It’s been a fantastic year for Reach Out and Read Kansas City, and it’s all thanks to you: our volunteers, donors, clinics and families. Thank you!
We are thrilled to report that ROR-KC was able to provide 82,000 new, developmentally-appropriate books to 29,326 children at well child visits during fiscal year 2017-2018. Children from birth through age five at 50 partner medical clinics in the Kansas City area receive our books, and families get a prescription to read from their provider. Thanks to our program, there were 76,247 opportunities for medical providers to educate parents about the importance of sharing books with their children last year. This, along with books to take home, is what can make the difference in children entering school prepared. Data from National Reach Out and Read show that children who go through the ROR program enter school three-to-six months developmentally ahead of those who do not.
At ROR-KC, it is truly a team effort. Medical providers and clinic site coordinators along with ROR-KC’s small staff work with a huge group of volunteers to promote early childhood literacy in our community. During fiscal year 2017-2018, volunteers spent 7,199 hours working as readers in clinics, helping in our office, organizing and planning fundraisers and events and more. Volunteer readers (those who read to pediatric patients in clinic waiting rooms) accounted for 2,010 of those hours. We had 84 volunteer readers last year – and that number is always growing. Click here to learn more about volunteering with ROR-KC.
Waiting rooms are important places to encourage literacy as well. We collected 39,968 gently used and new books last year, and 22,318 of those went to our clinic waiting rooms. Children can read them in the office and choose one to take home at each visit. Our annual Hooked on Books drive, which included 13 schools in 2018, collected 17,650 of those books. Donations and drives held by individuals and businesses made up the rest.
Our events were very successful this year, thanks to dedicated committees of volunteers, who worked tirelessly to secure donations and plan fantastic, fun gatherings. Our “For the Love of Books” Breakfast (our 21st annual breakfast) raised $89,800, Our 7th annual networking happy hour, “Books On Tap,” raised $7,249 and our 2nd annual “Race to Read 5K” raised $4,822.
Here’s to a literacy-rich, successful 2019 for all of us!
Click here to give the gift of literacy now.
New local survey results show that Reach Out and Read Kansas City is reaching families and children and influencing reading habits. Of the more than 1,100 parents who filled out our annual parent questionnaire, 87% reported reading to their children at least once a week, and two-thirds (67 %) said they read with their children three or more times each week! This is slightly higher than last year’s results, when 66 % reported that they read with their children three or more times a week.
ROR-KC surveys parents through our 50 medical clinic partners each fall. For 2018, 99% of families reported getting a book at their well child visit, and 95% reported getting literacy advice during that visit as well. These are the touchstones of our program, which encourages early reading, talking and playing with children to foster healthy development and help close the achievement gap as children enter kindergarten.
The brief survey (see below) includes five questions that are aimed at helping us to ensure that the program is being delivered as it is designed to be, and to assist us – and our medical partners – in improving it. It is in both English and Spanish.
National Reach Out and Read data show that children who have gone through the ROR model are three to six months ahead developmentally of those children who have not had the advantage of the program.
You gave generously to our #GivingTuesday campaign, raising a total of $4,767 in the month of November to support early childhood literacy, including $2,790 on #GivingTuesday alone.
No other ROR-KC #GivingTuesday effort has even come close to that. You are amazing!
We are humbled and grateful, and thrilled about the books your donations will allow us to purchase for children and families to receive during well child visits at our 50 partner clinics. We are proud to continue delivering the only medically-based literacy program in the area.
We also have 31 Founding Members of the brand new ROR-KC Librarian’s Club, a dedicated group of literacy supporters who donate $100 or more annually. Members receive perks throughout the year, such as invitations to exclusive events, extra raffle tickets and an entry into a quarterly prize drawing.
You can join as a 2019 member by clicking here.
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving after the Thanksgiving holiday and the frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Learn more about the worldwide effort here.
Each month, we post a book recommendation from our Book Coordinator, Janice Dobbs. She’s spent 17 years curating the collection of developmentally-appropriate books that Reach Out and Read Kansas City provides to 50 medical clinics to hand out at well child visits. She knows books!
November Bookshelf Recommendation
10 for dinner
Written by Jo Ellen Bogart
Illustrated by Carlos Friere
Published by Scholastic
Age Range: 3-5-years old
“This fun, creative book comes in hardback and paperback versions, and is great for practicing early math skills. More than that though, it is an engaging story that children will enjoy time and time again, as they hear about Margo’s birthday party. Along the way they will become endeared to Margo’s friend who is “creative” (i.e. different), and the surprise ending will remind everyone that ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover.’ There are lots of good learning opportunities in this story that will hold the attention of preschoolers and young elementary-aged children alike.”
– Janice Dobbs
Janice Dobbs has been the Book Coordinator for Reach Out and Read Kansas City for over 17 years. She’s responsible for purchasing, organizing, and managing the delivery of over 82,000 books to our 50 partner clinics.
Reach Out and Read is launching a new club of supporters who donate $100 or more annually to support ROR-KC and early childhood literacy in our community, and we’re offering a special incentive to those of you who join right away.
When you join the club by November 27th (#GivingTuesday), you’ll be entered into a raffle for the following items:
• Samsung Galaxy Tablet
• Card Making Party for 4-6 people at Paper Source
• Necklace and Earrings from Final Touch Jewelry
By joining our Librarian’s Club you become part of a unique support system that honors our mission. You will be helping to provide a foundation for success for Kansas City’s children through providing quality books at pediatric visits and encouraging families to read aloud together.
If you join the Librarian’s Club anytime in November 2018 (it’s automatic with any donation of $100 or more), you’ll become a Founding Member of the club. This is a one-time opportunity to belong to this small group of dedicated supporters. Starting December 1st, you can still join the club, but you’ll no longer become a Founding Member.
All Librarian’s Club members will receive:
1.Special recognition on our website
2. A membership card
3. Occasional extras, like:
-bonus raffle tickets at events
-invitations to exclusive events
-an entry into our special Librarian’s Club-only quarterly prize drawings
4. Most importantly, the knowledge that you’re doing more to support early childhood literacy in the Kansas City area.
You choose the level of support that is meaningful to you:
Bookworms – $300
Wordsmiths – $200
Novelists – $100
We have other #GivingTuesday opportunities, too. Check them out here!
Donations may be made at one time or in $10 or more monthly payments
We will be recognizing and thanking our Librarian’s Club members on our website. If you’d prefer not to be publicly thanked, please let Marianne Sharp know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reach Out and Read Kansas City Advisory Board Chair Cathy McCaddon with
her grandson, Joe.
At 2 p.m. most Wednesdays, you’ll find Reach Out and Read Board Chair Cathy McCaddon at Vibrant Health in Kansas City, Kansas, straightening up books and asking children whether she can read a story to them. “I love it,” she says. “I sit in the waiting room with a big cart of books that Reach Out and Read has provided…and I’ll say ‘you want to come over? We’re reading a book.’ And often their older brother or sister will come as well.” Most of Vibrant’s patients speak Spanish, and Cathy even took a few Spanish classes so that she could communicate with them more effectively. “It really helped, even just to know a few of the words,” she says.
In a way, Cathy’s volunteer work with ROR-KC is the fulfillment of a lifelong goal. She majored in elementary education at Southern Methodist University, but never became a teacher. Instead, she turned her talents to the world of banking and real estate finance, and had a long and successful career. A Prairie Village native, Cathy retired from KeyBank a few years ago, and learned about ROR-KC through her involvement in the local Pi Beta Phi alumnae club. “It’s a perfect fit! I love being around the children. That’s the teaching side of me that I always missed.”
Cathy joined the Advisory Board nearly three years ago and became Chair in July. She’s already on a mission to build stronger relationships with large companies that have a significant local presence. “I know from being in the corporate sector that that’s really how you tend to get funding…a corporate foundation is much more likely to be willing to put some money forth if they have an employee who advocates for the nonprofit, and that’s where I think we need to look for more financial support.”
She’s also actively engaged in bringing in new board members with a wide range of talents. Last month, she and Executive Director Jenny Horsley interviewed six potential new board members. “I’m trying to get…people with a more diverse skill set: people from larger corporations, people from smaller corporations, people with fundraising expertise, people who have a background in literacy, early childhood development – all of those things will help strengthen the board.”
