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.
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!
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.
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.
In 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.
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
Tickets are on sale now for Books On Tap, Reach Out and Read Kansas City’s party with a purpose for young professionals supporting children’s literacy and kindergarten readiness.
For just $25 in advance ($35 at the door), your ticket includes:
* an assortment of appetizers,
* three drink coupons,
* one raffle ticket,
* off-street parking, and
* live music by Them Pick-less Fools.
By attending Books On Tap, you are providing enough funds to purchase 5 books for a child served by our program.
Special thanks to our event sponsors, Tingle Flooring and Henderson Engineers, Inc. Follow our event page on Facebook for updates on vendors, entertainment, and sponsors.
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.
Mark your calendars for our 4th annual friend-raising and networking
event for young professionals,
Books on Tap, Wednesday, September 23, 2015,
from 5:00 to 8:00pm.
Formerly known as Books and Brews, this year’s event has a new name but will
take place in a familiar setting, the stunning rooftop event space of the
downtown branch of the Kansas City Public Library. Stay tuned for updates,
sponsorship opportunities, and ticket information coming soon.
Want to get involved? Drop us a line if you’d like to help with planning or
setting /cleaning up on the day of the event.
Summer is here, which brings lots of kids into our clinics – and they
all want to take home a book! We are in need of your gently used children’s
books, and there’s no better time to clean out the closets than during these
lazy days of summer. Are your kids looking for a project? Have them do a
neighborhood book drive for ROR-KC. This also makes a great activity for day
camps, vacation bible schools, and businesses looking for ways to help out the
community. Call Janice at 913-588-0295 for more information.
We are SUPER excited to be partnering with KCMO Mayor Sly James and Turn the Page KC to help present
“Every Hero Has A Story: A Summer Reading Celebration!” at the Sprint Center
July 15 from 11:45 AM -2:00 PM.
The event is FREE and open to the public, but a ticket for all attending is required. Visit the
mayor’s website for more information and to reserve your place.
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.
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.
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:
(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.“
What do these three organization have in common? The answer: PROVIDING NEW BOOKS FOR KIDS! Now through July 12th, Macy’s is hosting their annual “Be Book Smart” campaign. The program allows shoppers to spend $3 on a coupon worth $10 off their purchase of $30 or more and can be used immediately. Talk about a WIN-WIN! The $3 goes to Reading is Fundamental who then credits the full amount to Reach Out and Read for the purchase of new books for our early literacy program in KC. Last year alone we received and distributed more than 3000 books through this program, made successful by wonderful supporters like you.
So get out there and shop at your local Macy’s! There are 6 locations in the Kansas City metro area: Leawood Town Center, Oak Park Mall, Prairie Village, Summit Fair in Lee’s Summit, Metro North, and Independence Center.
We are looking for an AmeriCorps VISTA Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. VISTA members are full-time volunteers who give a year of service for poverty alleviation. In return, they receive a living allowance and healthcare benefits. Read more or apply.
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.
We would like to put a volunteer spotlight on one of our youngest volunteers, Anuva Kolli (pictured above). She may be little, but she is doing big things to help in her community. This 9-year-old 3rd grader at Horizon Elementary in Desoto, KS, has been honored with the bronze level Presidential Community Service Award for the past two years, completing a total of over 70 hours of volunteer work. Not too shabby for someone who won’t even be able to drive for seven more years.
Anuva and her family have volunteered for Reach Out and Read Kansas City for many years, and this award reflects her service for us and several other agencies. She makes toys for animals at Wayside Waifs, participates in Girl’s on the Run, organized a book drive and continuously labels books to send to Reach Out and Read partner clinics.
Anuva says, “ I want everyone to enjoy reading as much as I do. Every day I read about 5 hours”. Anuva enjoys mysteries and funny stories. Right now she is starting the Nancy Drew series.
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.
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.
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!
