you find some time to read and enjoy this year’s International Book Giving Day!

     

     

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    10th Annual Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast Speakers Announced!

    ds2The 10th Annual Green Eggs and Ham breakfast to benefit Reach Out and Read KC is coming up on Friday, March 4 from 7:30-9am. This is our biggest event of the year! Tickets are on sale now for $60 each, and the last day to get your ticket is February 26. purchase

    With contributions from generous individuals and organizations, income from past years’ events have provided as much as ¼ of the organization’s annual income and allowed us annually to deliver over 76,000 new developmentally appropriate children’s books to nearly 30,000 children between the ages of 0 and 5 years old, along with prescriptive early learning advice to parents at 71,000+ well child visits in our 52 partner clinics located throughout greater Kansas City. In addition to supporting a fantastic cause, this breakfast is a lot of fun! Check out this year’s lineup:

    Keynote Speaker Guest Reader Guest Reader Master of Ceremonies
    Dipesh Navsaria Bryan Busby Neville Miller John Holt
    Medical Director,
    Reach Out and Read Wisconsin
    KMBC-TV KMBC-TV FOX-4 TV

    Honorary Hosts: David Oliver, Cemal Gungor, Richard Hu, and John Minnis

    Complimentary parking is provided, and a map of the location can be found here. Registration and coffee begins at 7:00am. We look forward to seeing you there!

  • Hooked on Books Mouse Logo jpg

    Hooked on Books 2016 is Underway!

    Hooked on Books is back for 2016!

    Between January 11 and February 19, schools throughout the metropolitan area will collect new and gently used books for disadvantaged children ages newborn to 14. The books will then be redistributed to schools and other nonprofit organizations.

    All students at participating schools receive a bookmark and coupon for a free kids pizza at California Pizza Kitchen, and the winning classroom is entered into a drawing to win a pizza party from CPK, along with bragging rights, and a $500 gift certificate from Scholastic Books! Winners will be announced at our annual Green Eggs and Ham breakfast on March 4.

    There is still the chance to get involved! If you would like to volunteer as a school liaison, contact Jenny at Jhorsley@kumc.edu. For nonprofit organizations and schools serving at-risk children, apply to be a book recipient. For further information, visit our event page.

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    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.

     

     

     

     

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    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.

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    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.

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    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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    Holiday Party Book Drives

    party‘Tis the season for holiday parties! If you are hosting a party and would like to encourage the spirit of giving, consider having a holiday party book drive: Have your guests bring one or more kids’ books to donate to Reach Out and Read KC.

     

     

     

    Thank you to our fantastic supporters who have already donated!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Season of Giving

    Season of Giving Shopping Party Dec. 14

    stuffJoin us at STUFF in Brookside for a holiday shopping party benefiting Reach Out and Read Kansas City. Our wonderful friends Casey & Sloane are breaking out the m&m’s and vino and staying open late so you can pick up the perfect holiday gift. Even better, they’re donating 15% of the evening’s proceeds to RORKC! STUFF specializes in artist originals, handmade gifts, fine art, artisan jewelry, small batch home and body products, indie cards, stationery & rugs. Grab a friend and stop by after work for some holiday cheer. You’re certain to find something special for your friends, loved ones, and even yourself. ‘Tis the Season of Giving at our favorite store, STUFF!

    View the Facebook event here.

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    Volunteers Make it Happen

    volunteersIt was a busy and productive month for Reach Out and Read volunteers. In addition to our devoted crew of waiting room readers, we hosted teams from Farmer’s Insurance and Blue Valley North to our offices to sort and label thousands of books we received recently from Scholastic and First Book. The Farmer’s group was here as part of a service project and team building exercise during a 6 week training course. Students from Blue Valley North were part of a group organized by their teacher, Kaci Beichley, to help instill the lesson that it is important to give back to the community. Visit our website or contact Jenny to learn more about ways your group can have fun while helping make a difference at RORKC.

     

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    Books from Reading Is Fundamental and Macy’s

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City was able to give children 2,037 books from Reading Is Fundamental thanks to a longstanding partnership with Macy’s. Funds were raised through the hard work of store associates promoting the joy of reading in the greater Kansas City area, and the generosity of Macy’s customers who responded by giving back in support of children’s literacy in their community during the 2015 Be Book Smart campaign.

    “Thanks so much for this generous gift which will enable 2,037 children to receive new, developmentally appropriate books at their well-child visits. This donation is truly appreciated!” Janice Dobbs, Book Coordinator, Reach Out and Read Kansas City

    The Be Book Smart campaign encouraged Macy’s customers coast-to-coast to give $3 to help provide books for children in their local communities. Through the program, customers received $10 off in-store purchases of $30 or more, plus 20% or 15% off storewide. Macy’s donated 100 percent of every $3 to RIF.

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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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    Green Eggs & Ham – SAVE THE DATE

    You would not, could not want to miss, a Celebration such a this!