Cathy is also a mom (two grown-up daughters) and a grandmother (two grandsons, one three months old, the other one year old). She and her husband, Joe, travel as often as they can to see their children and grandchildren in Chicago, and Cathy says she is realizing just how important the ROR-KC message of reading aloud daily to your children is. “I’m seeing it first-hand with my own grandchildren, and it makes so much sense to me.” She says it’s reinforcement like this that brings home why she remains active with ROR-KC. “It is truly the mission of that early childhood development; that first 1000 days, that I feel no other literacy group targets as well as Reach Out and Read.”
Reach Out and Read is lucky to have Cathy as its Board Chair. Thanks for spending your time and energy promoting early childhood literacy in our community, Cathy!
Want to hear more from Cathy? You’re in luck! Here’s a transcript of our interview:
How did you get involved with Reach Out and Read Kansas City?
“When I looked at retirement coming up, I knew volunteering would be more in my future than it had been in my past and I thought, “this is a perfect fit for me and what I’m interested in and I really believe in the mission of this organization. I actually got connected with it through the Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club. At that point, Reach Out and Read was looking for new board members and said to the Pi Phi group, ‘you’ve had a contribution to this organization, do you have anyone who’d be interested in serving,’ and I just shot my hand up and said definitely.”
What are some of your goals as Chair of Reach Out and Read?
“I feel that we need to establish more of a presence with corporations that have a large local presence. I feel even KeyBank where I worked…we have probably 400 people here. We’re not a local bank but we have a presence and I feel that there are a lot of corporations like that. I know from being in the corporate sector that a corporate foundation is much more likely to be willing to put some money forth if they have an employee who advocates for the nonprofit, and that’s where I think we need to look for more financial support.”
You’re interviewing a lot of potential new board members now. How’s that going?
“Yes, 6 recently. I still struggle with the diversity part of it. That’s just hard, because, you know, it’s how this always works is, it’s word-of-mouth and I know somebody who knows somebody, and so you tend to be kind of staying in the same circles. Certainly, we are trying to get people with a diverse skill set. People from larger corporations, people from smaller corporations, people with fundraising expertise, people that have a background in literacy, early childhood development -all of those things will help strengthen the board.”
What is it about Reach Out and Read that drew you in – and makes you want to stay involved?
“It is truly the mission of that early childhood development; that first 1000 days, that I feel no other literacy group really targets as well as Reach Out and Read. I mean, at a first well child visit you get a book, and now, for me personally, I’m seeing it first-hand with my own grandchildren and it makes so much sense to me as somebody who was involved with teaching and thought that was important.”
You also volunteer as a reader at one of our clinics (Vibrant Health in KCK). What has that experience been like for you?
“I love it. I think it really made me understand what the program’s all about – once you see the children. I just sit in a waiting room with a big cart of books that Reach Out and Read has provided for that clinic, and I straighten up those books every time I go; they’re all messed up so I know kids have been going through them. I’ll say (to a child) you want to come over? We’re reading a book, and often times their older brother or sister will come as well, and I really like seeing that family dynamic of the older siblings- they help the young. At Vibrant Health, oftentimes the parents don’t speak English but the older siblings do, so that’s really your “in” with the parents or the younger siblings – you’ll say, do you want to help us read this book? And they’ll say OK, or they’ll explain that their younger sibling or parent doesn’t speak much English. The family ties are so strong, and it is really great to see, and almost every parent is very happy that I’m reading to their child and they might act uninterested at first – but then slowly they’re listening and watching and I see them smile. I think the point of having readers (at the clinic) is to mirror a behavior that you want those parents to follow in reading to their children.”
Is it fulfilling?
“Yes. I love being around the children. That’s the teaching side of me that I always missed. That’s great, but it also really helps me to understand a little more about the clinic environment about what those workers are going through there. It’s hard and it’s not just the language barrier. I also see people come in there who are not Spanish-speaking and I’m like, oh, I’m in trouble here. After I started volunteering, I signed up last year for a Spanish class, and took a few classes. It really helped, even just to know a few of the words, and all of this is beneficial to me, as well. You know, you hear about using the other side of your brain, keeping your brain active, and I think it’s a great outlet for retired people, so I think that would be another group that we should target in our volunteer program.”
What’s your favorite children’s book?
“Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. That is the book my daughters liked the best and I loved watching them really go to sleep at the end of it.”
Do you have a favorite reading-based memory?
“I remember in grade school walking to the library in the summer and checking out books and I just always loved having the book and turning the pages. I’m not an extremely avid reader, but I am becoming more so in retirement but I still love the book, not the kindle. Just turning the page and holding the book, and thinking, there’s just so much excitement – there’s something interesting in that book that’s going to make your imagination go – a book is exciting.”
There’s the frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday…and then there’s feel-good #GivingTuesday, a day to give back to your community.
As people around the nation – and the world – take part in this effort, we hope you’ll join in by donating to Reach Out and Read Kansas City.
Our theme this year is “Who are you thankful for?”
We are thankful for you: our volunteers, donors, medical clinic staff and providers, board and event committee members, and families who participate in the program each year.
We’re planning some special incentives for donating in November and on #GivingTuesday:
Show your Gratitude: If you donate to ROR-KC in November, you’ll have the opportunity to include the name and e-mail address of someone special, and we’ll send them a note, letting them know you made a gift in their honor because you’re thankful for them.
The Librarian’s Club: Become a Founding Member, be Entered in a Special Drawing! If you donate $100 or more to ROR-KC between November 1st and November 27th, you become a founding member of our new Librarian’s Club, a group that will receive special recognition, a membership card, and extras, like bonus raffle tickets at events and other goodies. You’ll also be entered to win a fantastic prize basket, which includes:
-Samsung Galaxy Tablet
-Card-making party for 4-6 people at Paper Source
-Necklace and Earrings from Final Touch Jewelry
Matching Money! Kathy Palermo and The General Federation of Women’s Clubs have generously offered to match the first $100 in donations that ROR-KC receives on #GivingTuesday. If you give that day, your gift is worth even more! Thank you to the GFWC!
Raffle: All November donors will be entered into a raffle to win KU basketball gear, including hats, shirts, belts and more, as well as a Chick-Fil-A $10 gift card.
We hope you’ll consider supporting ROR-KC, the only medically-based early childhood literacy program in the area, this #GivingTuesday. Your $70 donation covers books and advice for one child throughout all 14 well child visits from birth to age five.
Join Reach Out & Read Kansas City for a charity party at “a store named STUFF“ on Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
STUFF will donate 15% of all sales during that time to ROR-KC. Thank you STUFF!
Explore the store’s unique items, have a drink and a snack and do some holiday shopping while supporting early childhood literacy! We’ll have staff members on hand and would love to see you and say hello.
STUFF is located at 316 W. 63rd Street, KCMO 64113
It’s free to attend, but be sure to register so you’ll get a reminder email. You can do that by clicking here.
See you there!
New series alert!
Each month, we’ll be posting a book recommendation from our Book Coordinator, Janice Dobbs. She’s spent 17 years curating the collection of developmentally-appropriate books that Reach Out and Read Kansas City provides to 50 medical clinics to hand out at well child visits. She knows books!
October Bookshelf Recommendation:
Clifford’s Opposites (one of eight books in a series)
By Norman Bridwell
Published by Scholastic
Age range: 6 months – 3 years
“Clifford is a favorite character for the young and young at heart! This little board book is the perfect size for toddlers to carry around, and the scalloped edges of the book make turning pages an easy task, even for babies. This series of books helps to reinforce basic concepts that little ones are learning—animal sounds, bedtime and bath-time routines and opposites. The simple text and colorful illustrations capture the attention of children and make it a fun and easy book to share with little ones—and often preschoolers enjoy “reading” these books to themselves! This series also comes in a bilingual format.”
– Janice Dobbs
Janice Dobbs has been the Book Coordinator for Reach Out and Read Kansas City for over 17 years. She’s responsible for purchasing, organizing, and managing the delivery of over 82,000 books to our 50 partner clinics.
Parents and caregivers, here’s another reason to keep chatting with your children while reading to them. A study published recently in the Journal Pediatrics finds that talking with your child often, or “conversational turns,” may have a positive impact on the child’s language development and IQ as much as ten years later!
Reach Out and Read’s National Medical Director, Perri Klass, co-authored a commentary that accompanied the study (she was not involved in the study itself), and calls the findings “especially remarkable, given the heterogeneity of children’s experiences as they grow up.” In the commentary, Klass and her co-author, Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, note that the “study findings support ‘primary prevention’ of disparities in development and school readiness, beginning early in life before their onset.” Klass and Mendelsohn cite Reach Out and Read as the “most established scaled program” in this area.