“Any child in this world cannot succeed without reading and I think parents have to understand that they’re the ones that are capable and have the ability to open the doors for their children.”
Meet the inspiring Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, one of two special guest readers for the 9th Annual Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast, in this video interview as she shares her beliefs on early literacy and the vital importance of reading. Buy tickets now!
Last December we sent up the bat signal asking for your help in our end-of-the-year appeal. Like the super heroes you are, you answered our call and we were overwhelmed by your response. We are so thankful for your dedication and continued support which allows us to ensure Kansas City children are prepared to enter school ready to succeed.Over the last several weeks, you have contributed nearly $5500!
This means 1100 new books and early literacy advice will be reaching the hands of local children. Wow!
We would like to give special recognition to two outstanding contributors for their donation of $1000 each, which single-handedly will provide 400 children with new books and early literacy advice! Thank you Kris & Frank Cappo and Baby & Child Associates for your generosity. We are so grateful to everyone that has contributed, allowing us to impact the lives of community children.
Super Hero Contributors:
Bethene Gregg Joy Winter Sally Clark
Brenda Pfannenstiel Larry A. Rues Stephanie & Richard Grinage
Brian & Sarah Bracco Lavonne Ridder Sue Von Geyso
Bryce Dickmeyer Lisa Riojas Susan Conner
Carolyn & Ken Sabatini Lynn Hardy Suzanne & Paul Koontz
Cynthia & Michael Fry Marny & John Sherman Sylvan & Merna Siegler
Don & Luella Farmer Mary Brink Sylvia Coles
Esther Sunderland Maureen & Bill Berkley Tasanaporn Pitiyanuvath
Jean Hiersteiner Nancy Spangler W. Mitchell & Dorothy Elliott
Jill & Brannan Riffel Pam & Greg Shaw
Jo E Denton Roger Lambson & Victoria Thomas
The 9th Annual Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast benefiting Reach Out and Read Kansas City is quickly approaching, Friday, March 6th, 7:30-9:00am at the Sheraton Crown Center Exhibit Hall. In addition to being a lot of fun, this is a hugely important event for us. Last year, your support provided a fourth of our annual budget and helped us provide 76,495 new books and prescriptive early literacy advice to 29,836 at-risk children and families.
Tickets are on sale now and going fast – get yours today! Individual tickets starting at $60, must be purchased by Friday, February 27th. Register to sponsor a table or make a tax-deductible donation here.
We are thrilled to announce this year’s speakers, entertainment, and guests:
Keynote Speaker Guest Reader Guest Reader Master of Ceremonies David Warm Bryan Busby Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner John Holt Executive Director,
Mid-America Regional Council
KMBC-TV Deputy Executive Director,
Kansas City Public Library
Complimentary parking is provided. Registration and coffee service will begin at 7:00. As you arrive enjoy musical entertainment from students of St. Teresa’s Academy and Rockhurst High School. Rumor has it Cat and Fish from The Coterie’s upcoming production of “Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat” will also be making a special appearance.
Come join the party, and do a good deed. Books at home help kids to succeed!
For more information please contact Executive Director Mark Mattison at 913-588-3073 or email@example.com.
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!
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,
Imagine growing up and not having a book to call your own. That’s the reality for many children in the Kansas City area. Our local schools, however, are helping change that by joining our 2015 Hooked on Books School Challenge.
Between January 12th and February 27th, schools throughout the metropolitan area will collect new and gently used books for disadvantaged children ages newborn to 14. “Many children, as well as adults, take owning a book for granted,” says Nancy Fuller, Reach Out and Read Kansas City’s Hooked on Books Chair. “The drive is a fun, simple way for children to help children and to raise greater awareness about literacy in our community.”
It’s easy to get involved. Complete an online application to be a school participant in the challenge. Donate your time and register to be a Hooked on Books volunteer. For nonprofit organizations and schools serving at-risk children, apply to be a book recipient. For further information, visit our event page or contact Nancy Fuller, Hooked on Books Chair, at 913-940-8219.