    So mark your calendars for our 10th annual Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, Friday, March 4, 2016, from 7:30 to 9:00am.

    Join honorary hosts David Field Oliver, Cemal Umut Gungor, Richard Hu, and John P. Minnis as we return to the Crown Center Exhibit Hall for the tenth anniversary of our funtabulous signature event. Contact Mark for information about how you or your business can become a sponsor of this event. It is great exposure to an audience of 400 guests, and throughout our community. Email Jenny if you’d like to help with planning or setting/cleaning up on the day of the event, and stay tuned for more exciting details.

    GEH Evite Photo

  • First Book Pick Up by Jenny 9-2015 (compressed)

    Free Books from First Books

    We are so grateful to First Book, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing equal access to literacy and educational opportunities for children in need, for supplying for free over 500,000 new children’s books to organizations in Kansas City this September. RORKC received 1780 new books for use in our well-child checkups and waiting rooms. Janice and Jenny, our tireless and talented book coordinator and volunteer manager, lined up with representatives of dozens of other local agencies to receive these fabulous free books for our kiddos. Thanks also to our wonderful friends at Turn the Page KC and LINC for organizing this event to benefit our community of young readers.

    First Book Pick Up by Jenny 9-2015 (compressed)

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    ‘Books On Tap’ Record Breaking Success

    You did it! Because of amazing volunteers and supporters like you, a new fundraising record was set for our ‘Books On Tap’ special event (formerly known as Books and Brews.) Through generous sponsorships, donated event space from the Kansas City Public Library, and amazing food, drinks, and raffle items contributed by dozens of local businesses – not to mention ticket sales to over 200 attendees – you came together and raised over $7,600 to support Reach Out and Read KC. That means over 1500 new books can be purchased and delivered through this truly volunteer led event. We thank Tingle Flooring, Henderson Engineers, and TranSystems for sponsoring the event, but most of all we give high-fives, handshakes, and hugs to committee co-chairs Liz Megli and Kayla Boal and to the entire outstanding committee!

    committee group photo

  • Turner House Tour 2015

    Turner House Clinic Opens Doors to Junior League Volunteers

    Turner House Tour 2015

    Support for Reach Out and Read from the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri dates all the way back to RORKC’s very beginning in 1997. Throughout the years and continuing today, the League provides both financial and volunteer support for our School Readiness, Kindergarten Book Bag, and Hooked On Books programs, as well as our Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast special event. THANK YOU!

    On Saturday, Saturday, 26, the staff of Turner House Children’s Clinic, a RORKC program site, opened their doors for 12 new Junior League members to illustrate how the League has supported children’s literacy in our community. Dr. Pankey lead the group for a tour of their impressive facility, and RORKC volunteers, Laura Gregory and Lisa Nickel (both Junior League members) joined Mark Mattison, RORKC executive director, to share the history of the League’s legacy of giving and ways the women can become involved as volunteers for Reach Out and Read.

  • Pathfinders Elem Book Drive 9-2015 (compressed)

    Pathfinder Elementary Kids Helping Kids

    Students and teachers at Pathfinder Elementary in Platte County celebrated International Literacy Day on September 8 by dressing as their favorite book characters and started the day with a building-wide D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) time. Coinciding with the event, Student Ambassadors organized a service project and collected 344 new and gently used books for Reach Out and Read Kansas City. Thank you, students, and an extra special thanks to Jamie Davis, Reading Specialist at Pathfinder Elementary, for suggesting RORKC to benefit from your school’s book drive. Your generosity has helped stock our clinic waiting rooms and made some other children very happy.  Pathfinders Elem Book Drive 9-2015 (compressed)

  • Read up

    Summer Reading 2015

    Read upIn addition to providing books at our partner clinics, RORKC handed out over 13,000 new books to kids throughout the metro this summer as part of the Childrens’ Reading Foundation’s READ UP! program, funded though a U.S. Department of Education Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant. Books and brochures reminding students and parents to read together during summer break were delivered at Health Partnership Clinic, Growing Futures Early Education Center, Freedom School, and to the 1,200 children who attended Mayor James’ summer reading celebration at the Sprint Center.

     

  • library & Museum 2015

    Library and Museum Partnership

    Reach Out and Read national recently announced the launch of the Prescription for Success Toolkit, to support collaborations between libraries, museums, and ROR program sites – natural partners that have a collective impact on the lives of young children.

    Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, this pilot project aims to help families benefit from museum and library services that foster literacy development in young children. As a national nonprofit organization comprised of doctors, who promote early childhood literacy, Reach Out and Read has deep and broad relationships within the medical community. Prescription for Success has leveraged these connections to explore new ways doctors and their staffs can collaborate with museums and libraries.

    Encouraging families to use libraries and museums extends the impact of the ROR program, giving them opportunities to share books and spend time enjoying library and museum activities. Likewise, library and museum staff reinforce our message that engaging with young children through reading and playing together helps foster healthy brain development.  Read more

    library & Museum 2015

  • 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