This study is really heartening, and it supports our mission of increasing kindergarten readiness in at-risk communities by giving families the tools and training they need to succeed.
Click here to read the full article from the Journal Pediatrics.
Click here to read the commentary co-authored by Reach Out and Read’s National Medical Director Perri Klass.
Click here to read an article from ABC News about the study.
Thanks to all who attended our 7th annual Books On Tap happy hour networking event on September 13th at the River Market Event Place! You helped us raise $12,065(!) to support our mission of incorporating books into pediatric care and giving families the tools they need to improve kindergarten readiness.
Local businesses, restaurants and breweries really came through for ROR-KC, making the event unforgettable. From Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang shrimp to Chipotle’s burritos, Schlotzsky’s sandwiches, Blue Sake’s Sushi and Donutology’s treats to beer from Boulevard, Casual Animal and the Big Rip, guests had a real feast. Hot 103 Jamz’s Lady T did a great job as emcee, and Airstream Lounge KC’s photo booth was a hit!
We had a silent auction for the first time this year, along with a raffle, and the unique items – including a chance to design a ROR-KC “cause” blend at the Roasterie – made this a one-of-a-kind event.
Congratulations and thank you to our generous guests, sponsors and donors, as well as the hard-working Books On Tap committee for a fun, successful event!
See you next year!
Click here to see the full photo gallery, courtesy of Jessica Janasz Photography.
Reach Out and Read Kansas City is happy to welcome our new Communications Coordinator, Marianne Sharp. Marianne has spent 20 years in journalism, mostly at NPR stations. She’s been a reporter, managing editor and bureau chief, and covered state government for many years in California. She’s also worked as a college journalism instructor and preschool aide, and spends a lot of time volunteering in her 6-year-old son’s elementary school classroom and library. She’s very passionate about early childhood literacy and is thrilled to be working with ROR-KC. She’ll be working part-time, handling traditional and social media and helping with volunteers and events. If you have an idea for a newsletter or social media post, please let her know at email@example.com. She also reminds everyone who’s a fan of ROR-KC to follow up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
We wish the very best of luck to Christina Larkins, whose year-long Americorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) term with ROR-KC ended in late August. She came to us with a passion for early literacy and a dream to one day work as a children’s librarian. Over the past year, she’s worked tirelessly as the voice of ROR-KC and as a youth associate at the Plaza Library. She’s moving on to a new children’s library role. Thanks, Christina, for your hard work, and we wish you the best!
Reach Out and Read Kansas City’s annual networking happy hour, Books On Tap, is Thursday, September 13, from 5-8 p.m. at the River Market Event Place. We’ll gather to support literacy and enjoy appetizers and food from local restaurants and breweries and a unique raffle and silent auction. Check out some of the outstanding items below, and then Get your tickets here!
Roasterie Coffee Experience: You and 6 friends will work closely with a Brew Master to taste, blend, and create a custom Reach Out and Read Kansas City Blend of Roasterie Coffee to be sold nationwide. $500 value
Antiga Sage Lettering + Watercolor Workshop: Workshop for 8-10, receive your own hand lettering brush pen, get tips, tricks, and practice while creating your own work of art. $500 value
Marlee Hayes Artwork: One of a kind Marlee Hayes Artwork. $300 value
Family Fun Basket: 4 passes to KC Renaissance Festival, 4 passes to KC Zoo, 4 passes to Science City, 4 passes to Union Station Planetarium, KC Mavericks swag, $30 Johnny’s Gift Card, 5 Andy’s concrete coupons, 4 Sealife Aquarium passes. $400 value
Portraits by Christopher Family Portrait: A beautiful 11×14 family portrait with a Masterpiece finish that is digitally painted. Brushstrokes are added to the canvas after printing, producing a perfectly proportioned painting that will last 200 years. $1500 value
Date Night Out: 2 tickets to Alamo Draft House + 2 food coupons, private lane for 1.5 hours at Blade and Timber, $20 Foo’s gift card, Cooper’s Hawk wine tasting. $240 value
Samsung Sound Bar: Samsung Soundbar Series 9 HW-K950. $2000 value
BMC Mattress: Voucher for a new mattress (up to $750) for a great night’s sleep! $750 value
Sporting KC Tickets + Parking Pass: Four tickets to the LA Galaxy game and a premium parking pass! You will not want to miss this! $650 value
Bonefish Grill Excursion Experience: Four-course meal for 8. Includes a signature cocktail, wine with meal, assorted appetizers, salads, assorted entrees to taste, assorted desserts. $750 value
Reach Out and Woof Basket: 1 Year BarK membership and swag, treats unleashed gift card + treats, puppy pads, beer paws treats, pedigree chopped ground dinner, pet head gallon shampoo, “must love dogs” print. $333 value
Date Night In Basket: Samsung TV, Popcorn, 2 bottles of wine, Nothing Bundt Cake. $300 value
The Royal Package: Four voucher tickets to 2019 Royals game, Drew Butera jersey, Cityscape print, $25 Sailor Jack’s gift card.
KU Basketball Tickets: 2 KU Pre-Season Tickets, $25 Jack Stack Gift Card. Value $225
Sully’s Basket: Koozies, gift cards, liquor, Comedy Club tickets
Librarians Club Member Raffle ONLY: Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Paper Source Card-making Party for 4-6, Final Touch Necklace
Heads/Tails Raffle:— $1 entry (glowstick) Samsung Galaxy Tablet. $100 value
Tickets to Books on Tap are $30 in advance, or $35 on September 13th, and include appetizers, three drink coupons, one raffle ticket and entry into the silent auction. Additional raffle tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20.
You must be 21 (and bring your ID) to attend. Get tickets here!
Consider creating a day of service and hosting a book drive in support of Reach Out and Read Kansas City.
DeAngela Burns-Wallace, a Stanford Alumni and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies for The University of Kansas was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to share her book drive story.
Each year Stanford encourages their alumni to participate in a national day of service, that way the organization has a positive community influence wherever their alumni go. She searched for a nonprofit that they could provide the most impact.
“Because we have a small alumni base in KC area, we looked for an activity that we could organize with a small number of people but have a significant impact. Reach Out and Read was an ideal partner.”
DeAngela believes in the importance of early reading, for her, the good Reach Out and Read Kansas City does is essential to her community.
“Reading allows kids to experience so many things, early reading opens up their imagination and possibilities. Supporting early childhood education and especially reading at all ages is key and critical in our society. Reach Out and Read Kansas City helps real families on a daily basis, that was important for us as we looked for a local partner.”
Book drives can take many forms, birthdays, school competitions, office events, cocktail parties, no matter the form though, the key to success it is planning and promotion.
“About four weeks prior we began to email alumni in the region asking them to collect age-appropriate books – their own, friends, family, etc. We used the national day of service called “Beyond the Farm” as the book drop off date. Myself and three other alums set up tables, boxes, and treats to welcome the drop-offs at my home. It was a simple set up but one that allowed alumni to drop off books and go. We boxed the books on site and delivered over 250 books to Reach Out and Read from the KC area Stanford alumni and our friends. “
Small book drives like this make a big difference in the Kansas City community. Thank you DeAnglea and the KC area Stanford Alumni for your continued support!
If you are interested in learning more, head over to our How to Host a Book Drive page for more information.
Thank you to everyone who attended Reach Out and Read Kansas City’s first-ever For the Love of Books Breakfast! With your help we raised over $84,000. Thank you to Dhomonique Ricks for keeping the morning on track. Special thank you to our Honorary Co-Hosts Kathleen and Bill Johansen, for being such supportive voices for ROR-KC’s read aloud mission. And a big thank you to the incredible Alastair Heim for giving us a peek into the mind and inspiration of a picture book author.
Thanks again to all our sponsors who supported the event.
Please view photos from the event, courtesy of Taylor Kelley, on the ROR-KC Facebook page.
When ROR-KC was first formed in 1997, Sallie immediately embraced the program as a part of her pediatric care.
20 years later Sallie still treasures the moments she shares books and early literacy advice with her patients and families. She is an avid supporter of a child’s physical and cognitive well-being, and she understands the importance early reading can have on a child’s life.
What is your favorite Reach Out and Read Memory?