The school that collects the most books per student within the designated time period will be recognized at our 9th Annual Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast on March 6th. In addition, the winning school will be awarded a $500 Scholastic Books gift certificate and an assembly celebrating their accomplishment. The biggest winners of all, however, are the disadvantaged children. Without your school’s participation, they may not realize the joy of having a book to call their own.
“I think both Hooked on Books and Reach Out and Read Kansas City are key players in improving literacy and access to books for some of the neediest children in Kansas City,” says Fuller. In fact, over the past 15 years, nearly 795,000 books have been collected through the school challenge and distributed to agencies and schools serving lower-income families.
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!
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!
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.
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.
“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.
“Fewer than half of children younger than 5 years old are read to daily in our country. For 25 years, programs such as Reach Out and Read have been promoting literacy in exam rooms nationwide, and now, even more pediatricians are taking a stand…”
The former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, released a new literacy toolkit titled Books Build Connections at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition in San Diego on October 12th. Clinton and the AAP have partnered to create this early literacy toolkit written by pediatricians for pediatricians to help them discuss with parents and caregivers the importance of early literacy in brain development.
In a press release issued by the AAP, it is noted that “in June 2014, [we] announced a collaborative partnership with Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation. The organizations have committed to promote early literacy and ensure that doctors, parents and caregivers have the information, tools and books they need to promote talking, reading out loud and singing to children every day starting in infancy.”
The president of the AAP, James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, said, “Fewer than half of children younger than 5 years old are read to daily in our country. For 25 years, programs such as Reach Out and Read have been promoting literacy in exam rooms nationwide, and now, even more pediatricians are taking a stand to spread the news more widely through our recent policy, toolkit and partnership with Too Small to Fail. Talking, reading and singing with young children is a joyful way to build strong and healthy parent-child relationships, foster early language skills and promote children’s development.”
Furthermore, as part of the partnership with Too Small to Fail and AAP, Scholastic, Inc. agreed to donate 500,000 new, age-appropriate children’s books for distribution through Reach Out and Read National, working with 20,000 medical providers nationwide to promote early reading and giving books to 4 million children and their families annually at pediatric visits.
The Books Build Connections toolkit, available online at www.aap.org/literacy, incorporates recommendations to emphasize early literacy, from an infant’s very first days, as an essential aspect of pediatric care. According to the AAP, “the toolkit provides updated, practical resources for pediatric professionals, as well as guidance for families on the importance of talking, reading, and singing with their children to promote early learning. The toolkit includes 12 tip sheets, parent handouts and other publications in easy-to-use, mobile-friendly formats to help pediatricians promote early literacy.”
-16 concrete ways pediatric health professionals can promote early literacy in their practice and community;
-Background for pediatric professionals on the science of early literacy;
-Parent-friendly tips on sharing books with children at specific ages and stages of development, from birth through age 10;
-Advice for parents on “the secret to a smarter baby”;
-Recommendations on choosing books for children based on age and topic, including specific titles;
-Tips from doctors on reading with very young children, including the 5 Rs of early education.
“Pediatricians want all parents and caregivers to know that by making special one-on-one time every day to read, talk and play with their young children, they are promoting their child’s early learning. This kind of treasured experience actually creates new connections in their child’s brain that promote language development and secure the bond between parent and child,” said Pamela High, MD, FAAP, lead author of the AAP’s early literacy policy statement. “By creating the Books Build Connections toolkit, the AAP and Too Small to Fail, in collaboration with Reach Out and Read, are getting the word out to families that early experiences really matter.”
For just $60 you can contribute to a child’s lifetime of success.
Join Reach Out and Read Kansas City in our mission today and help us provide books to thousands of children who need them tomorrow. Donate here.
Every night before she goes to sleep, five-year-old Olivia runs to her book shelf and pulls out her favorite book, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. It takes her less than two minutes to get situated comfortably in her mom’s lap before she hands the book over and says she is ready to read. As her mom begins the story, Olivia soon chimes in line by line, word by word. You see, the book Olivia is so excited to read is a very special book she received at her three-year-old well child checkup from her pediatrician. She has read the story at least two hundred times, but that doesn’t matter. Every night before bed, she gets to escape into the story and become one of the characters, she gets to leave the real world and become part of the book’s fantasy world. Olivia may only be five, but thanks to Reach Out and Read Kansas City, she has already developed a love of reading and is ready to enter kindergarten and succeed.
This is just one success story from Reach Out and Read Kansas City. There are 29,000 more stories of kids just like Olivia who are learning to love books and reading. It is our hope you will help us ensure these children continue to have books to call their own. We want to make sure children enter kindergarten ready to learn, and with your help we can do that. No matter the size of your gift– $5 to sponsor a new book or $60 to sponsor a child throughout the five year program or $250 to sponsor a small clinic–you are making a difference in the lives of Kansas City kids.
The following post is a guest blog from Libby Hastert, an online content writer, and a volunteer, close friend, and supporter of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. To view her original post on her own blog, please click here.
“I grew up with books. Literally sitting on them in the classroom and sleeping on them during naptime. Before I could even read, I had an innate understanding of what books represented.
Teachers had them. Librarians had them. My parents and older sisters had them.
Other things these individuals had? Intelligence and independence. So, naturally, I deduced that reading books equated to power. And I wasn’t too off base. Reading books ushers in an exciting world of possibilities that stems from newfound knowledge — knowledge acquired from reading books.
The funny thing about my obsession with books is how much I struggled with reading at an early age. It wasn’t my missing two front teeth, knocked out on the Jungle Gym, that kept me fumbling over sentences, though. For whatever reason, I was a late bloomer when it came to reading. Fortunately for me, I had parents, teachers, tutors, and older sisters to show me the way, introducing me to the mischievous adventures of “Junie B. Jones” and so many other action-packed titles.
Sadly, we live in a world where many children — our very own Kansas City youth included — don’t have the access to the overabundance of resources I had. In fact, many do not even have books to call their own.
Why Children’s Literacy Matters
According to the National Education Association (NEA), children from families below the poverty line are less likely to experience daily, in-home reading. In another study, the NEA discovered that in-home reading plays an instrumental role in healthy child development and enhanced reading proficiency.
What makes the absence of reading so problematic?
What’s most concerning about this phenomenon, is that the early years of child development have a large impact on the learners children become.
“Children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first three years of life, when their brains grow to 90 percent of their eventual adult weight,” reported the U.S. Department of Education.
As a result, the absence of reading becomes a problem for many kids well before the school years begin. With many children not having access to the basic necessities they need to flourish, promoting literacy through local programs like Reach Out & Read – Kansas City (RORKC) is more important than ever.
Party With a Purpose
As somebody who was fortunate enough to have a collection of books so large it poured off the bookshelves, onto the floor and into my bed, I can appreciate the wonderful efforts RORKC makes annually. And as a proud volunteer, I’ll take a moment to brag.
RORKC annually provides over 72,000 new books for more than 28,000 low-income children who are 0-5 years old. Book donations are issued during well-child visits at our local, partner clinic sites. Children in the program ultimately acquire a 13-book library before entering the education system.
Books & Brews
Fundraising isn’t all bubbly and door prizes. However, twice a year we host events, designed to raise money and awareness about children’s literacy in the Kansas City area. This week, Kansas Citians have the opportunity to party for a purpose at our 3rd annual Books & Brews fundraiser.
Below is the scoop on the upcoming, not-to-be-missed event.
You’ll find lots of book-loving folks who want to drink beer while promoting literacy.
Friday, September 26, 2014, at 5 pm sharp.