A young patient named Michelle reminded me that some children only have books of their own because of ROR-KC. Books are expensive and they are not always within a family’s budget. For Michelle, her family took ROR-KC’s reading advice to heart. They read to her often and her father even built a special bookshelf for her ROR-KC books. As she got older and she started to read on her own, those were the books she turned to first. It’s families like these where I know we are making a positive impact.
How has your understanding of ROR-KC grown over time?
The biggest change is that we have much more information now about how babies and young children’s brains develop, and how economic disparities can have a serious impact on children’s language development as well. This new neurological data enforces how important ROR-KC’s read aloud mission is for young children.
What are some of your favorite books to share with patients and why?
Let’s Read is the book we share with new parents. I love opening it in front of babies and showing parents how their new child’s eyes light up and focus on the book. It’s a great way to open a conversation about reading early and often to their little ones.
For slightly older children, I enjoy books that rhyme, like Dr. Suess. At that age children are starting to talk themselves and they love listening to how words sound. It’s fun because rhyming books feel like a game to them.
ROR-KC also shares bilingual books as well. This is especially helpful when families might have a grandparent that would love to read with the child even though they aren’t comfortable reading or speaking English.
What’s your favorite piece of family reading advice (or encouragement) to share?
Changing how you encourage family members can be key to taking the pressure off reading aloud. Sharing a book with your baby sounds less daunting than reading a book with them. Also encouraging them to understand that the story doesn’t have to dictate the time you spend together. Feel free to open a book and make up a story, skip pages, ask questions. What color is this? How many animals are there? What do you think is going to happen next?
Most importantly, enjoy that time you are snuggled up together. Those unique conversations are helping your baby’s brain grow.
What’s your favorite personal reading memory as a child or with your own children?
I have always been an avid reader. When I was little, I was the child that would get caught reading with the light on in the middle of the night. Whether it’s my grandchildren or my patients I love watching a child’s eyes light up when I bring in a book because it means that someone is reading to them.
How are volunteer readers important to ROR-KC?
We need people to set an example. A book doesn’t have to be a way to read to children, but rather a way to read with them. Showing parents and family members that story time is more of a way to have a conversation with your child. Watching a great volunteer reader can help take a load off for some parents who might find story time daunting.
Thank You, Sallie!
Chelsea Phelps is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and ROR-KC Medical Director for Swope Health Central. The clinic is part of a conglomerate of Swope Health Services satellite sites that offer a variety of services including, primary care, dentistry, optometry, radiology, pharmacy, WIC and an on-site laboratory. Chelsea and her colleagues at Swope Health Central utilized a new book during 2,000 well child visits last year and had the opportunity to educate hundreds of families about the importance of reading from the start.
Chelsea shared a bit about herself and how she makes a difference to improve literacy in Kansas City every day. She has been a passionate supporter of Reach Out and Read Kansas City from the moment she started at Swope in 2015, and she understands the impact early reading can have on a child’s life.
What is your favorite part of ROR-KC?
My favorite part about Reach Out and Read is every time I give a book to a family and the sheer excitement I see on their faces. If I forget to bring in the book at the beginning of the appointment many of my families will ask me if they are getting a book that day.
What are some of your favorite books to use with your patients and why?
I love books with touch and feel details, the indestructible books, or books with flaps. My infants love to feel the different textures of the books, chewing on them or looking for hidden characters under the flaps. For my older kids, they love receiving books with recognizable characters on them or things they are interested in (planes, trains, dolls, etc)
What’s your favorite piece of family reading advice (or encouragement) to share?
Reading to your children at LEAST once per day is so beneficial to their development. Many parents feel that for a child to learn, you need to sit them down and teach them as though they are in a school setting. Many parents don’t know that just by reading a story and talking about the characters in the book it is just as beneficial of a learning experience.
What’s your fondest personal reading memory as a child or reading to your own children?
Since both my boys were born I have a nightly routine of bath, books then bed. Some nights are very hectic and reading time sometimes will get missed. My oldest son (almost 4 years old) will come in my room with a book so that we can have that moment. I can never say no! We end up reading 3 or 4 sometimes 5 books at a time.
Why is reading important to you?
My life is always go, go, go. Reading puts the brakes on a busy day. At least for a little while. It is a time that you and whomever can have a moment to connect and remove technology that often overwhelms families these days. Now that I am older, reading is also a way to get my mind off of the day-to-day stresses.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Reading is so vital to children as well as adults. Pick a time of day even if for only 5 minutes to sit and read something together. It could be a new book or an old one, a newspaper or a magazine. The content is important, but not as much as the time spent together. The time spent together is so important- especially today when life gets so busy.
For the Love of Books Breakfast is February 15th at the Uptown Theater. At Reach Out and Read Kansas City, preparations are in full swing.
We are so excited to introduce Keynote Speaker and local Kansas City children’s book author Alastair Heim. Besides writing a number of popular children’s books filled with humor and lots of fun, he is an avid supporter of early literacy. Alastair was kind enough to answer a few questions about everything from writing to reading to children’s books.
Please tell us a little bit about how and why you started writing books.
While I’ve always had a passion for creative writing, I officially started trying to write picture books shortly after my first child was born. My wife and I received dozens upon dozens of children’s books as baby shower gifts and, after diving into each and every one of them, I was inspired to try and write my own stories. More than anything, though, I thought it would be super cool if my kids could read a book that daddy wrote (it is!).
How and why did you become involved with Reach Out and Read KC?
I have known about Reach Out and Read for a number of years, but only recently became directly involved with them through a friend of mine (she was gracious enough to introduce me to the wonderful KC folks). I am thrilled to be working with such an incredible organization that does so much to advocate for children and the positive, life-changing influences that reading can have on their lives. The read aloud experience shapes every picture book I write and I’m incredibly honored to support their mission.
What were some of your favorite children’s books growing up?
My absolute favorite book to read, when I was very young, was Barney Beagle Plays Baseball by Jean Bethell. My brother and I also had a ton of Berenstain Bears books and, when I got a bit older, I started gravitating toward anything written by Shel Silverstein.
What are some of your (or your girls’) favorite children’s books that you read today?
I actually had my kids answer this question and here are a few of their current favorites: THE BOOK OF MISTAKES (by Corinna Luyken), PIG AND PUG (Sue Lowell Gallion), BABYMOUSE DRAGONSLAYER (Jennifer Holm), A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC (Shel Silverstein), LITTLE BIRD’S BAD WORD (Jacob Grant), GHOST (Raina Telgemeier), REAL FRIENDS (Shannon Hale), MUSTACHE BABY (Bridget Heos), THAT NEIGHBOR KID (Daniel Miyares), LITTLE MISS, BIG SIS (Amy Krouse Rosenthal), BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER (Andria Rosenbaum), ENGINERDS (Jarrett Lerner) and, of course, NO TOOTING AT TEA (Me).
What’s your favorite childhood reading memory?
The most vivid memories I have about reading are being at my elementary school library and picking out books to take home. I went to a fairly small school in rural Wisconsin, but the library was always full of books for me to pour over. In fact, that’s where I first discovered Shel Silverstein. I recently had the opportunity to read my books to First Graders at that same library, which was an absolutely surreal dream come true.
Why is reading important to you?
This is, by far, the hardest question for me to answer…because there are SO many reasons. For me, reading was literally my first introduction to creativity – as it is for most children. Picture books are a gateway for a child’s imagination to flourish, whether it be the words or pictures that capture their hearts and minds. Reading was also one of the first and most meaningful ways I connected with my own children. To see their eyes light up and to hear them giggle when I read aloud to them has been a gift that has shaped who I am as a dad and as a writer.
Beyond my own experiences, though, is the fact that every writer was a reader first. When today’s authors have written their last stories, a new generation of writers will emerge and fill these same shoes. The world needs great storytellers and the more we can do to fan the flames of creativity – by reading to kids at a very early age – the better the stories of tomorrow are going to be.
What makes a great story time?
I am a firm believer that the parent should have just as much fun as the child does during story time. In my opinion, it’s the overall experience between parent and child that creates the most lasting connections. My favorite books to read with my kids have a few things in common – effortless-to-read rhyme, clever writing, unexpected humor and great endings. When I write my books, I always try to keep mom and dad in mind. Does the rhyming make for a good read aloud experience? Is there humor that the parent will find funny, too? How can I end this story in a way people will be surprised and delighted by? Ultimately, I want my books to be the ones children pick out at bedtime and their parents are delighted to read with them, over and over again.