The Kansas City Public Library Central Branch. Snacks, libations, and a raffle will be held inside, and a beer garden party, underneath the lights of the Kansas City skyline, will be located on the rooftop.
Party with a purpose. Our third annual Books & Brews event comes complete with an evening of libations, tasty bites, and a fun raffle and door prizes.
Drinking beer is fun, but you can do that any other night of the week. Drinking beer and raising money for children’s literacy is awesome, and it’s something you can only enjoy one night a year.
To attend this evening of entertainment, click the link and make your donation in the form of a ticket purchase”
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.
Earlier this year, I experienced the direct impact Reach Out and Read Kansas City made on a young girl who went through the program. Back in September, I was working with the Blue Valley High School CAPS film class to put together different impact videos that showcased Reach Out and Read Kansas City’s message. I developed the concept of having real kids in the videos to really show the audience who it is our program helps. I began a search to find young children who took part in the Reach Out and Read Program and benefited from receiving a book at each well-child visit. This is how I met Joslyn. The minute I met her I could tell she was a very bright little girl.
I was given Joslyn’s name through one of our hospital coordinators and from there I contacted her mom to see if she had any interest in being in our videos. Her mom immediately agreed, saying Joslyn loved being the center of attention. When I met her, she was actually quite shy at first. But as soon as I asked her about the chapter book, Polyanna, which she had clutched to her chest, a wide smile appeared on her face and she began to go into detail about the story.
Joslyn just turned six years old and she was already reading chapter books that kids twice her age read. It was amazing to see her come out of her shell as she explained the different adventures Polyanna went on. Reach Out and Read Kansas City helped kick start Joslyn’s learning by giving her a book during each stage of her development, and by six years old she could read all on her own and loved doing so!
Months later, I received an email from Joslyn’s mom saying that Joslyn has great problem solving skills, a good grasp of cause and effect, and is in the highest reading group in her kindergarten class. She believed that reading to Joslyn since she was a baby helped her learn how to read. At the end of her email she added, “thank you Reach Out and Read for allowing Joslyn to have this experience.” That right there is why we do what we do. All kids deserve the opportunity to grow up with a bright future, Reach Out and Read Kansas City jump starts that process by making sure each child who takes part in our program enters kindergarten willing and ready to learn.
April is Volunteer Appreciation month and I must say that after observing our volunteers in action, they really are the back bone of Reach Out and Read. It is always amazing to see how invested they become in our program no matter what they do, whether that’s reading at the clinics, helping in the office, or serving on one of our event committees. Some of our volunteers have been with us for 10 plus years and they continue to come back to dedicate some of their time to Reach Out and Read Kansas City each and every week.
We are truly grateful to every single one of our volunteers. You all help us make a difference in the community, enhance children’s lives, and share with them one of the most precious gifts of all, the gift of reading. Check out some awesome volunteer stories below.
One time a little girl that came into the clinic was very shy. She wouldn’t talk but finally got up the courage to come over to the little table where I was sitting with a book. I started reading Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley. The book has lots of actions. I was doing the actions at first and then she started doing them with me. Before she was called back for her appointment, we were dancing and twirling around the waiting room together, acting out the book we were reading. We both had a lot of fun!
One little boy was never called in to see the doctor, while other kids who were listening with us were. I thought that was odd, until I finished the book and the mother asked if we were done and then they left. They were just there to make an appointment and she stayed through the long book to let her son read with me.
I volunteered one afternoon when a family with six children came into the clinic for their well-child visits. The kids were all into having books read to them that even though I was only scheduled to read for one hour, I stayed for two until they were all done with their appointments. I just really enjoy seeing the smile on all of the children’s faces when I read to them.
If this made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, check out how YOU can become a volunteer with Reach Out and Read Kansas City today by clicking here. There’s no time like the present to give back to our wonderful community and change lives for the better.