Learn more about Alastair and his books on his website: www.alastairheim.com
Meet Krista Cox, a pediatrician that began her career at Baby and Child Associates Pediatric Practice in 1999 and has been there ever since. Dr. Cox was kind enough to take time out of her busy day to share a little bit about herself and Baby and Child’s new office. Dr. Cox has always been an advocate for early literacy and has continuously integrated the Reach Out and Read model into her practice. She has seen the positive impact books and family reading time can make on a young child’s life and future.
When Reach Out and Read Kansas City first began in 1997, Dr. Cox was completing her residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Right away she saw the benefit of incorporating books into pediatric care. In 1999 she began working at Baby and Child and carried Reach Out and Read’s mission with her. She knew through a myriad of studies that early literacy initiatives are important and work. For her early literacy is a way to not only encourage reading but also positive family time.
When a child develops a love a reading from their parents, a world of possibilities can open up to them.
A love of reading is a tool they can use for the rest of their lives.
What’s your favorite piece of family reading advice (or encouragement) to share?
When the baby is an infant, I like to ask parents to read and talk to their babies every day. It will make them smarter I say, and that makes parents smile. For older children, 3 and up, I like to tell parents that the more they read to their children the better they will do in kindergarten.
What are some of your favorite books to use with your patients and why?
Anyone who steps into our office will know that we are big fans of Eric Carle here at Baby and Child. His artwork is in almost every room. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a great book to use during well-child visits because of its use of color and repetition.
What’s your fondest personal reading memory as a child or reading to your own children?
I was an avid reader growing up, and I wanted to pass that on to my kids. When my children were little, I read One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Seuss more times than I can count. It’s fun to share that same book with parents in our waiting room and say, “Hey, I read this book to my kids thousands of times. Your child might really enjoy this book too.”
What is your favorite Reach Out and Read memory at Baby and Child?
While I don’t have one specific memory, there are certain moments that I love. When I walk into an appointment with a 9-month old (a child that might only babble or say things like mama) and the child sees the book in my hand and says, “book!” That is a good sign, it means that someone is reading to that child on a daily basis.
Baby and Child has quite a few ROR-KC volunteers. How do volunteer readers impact Baby and Child?
Even though parents know in their mind that reading is important, a volunteer reader can set an example of what goes into a good story time. The reader can be interactive, silly and use different voices. A reader can ask questions. Story time is a chance for the parent to have fun and interact with their child.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
One of the most rewarding things about working with Reach Out and Read Kansas City has been looking back a noticing the change in how parents view the importance of reading.
When I first started a generation ago at Baby and Child, parents would ask me why they need to read to their child? Especially if their preschool or daycare has reading time built into the day. But now there are ROR-KC children that have grown up and have babies of their own. As parents, they are showing greater interest and excitement when I talk about reading to their young children. I know that because of Reach Out and Read Kansas City I have been a part of that change.
A Store Named STUFF in Brookside, MO is staying open late for a holiday shopping party benefiting ROR-KC. You will find the perfect, unique gift for that hard-to-buy-for individual on your holiday list. The party is on December 5th from 5:30 -7:00 pm Guests are invited to shop for literacy while enjoying light snacks and fun with friends.
When: December 5th
5:30 – 7:30pm
Where: A Store Named STUFF
316 W 63rd St.
Kansas City, MO 64113
In partnership with Giving Tuesday, the national day of giving, Reach Out and Read Kansas City is hosting its annual Fall Book Drive. Celebrate the season by donating new and gently used books to Reach Out and Read Kansas City.
What: Fall Book Drive
When: November 1st- 28th
Book drop off is Monday – Friday from 8:30am – 4:30pm.
Where: Reach Out and Read Kansas City
Support Services building, 2100 W. 36th Ave, Kansas City, KS 66160.
Collecting books can be a fun way to bring friends, family, and coworkers together. From birthdays to office parties, a Reach Out and Read Kansas City book drive is a conversation starter and opportunity to make a difference in your KC community.
Susan Mertz, a content writer @ Merrigan & Co, recently hosted a cocktail party book drive with her daughter Allison. It was a big success. Not only did she have a wonderful group of people visiting her home but she also collected new and gently used books at the same time.
When she dropped off the monetary and book donation she filled us in on the details. If you are interested in hosting your own book drive, visit our How to Host a Book Drive post for more Information.
Susan, you mentioned that you heard about Reach Out and Read Kansas City from Monica Tiffany. What did she say that made you interested in the program?
“Monica mentioned her involvement on the board and it brought back memories of volunteering at my children’s school library. And, memories of taking my children to the public library for storytime. Time reading books with little ones is priceless.”
How did your daughter get involved?
“I’ve watched Allison’s friends grow up and always enjoy seeing them. We have a great mix of friends and it was a fun way to get all of us together. Plus, I just love spending time with my daughter!”
What inspired you both to host a book drive?
“Initially, I visited the website planning to donate books. Then, I saw the button promoting Host a Book Drive.”
Why a cocktail party?
“An after work gathering was best for our schedule and we added fun beverages and snacks.”
How did this all come about?
“First, I floated the idea past a few friends and they were all excited. We picked a date that worked well for several people. Then, my daughter and I created a Facebook event and sent out the invites. We invited 30 people and had 20 join us. We were thrilled with the response!”
What did people say about Reach Out and Read Kansas City during the event?
“I had info signs posted on the donation box telling a little about the group. Many had questions and were genuinely excited to learn about the organization. Again and again, friends said they really enjoyed getting together, having fun, and helping out. It was also fun hearing about the books they donated – favorites of their children and favorite ones they grew up reading.”
How did you both feel when the event was finished?
“Wonderful. We collected 70 books plus a cash donation. It was fun and easy. And, best of all, we introduced an incredible organization to our friends. It looks like we will be doing this again next year! One friend is already saving books for the next book drive.”
Thank you so much, Susan and Allison!
Hosting a book drive is the perfect way to make a difference in your community. A recent donor, Susan Mertz of Merrigan & Co hosted a cocktail party with her daughter. When asked how she felt when the party was over she responded, “Wonderful. — It was fun and easy. And, best of all, we introduced an incredible organization to our friends.”
The easiest way to host a book drive is to think about how you can incorporate book donations into the agenda. Spread the word, enjoy time with your friends, and reap the rewards. Feel free to take advantage of our free printable flyer, fact sheet, and coloring page when hosting your book drive.
Check out these tried and true book collection methods below:
Parties: Birthdays, Bar Mitzvahs, Quinceaneras, Anniversaries
This is one of the easiest ways to do a book drive, simply encourage guests to bring a book donation or two in lieu of a present.
Events: Plays, Concerts, Debate Tournaments, Spelling Bees, Ballets
Any performance-based gathering is the perfect place to have guests bring a new or gently used book donation as the price of admission or for a discount.
Social Gatherings: Faith-Based Groups, Club Meetings, Cocktail Parties
Any time your favorite club gets together is a great opportunity to collect books with ease.
If you are looking for an excuse to hold a cocktail party, encourage people to join in by bringing a book. Reach Out and Read Kansas City makes for a great conversation starter.
Locations: Office, Club, Gymnasium, Coffee shop
ROR-KC has donation bins available upon request that can be used in high donation sites. You can even make it into a competition. Set goals for your office or club to build up camaraderie and spirit. Host a party to celebrate once your book collection time is over.
Sometimes life prevents us from collecting books in person. In this case, you can also host a book drive online. Feel free to share.
From November 1st to December 31st, 2017, Barnes and Noble Leawood and Overland Park will be hosting their annual Holiday Book Drive benefitting Reach Out and Read Kansas City.
Make a difference by purchasing a book for a child this season. The book selections, located behind the Barnes & Noble checkout counters, were hand-picked by Janice, ROR-KC’s Book Coordinator, for children in our 50 Kansas City metro area clinics. These book donations will be used during well-child assessments by medical providers, then given to children to take home and enjoy. Be an advocate for literacy and give the gift our medical team is prescribing, time for families to interact and snuggle up with a good book this holiday season.
Barnes & Noble @ Town Center
4751 West 117th Street
Leawood, KS 66211
Barnes & Noble @ Oak Park Mall
11323 W 95th St,
Overland Park, KS 66214
We are thrilled to welcome our new Outreach Coordinator, Christina Larkins. Christina joins our team as a full-time volunteer through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Continue reading
School may be out for summer, but it’s the busiest time of year for our partner clinics! Because summertime is the perfect time for families to schedule well-child visits, books have been flying off our shelves! Last year, in August 2016, we distributed over 8,800 brand new books. As a result, our supply of books is dwindling low. We need your help to continue providing over 80,000 books to children in KC each year.
Many families who visit Reach Out and Read Kansas City clinics are struggling to cover basic household necessities … they would love to buy books for their children, but they simply can’t afford them. 61% of low-income families have no children’s books in their homes. Owning a book and reading with parents can ignite a lifelong love of learning. Through new books and literacy counseling for parents, you instill a love of learning and a desire to learn more. In fact, research confirms that parents who interact with our program are more likely to read to their young children, read more often, and have more children’s books in their homes.
Make your gift go further by joining our monthly donating club, the Brain Builders.
One of the best parts of working in the RORKC office is hearing feedback and success stories from all of our partner clinics. A few years ago, Reach Out and Read Kansas City board member and pediatrician at Children’s Mercy West, Dr. Lisa Riojas shared this experience she had during a well-child visit:
“One of my most special Reach Out and Read memories is of a 6-month-old who came in with his family. He was sitting on his mother’s lap. They were Spanish speaking so we had an interpreter but that’s the great thing about books, you can see what kids are thinking/feeling when they are looking at books. So, I hand him the book. Usually, babies at that age start to chew on the book while holding it upside down and backward, but this little guy took it from me with both hands, held it in the correct position, and opened it all by himself. He then started to flip the pages and you could see eyes scanning the pages as if he’s reading this little book.
The mom then looked at me and at him, when she starts to show him the book, he just lights up and gets all excited, and you can tell that he is super happy. It was very obvious that he had been read to over and over again by his family”
Rene is now a healthy 2-year- old that still loves to read. Recently, we met with his mother, Erika, to talk about why she loves reading with Rene and her 6-year-old daughter, Alondra.
How often do you read aloud?
“We read together every day because both of my children enjoy it. They like hearing the stories, they get emotional when they see the images and like to express themselves and react to the stories.”
Why does Rene like going to the doctor?
“When he gets the books in the doctor’s office, he is excited because it is a new book for us to read together. You can see it on his face, he has a huge smile”
What are some of Rene’s & Alondra’s favorite books?
“Rene loves to read books about animals. His favorite currently is one about a horse that saves his brothers and sisters. We read it daily. His sister, Alondra, loves reading Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Snow White. She is now learning to read and write, so I still read aloud to her every day too.”
Summer is the busiest time of year for RORKC because our clinics see so many patients! This means that RORKC needs extra help labeling books, collecting gently-used books, and completing other office tasks. Thankfully, we have had some great volunteers in our office. Check out some of the people and groups we’ve had stop by:
Carrie is a local high school student who volunteered around our office during the entire month of June. She helped with office tasks and book labeling. Thanks Carrie!
These 3 students from Northwest Missouri State-Kansas City Campus created over 300 of our kindergarten book bags! These bags include important information about beginning school & how to register for Kindergarten. Thank you!
Thank you to the Primrose Adventure Club! These campers volunteered their afternoon to help label hundreds books for us.
UMKC Medical Students held a book drive for RORKC this summer, collecting a ton of new and gently used books for our partner clinics. Thank You!
These campers, from the Jewish Community Center J-Camp, volunteered their morning to help label books. You guys are awesome!
Thank you to all of our summer volunteers!
Reach Out and Read Kansas City (RORKC) is excited to announce our first 5K run on Saturday, August 26th at Swope Park. The 5K race and other kid-friendly activities will begin at 8 am.
When: Saturday, August 26th at 8 am
Location: Swope Park (Battle of Westport Visitor Center)
The race will be a 5K cross country course throughout the park.
Entry Fee: $30
Runners need to sign up by August 12th to be guaranteed a T-Shirt. There is no cost for kid-friendly events.
Friday, August 25th from 5-7 pm
Saturday, August 26th starting at 7 am
Schedule on August 26th:
7 am: Packet Pickup
8 am: 5K Begins
9 am: Children Relay Races Begin
9:30 am: Awards and Raffle Prizes Announced
Starting at 8 am, face painting, and Molly Balloons will be on site for kids and at 9 am relay races will begin. Throughout the entire event, there will be live music provided by Mudflap Mafia.
Interested in sponsoring the Race to Read 5K? View more information.
Weather Cancellation Policy:
The safety of our participants is the most important thing and if any threatening weather conditions are present the day of the event, the event may be delayed or canceled.
View our Weather Cancellation Policy
If you would like to learn more about volunteering to read in a clinic with a child or how to volunteer for this race, please contact Jenny Horsley or call 913-588-2793.
Reach Out and Read Kansas City is pleased to welcome another new Community Council member, Paula Matthews!
Paula is the Director of Talent Management and Development at Hallmark. She holds her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources, making her a great addition to our council. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her family and volunteering with her children’s school district and other organizations. She says this about the RORKC’s mission:
I became interested in Reach out and Read because of my kids, Caroline, age 11 and Will, 9. Both are avid readers and reading together from their infancy has been one of the most amazing things we’ve done as a family and one of the things I treasure most as their mom. I believe early literacy is critical to a child’s development.
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 a Nurse Practitioner at KUMC Pediatrics.
“For children, a well-constructed brain depends on genetic makeup, the environment, and most important, the children’s relationships with adults who are attentive to them…and care deeply about them.” (Petersen S. Young Children. P.14. September 2012.)
I can’t say it better! Children need people to hold, them, love them, talk, read and play with them for the very best developmental outcome. Reading aloud is one strategy that serves to bring a caring adult into close physical contact with a child, doing a pleasurable activity. For both children and adults, these special times help reduce stress and build relationships over time.
Reach Out and Read came into being because pediatricians who specialized in children’s development were concerned about their observations that parents were not in conversation with their infants and children; parents were not in close physical contact with their infants and children. The strategy of having a health care provider give a prescription to caregivers to share books with children, along with the gift of a new, developmentally and culturally appropriate book, was the pediatricians’ response to those concerns.
Reading aloud, (or book sharing – making up one’s own stories based on the pictures, talking about the pictures on the page – the colors, the objects) is a time when caregivers can experience serve-and-return communication. The caregiver reads/comments, and then listens/watches for the child’s response, and then reads/shares some more. It is a great way for children and caregivers to connect.
Babies are attuned to the voices of people in their environment even before they are born. After birth, their brain is changing rapidly, in part based on their environment. The first 1000 days are the most sensitive times for the development of vision, hearing, language, and emotional attachment. Connections between neurons can either be strengthened or pruned during this sensitive time. One hopes that connections that are helpful to children’s well-being will be the ones strengthened – and this can be a challenge, especially for families who are living in stressful circumstances.
Sharing a book while snuggling a baby or young child strengthens important connections in the brain. Snuggling/being in conversation ameliorates the negative physiologic effects of toxic stress (stress that is unremitting, or intense, or frequent) and fosters the development of close emotional bonds. Reading aloud or sharing books of course helps build vocabulary and enhances a child’s readiness to learn in school, but most importantly, sharing that book makes a connection between things baby loves most – your voice, your closeness, and books –a love for caregivers plus a love of books translates to a love of learning and a healthy life.
A new study from Dr. John Hutton (pediatrician and clinical researcher at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center) and other researchers, found that children’s books with messaging about safe sleep practices are more effective in changing parents behaviors than traditional brochures.
Sleep- related infant deaths (categorized as children under 1-year-old who die unexpectedly) disproportionately affect lower income families. Researchers were interested to see if children’s picture books with safe sleep messaging would educate parents more than traditional methods, like brochures and pamphlets.
To test this, researchers provided families with the book, Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug, by Dr. John Hutton. Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug is a story filled with safe sleeping practices for new babies. It even includes a checklist of “Dos and Don’ts” on the back cover as a reference for parents. It is also the book that RORKC provides at the one-month well-child visit.
For the study, researchers specifically targeted lower income families. While they conducted their research in primarily English-speaking households, Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug, is also available in Spanish to families at RORKC’s partner clinics.