After months of preparation, Green Eggs and Ham finally took place this past Friday. As a staff-member for Reach Out and Read KC, I was able to experience the event from the very start to the very finish, and what a transformation it was! We turned the Westin Ballroom into a whimsical, rhythmical, magical place, bringing the magic of Dr. Seuss to life. It was my first time at Green Eggs and Ham so even though we arrived at the Westin bright and early at 5am to help set up, I was too excited to even think about being tired. For months I heard stories about the breakfast from years past, and I knew that after all the planning and work we put into this year’s breakfast, it was supposed to be bigger and better than years past.
As guests enjoyed a lovely, gourmet version of green eggs and ham, they were entertained by Bryan Busby and Reverend Adam Hamilton who hysterically read the actual book to the audience. I definitely was not expecting those voices out of Bryan Busby! He read the story in an array of hilarious voices from Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Chewbacca and Sponge Bob Square Pants. I stood in the back of the room to watch the action take place, and couldn’t contain my laughter, they did a wonderful job making the entire room smile. After the audience was moved to laughter, Superintendent Jim Hinson gave a captivating and eye opening speech about why the kids of Kansas City need our help. After his emotional speech, our Executive Director Megan took the stage and gave a wonderful speech about the importance of children’s literacy. I hope all the guests in attendance were as moved as I was listening to these speeches, they both really hit home and spoke about how every child deserves to reach their full potential.
Once the speeches were over, it was time to wrap up the breakfast. I don’t think an hour and a half has ever gone by so fast before. When the last of the guests made their way out of the ballroom, it was time to pack up everything and head back to the office to see the rough estimate of how much money was raised. As it turns out, the 8th Annual Green Eggs and Ham breakfast really was bigger and better than any other year! We raised over $87,000 dollars, which is a huge accomplishment for Reach Out and Read KC. I am extremely happy that not only did I get to experience the best Green Eggs and Ham yet, but that I was able to contribute to the preparation and planning. The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast will be an experience I will never forget and I am beyond excited that all the money raised will go toward supporting kids in need!
As the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for Reach Out and Read, I have received the opportunity to do many great things with this organization. One experience that really stands out in my mind was when I was able to work with a local photography student to take pictures of our volunteer readers at different clinics throughout the area. As we made our rounds to each clinic, I explained to the parents why we were there and they graciously allowed us to take photos of their children. While the photographer snapped away, I received my first real opportunity to observe the volunteer reader program in action.
By the time we got to our last clinic, Swope Health Central, the photographer as well as myself were getting a little tired. We experienced all sorts of kids, from older kids who were eager to read out loud, to younger kids who were shy and needed coaxing. We encountered a mix of excitement and nervousness as each volunteer reader took command of the room to read a story to the different children waiting to see the doctor. But we had one more clinic to go, so we put a smile on our faces and walked into the waiting room ready for anything.
What we experienced exceeding all of my expectations, it came in the form of one of the cutest little boys I have ever seen. He probably was around two years old with big, brown eyes and a wide, sweet smile. When we walked in, he was sitting on the volunteer reader’s lap carefully listening to every word she said during her very animated version of the book Bang, Boom, Roar. Halfway through the story, the little boy’s grandma interjected that they needed to run outside to their car to grab something. When she told the little boy to come with her you could just see his face crumble as he began to cry. He reached his tiny hands up to the volunteer reader and held on tight as tears rolled down his face. The grandma looked surprised that he didn’t want to leave the readers side, so she asked if it was okay if she ran out to the car alone. Rocking the little boy, the volunteer reader said that was no problem and once again began reading the story, picking up right where she left off.
Watching all these actions unfold before my very eyes somewhat astounded me. I knew that our volunteer reader program was a great way to get kids to listen to a story, but this was something completely different. The fact that our volunteer made such an impact on this little boy, enough of an impact to where he was visibly upset when he was told he had to leave, proves that something as small as sitting in a clinic waiting room and reading to a child for an hour out of a week, really can make a difference in their life. Because of our volunteer readers, kids are shown the importance of reading and how much fun it can be. This little boy absolutely loved being read to and you could tell by watching him interact with the reader. Each page she read, his smile spread wider and his laugh rang louder. In that moment he was exactly what he was supposed to be, a young boy enjoying a great story.