They found that while both the pamphlets and Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug were similarly effective in educating parents on safe sleep knowledge, parents who had the children’s book were less likely to share beds and more likely to use cribs exclusively. The researchers attributed this to the idea that reading the book aloud provoked more dialogue and emotional engagement, meaning that they were more likely to follow the advice after they had shared the book with their child.
While the researchers caution that there should be more investigation into the best practices for educating parents on safe sleeping habits, they believe that providing children’s books, like Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug, may be a step in the right direction.
Have you ever wondered who decides which books to purchase for our clinics? Or who organizes our book drives and deliveries? Meet Janice, our book coordinator of over 15 years. She’s responsible for purchasing, organizing, and managing the delivery of over 83,000 books to our 51 partner clinics. Recently, Janice joined us to talk about her important role as RORKC’S book coordinator.
How did you first get involved with RORKC?
My family moved to Kansas City in 1997 and one of my sons became friends with the son of Laura Gregory, the chair of the Community Council at the time. She mentioned that she was involved with this organization and asked if I would have any interest in serving on the Community Council. After joining the council, I was offered a 10 hour a week position helping Jean Harty, co-founder and medical director, as a book coordinator. Gradually, the time commitment increased to the position as is it is now.
How do know which books to purchase for our clinics?
There are a number of different things that help me decide which books to purchase for our clinics. While I have a degree in early education and special education, I believe that my better qualifications for this job are that I have kids and grandkids. I’ve seen them grow up with books, so I have an idea of what they read and enjoyed.
In addition to my knowledge, I do spend time reading the research and book reviews on what is best for the different age groups. For example, we know that children around the age of 6-12 months love to see other babies faces in their books. So for our 6-12 month-old books, we focus on purchasing books like the “Baby Days” series, that are full of cute and engaging faces.
Physically, the quality of the book also matters. Sometimes I’ll look at the paper and think to myself “oh, this isn’t going to last long”,
so I try to stay away from those books. This may be one of the only books the family has, so we need to give them something durable and long lasting.
It’s also important that we focus on purchasing books in multiple languages and that feature diverse characters. We know the families and their kids need to see themselves represented in what they are reading.
Medical providers also weigh in on which books we provide. I ask them how the books are received in the clinics, and their opinions on the books. They are the ones who are directly providing the books and get to see how the families respond, so we love hearing their input.
Ultimately we just want to give the children and their families good books.
What are “good” books?
It’s certainly all of the classics like Good Night Moon, or books that have received critical praise like the Caldecott Award, but really it’s a book that the families will read with their children. A book is a good book if the family shares it with their child and if the child pulls it off the shelf to read with mom and dad. A good book is one that engages the family and encourages them to read aloud together.
What are your personal favorites?
I love the classics, like Brown Bear Brown Bear, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and all of Sandra Boynton’s books, but I also really like the smaller Dr. Seuss board books that we provide. They are a little less cumbersome than the regular Dr. Seuss books, but they are still full of rhyming and are very sturdy.
What is the best part of being our Book Coordinator?
I think it’s knowing how many families we are reaching. I love the organizational aspect of it and managing these types of tasks, but in the end, it’s that all of these Kansas City families are receiving books and literacy advice.
Thank you Janice for all that you do for Reach Out and Read Kansas City!
Reach Out and Read Kansas City is thrilled to have two new members on the Community Council.
Join us in welcoming Tanya Rodecker Wendt & Truss Tyson!
Tanya is a partner at Deacy & Deacy Law Firm. A practicing lawyer for over 11 years, she is licensed in both Missouri and Kansas. Her love of reading and being a member of the Greater Kansas City Pi Beta Phi Alumnae group introduced Tanya to Reach Out and Read Kansas City in 2014, when she first attended the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast. She shares this about the importance of reading:
“Now that my oldest is a kindergartner, I am delighted to listen to her learn to read and share in her pride when she sounds out a new word. It breaks my heart to think that some children do not have any books to read. That loss of opportunity to learn, imagine and create is frustrating to me. Which is why I think that Reach Out and Read’s program to get books into the hands of infants and educate their parents on the importance of reading is so vital not only to those children but our community as well.”
Truss is the Vice President of FMG and LIHTC Accounting/Investor Reporting at KeyBank Real Estate Capital and holds a Masters in Business Administration from Rockhurst University. His leadership and community involvement with Praire Village Art Council and the Community Outreach Committee at KeyBank make him an excellent addition to our council. He says this about our mission:
“Reach Out and Read KC’s mission is in tune with my values especially having a 20-month-old at home who loves books!”
Days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer, which means one thing: it’s almost summer vacation! While students are rejoicing, it can be a difficult time for parents as they try to prevent the “summer slide”. This refers to the possible learning setbacks that come as a result of time away from the classroom. Luckily, KC has numerous libraries and educational camps that combat the “summer slide”! We’ve put together a list for you of library programs, summer camps, and events to keep your kids reading this summer!
Kansas City, Kansas Public Library
May 15th – July 31st
Kick-Off Parties: happening at all locations – check out when your branch is having theirs!
-Family Story Time
-Family Movie Nights
-Practice your reading skills with Reading Education Assistance Dogs
-Bilingual Craft Times
Kansas City, Missouri Public Library
Kick-Off Party- May 26th at the Plaza branch with special guest, Jim Cosgrove
-Exotic Animals R Us Visit
May 22nd-July 31st
-A Story Time with Royals Mascot, Slugger!
-Story Times for families, babies and toddlers, and Pre-Schoolers.
-A visit from the SEA LIFE Mobile Touch Tank
-Practice your reading skills with Reading Education Assistance Dogs.
Need more information? View the Mid-Continent Library Website.
Johnson County Public Library:
May 15th –July 31st
-Practice your reading skills with Reading Education Assistance Dogs
-Dinosaur O’Dell’s Build a Better World
-Family English-Spanish Storytime
-Marty the Magician’s Magic Workshop
Olathe Public Library
May 22nd-July 31st
Kick-Off Party: Tuesday, May 30th, at 10:00 a.m. at Frontier Park in Olathe
-Story Time in the Park
-Family Chess Nights
-Practice your reading skills with Reading Education Assistance Dogs
-Family Movie Nights
-Find Fido Fridays
North Kansas City Public library
May 27th – August 5th
Kickoff Party: May 27th
-Storytimes are offered 3 times a week (Monday @ 11:00 a.m., Tuesday @ 7:00 p.m., Wednesday @ 11:00 a.m.)
-Family Programs are every other Saturday at 11:00 a.m
-Mad Science will present their Build a Better World program.
-Bricks4Kids, a hands-on LEGO program
BOOKISH From ABC Preschool
Through the minds and hearts of children, books will be a part of their lives forever. Bookish will open the cover of your child’s imagination by guiding their curiosity with a visit from a real book author, taking a field trip to a real library, writing & illustrating our own books, and delight bringing childhood classics to life with dramatic play.
June 5th – July 28th
Summer Camp Daily Schedule:
8 am – 3:30 pm: Academic instruction time. This includes English Language Arts (ELA) in the morning. Lunch is provided, and the afternoon consists of math and other academic enrichment activities. ELA & Math will be our primary focus during these hours.
3:30 – 6pm: Various recreation & enrichment activities are offered during this time until parents pick up their child. An afternoon snack is also provided.
Other Great Events:
Turn the Page Summer Reading Event
Join Turn the Page for a FREE summer reading celebration at Sprint Center! Mayor James and Turn the Page KC volunteers will lead an afternoon full of STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts, and math – activities. Every child will take home a bag of FREE books and resources
Sylvester Powell Community Center
Ages 0-6 yrs.
Story Time with Miss Diann. Turn your preschooler into an avid reader before they even start school! Reading aloud to young children encourages learning development and helps prepare them for independent reading down the line. Miss Diann will read a story and help children participate in a fun art activity. Parents participation encouraged during art lesson and required for supervision during story time. $1/child, no class 5/29, 7/3
Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program:
Each school year, Meadow Lane Elementary encourages their students to complete over 200 days of reading. This reading challenge spans the entire year and has a theme. This year’s theme was “Get Stuck on Reading”. Throughout the year, students track the amount of time spent reading at home. If they reach their goal of reading daily for at least 200 days, then they receive a new book from Will Shields, retired Kansas City Chiefs player. These reading rock stars not only hit their goal this year, but many also donated their new, hard earned books to RORKC. This year, as a school, they donated over 2,000 books and logged over 63,000 days of reading!
The fifth graders receive a special reward for reaching their goal: a pizza party at lunch with Will Shields!