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” -Dr. Seuss-
Walking into Turner House Children’s Clinic I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Was it going to be a mad house with kids running around the waiting room? Or was it going to be completely empty, not a young soul to be seen? As I made my way inside I let out a sigh of relief. Sitting in chairs throughout the giant waiting room were four families, and sitting at a small table in the middle of the room were two boys, talking and playing with different toys.
I hurried to collect a bunch of books and the red Reach Out and Read apron, marched up to the table, set the books down, and excitedly exclaimed, “who wants to read a book?” At first the boys looked at me like I was crazy, but as soon as I spread the books out on the table they began to eagerly sift through them. The older boy looked around eight or nine, so I picked up a small chapter book and told him how cool it looked and that he should read it to me. A big smile formed on his face as he scooped up the book, opened the first page and began to read. The younger boy who looked to be about seven made his way over to us, and after a few minutes of listening to the older boy read each page, he announced that he also wanted to read. So there both boys sat, switching off line by line, if the younger one needed help the older boy would quickly assist him by sounding out the word. I must admit, it was an awesome sight to see. Not only were both boys reading but they were excited about what they were reading and willing to help each other out if they needed it. After a few minutes, their names got called to see the doctor, but before they left I made sure to tell them that they were awesome readers, high fiving them on their way out of the room.
As soon as they left, a little girl who looked to be around five slowly made her way over to me. “Do you want to read a book,” I asked. It took her a minute to come sit down but after encouragement from her mom, she came and sat right next to me. I looked at all the books and asked her if she wanted to read one about Christmas. As soon as I said the word Christmas, a smile spread across her face and she nodded her head. I opened the book and began to read. It wasn’t long before the little girl started asking me all sorts of questions and pointing out the different illustrations. I learned so much about this little girl from her favorite color, red, to her favorite animal, dog. It’s like the minute we started reading the book her shyness evaporated into thin air. It’s crazy that one element on a single page of a book can do that to a child. Once we finished the book, I noticed the little girl’s mom observing us from her chair. I told her how sweet her daughter was and her response was ‘thank you for reading with her.” To many people a simple thank you might not seem like much, but to me it meant that the mom noticed her daughter come to life through something as simple as reading a book. Hopefully after watching our short time together, she too will read with her.
After I said goodbye to the little girl I noticed there weren’t very many people left in the waiting room. As I looked around, I spotted another adorable little girl who couldn’t be more than three years old. What’s better was she already had a book in her hand. So I called over to her and asked if she wanted to read her book. She quickly got out of her chair and ran over to me. As I looked at the book I noticed that it was a Spanish and English book. I don’t know Spanish so I decided to read just the English parts. After reading one of the pages about colors, I asked her what her favorite color was. She said something back to me, and I realized she said it in Spanish. So I asked her a different question, and again she replied in Spanish. I continued to read the book, not knowing if she understood or not, but boy was she alert. She looked at each page, pointed to different things and said something that I could not understand. So in return, I smiled, nodded, and pointed to a different picture in the book that she would say something in Spanish about. We went on like this through the entire book. It didn’t even matter that there was a language barrier. This little girl was so into the book, smiling and laughing after she said something and nodding and smiling up at me, peering at me with her big brown eyes as I said something. This just proves that a book can do more than help children grow; it can allow two people from different backgrounds to come together and bond over one thing.
By the time the little girl left, I realized it was already the end of the hour. My first time volunteering exceeded my expectations. I may not have learned any of the kids’ names, or spent more than twenty minutes with them, but I did get to see them smile and enjoy the books we read together. That is totally worth it to me.