In the afternoon, the school holds a special assembly, where each fifth grader that reached the goal of 200 days is recognized and receives a signed football from Will Shields. To thank Will, Meadow Lane closes the assembly with a special song about how much fun it is to read!
Thank you to Will Shields and Meadow Lane Elementary!
Michelle is a second grader with a passion for reading. “As soon as I get home from school, I like to go to my room and read,” she states proudly. Her family helped develop this love by reading aloud to her starting at birth. They did this because of the books and literacy advice they received from their medical provider through the Reach Out and Read KC program. Michelle was one of the nearly 30,000 children in KC that receives new books from their medical provider each year.
After she started receiving the RORKC books, her father built a special bookshelf to store them. Michelle is now 8 years old and no longer receives brand new books from her medical provider, but does take gently used books from the waiting room to continue her library. “When I get a new book and I finish reading it, I put it on a bookshelf that my daddy made to keep it safe from other kids.” said Michelle.
Michelle loves reading because it’s fun! When asked about her favorite kinds of books, she responds, “I like books that make me laugh a lot and smile. I like books about animals, princesses, all kinds of books. ”
Her family has also transitioned from solely reading aloud to her, to having Michelle practice reading aloud to them. “I love reading aloud with my family because it makes them happy and it helps me become a better reader, ” Michelle says.
We love your passion for reading Michelle!
Volunteers are vital to the mission of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. With a small staff, we rely on volunteers to help make our program successful. In celebration of National Volunteer Month, we’re highlighting 3 volunteers that make our program great. Sally, Carol, and Justin are volunteer readers at different partner clinics throughout KC. Our volunteer readers help create a literacy-rich environment by sharing books with children and modeling good reading behaviors for their families.
Sally began volunteering 15 years ago after retiring from her job as an English teacher. While looking for a volunteer opportunity, her friend suggested she get involved with RORKC. Since then, she’s been sharing books with families at CMH Special Care Clinic a few times a week.
On the importance of making reading fun: During my visit to the clinic to meet Sally, I was able to watch her in action. This morning the clinic was busy and there were two boys sitting near the reading table. When Sally approached them, they told her they didn’t like to read. That is until Sally brought over 3 different books, one about the heroes of 9/11, one about different cars, and one about the ocean. By the time they were called into their doctor, they were enthralled in their books. Sally works hard to make sure that every child finds a book that they can enjoy in the waiting room. “Reading is important and should be fun, that’s why I tried to give each of the boys a few options,” Sally told me.
Why she enjoys volunteering: “Being a retired English teacher, I think its important to share about early literacy and I also enjoy meeting new families in the clinic and get to continue to build relationships with them as they come repeatedly over the years”
About 6 years ago, Carol, retired from teaching Kindergarten and was looking for a volunteer opportunity that involved children and literacy. She came across an ad for a volunteer orientation at RORKC and signed up! Since then, she’s been a dedicated reader at a few of our clinics, setting up the reading table. Carol also writes the Spanish translation in English books underneath the words because she sees a large number of families who need bilingual books where she volunteers.
Favorite Book to Share: Green Eggs & Ham
On the importance of reading: “As a kindergarten teacher for many years, I’m aware of how important early literacy and school readiness are. I believe that the involvement of community volunteers in clinic settings, where the authority of the physicians adds importance, is very effective.”
Why she continues to volunteer with RORKC: “Recently a newly-arrived immigrant family who spoke only Swahili came in so their youngest child could get a physical to enroll in school, the person accompanying them explained. Although the sweet little girl was very solemn and shy, she was attracted to the reading table and understood through gestures that she could choose a book and a toy to keep. It’s heartwarming moments like these that make me grateful for this opportunity!”
Justin is a volunteer reader at Samuel Rodgers Health Clinic. He first became involved with RORKC about 10 years ago when he was looking for a way to give back to his community. He came across an ad for volunteer reading and the rest is history.
Favorite book to share: The Foot Book (or anything by Dr. Seuss)
On reading in the clinic: “Sometimes kids can be hesitant or nervous, but then I really try to engage them and interact with them and the story and then they really usually start to open up and really enjoy it”
On why he enjoys volunteer reading: “I want to set a good example for parents in the clinics. Before they even see the doctor they can have a positive impact in the waiting room. It’s just a great way for them to experience fun reading. That is my main goal is to interact with them and have them engaged in the stories. I want them to have a good experience and demonstrate that reading is fun. Plus I have a great time. Normally I don’t want to leave, especially if it’s a busy day!”
Thank you to Sally, Carol, and Justin for volunteering their time to share books and their love of reading with children in KC!
Interested in volunteering with Reach Out and Read Kansas City? From volunteer reading to serving on an event committee, we have plenty of opportunities for those trying to make a difference in the community. For more information about volunteering, contact Jenny.
Tuesday, April 11th, is the last day to purchase your tickets for RORKC’s 20th Birthday Breakfast. Get them now, before they’re gone!
To celebrate 20 years of providing literacy advice and over 1 million books to kids in KC, we’re hosting the 20th Birthday Breakfast fundraiser on Thursday, April 20th, from 7:30- 9 am at the Uptown Theater. Join us for a morning of fun including breakfast, birthday cake, a ceremonial toast by Honorary Hosts, Pamela Miller and Michael Cummings, and entertainment by Jim Cosgrove. Dhomonique Ricks, anchor from FOX-4 TV, will also be joining in on the celebration as the Master of Ceremonies.
This year, the Hooked On Books Challenge collected over 24,000 gently used books from 20 elementary schools on both sides of the state line and Rainy Day Books. Congratulations to Manchester Park Elementary, from the Olathe School District, for collecting the most books, an average of 12 books per student! These gently used books will be distributed throughout our partner clinics and other literacy agencies.
On March 25th, 52 volunteers joined us at the Kansas City Star to help sort books. Each book was labeled with a “Hooked On Books” Sticker and sorted into an appropriate reading level category.
Over 11,000 books will be sent to RORKC’s partner clinics for children in the waiting rooms. The rest were donated to other great Kansas City organizations, such as the Urban Scholastic Center, COR Bookmobile, KCK Public Libraries and more.
A special thank you to the 20 Junior League of Kansas City volunteers for their help sorting and labeling books, to The Kansas City Star for storage and printing, and to the 18 Cerner volunteers for helping us deliver these books to the great organizations. Thank you to all that helped us make this year’s Hooked On Books Challenge a success!
On Thursday, April 20th, Reach Out and Read Kansas City will be celebrating our 20th anniversary of providing new and developmentally appropriate books to children at their well-child visits with a Birthday Breakfast. Pamela Miller and Michael Cummings, long-time supporters of RORKC, are our honorary hosts for the breakfast. Recently, we sat down with them to talk about how they became involved with RORKC and why they’ve continued their support over the years.
How did you become involved with RORKC?
Pamela: I was working for the Kansas University Endowment Association at the Medical Center when a colleague of mine told us that Reach Out and Read KC launched and we should all volunteer to read. Reading is a great passion of mine so I was excited to be a part of it. It was so great because you would read to the children in the clinics as they were waiting for their appointment. You really got familiar with the children books, which was fun because everyone thought I was an expert, but it’s only because I was sitting with the kids and reading aloud to them.
Michael: My wife [Pamela] became a volunteer reader at the start of the program and I saw how much joy she took from reading to the children and the passion she had for reading, so I became involved as well.
Why did you begin investing in Reach Out & Read Kansas City?
Pamela: I love the fact that the mission brings together both pediatric care and encourages families to experience the love of reading. During the appointment, the doctor can observe the child and their development while they are handling the book. Then they talk to parents about the value of reading and what that can mean for their child’s development and education.
Michael: Reading is so important. It is a gateway to learning and therefore education. We live in a time where it seems that some leaders don’t think reading is important and some people seem to be averse to learning. In order to have a rich and full life in this technological age we live in and the economy it creates, learning and education are critical to life’s success.
Why have you continued your support for RORKC over the years?
Pamela: It’s very personal for me because my parents shared their love of reading with me as a child. One of my favorite memories is walking to the North Kansas City library with my mother every week to go get new books. Then at night, my father read the bedtime stories with me. He has this lovely voice and years later when cancer took away his voice through a laryngectomy, I could still hear it in my memories and my dreams. That is what is so wonderful for parents, being able to have this experience with their children. Children will not just remember reading the book with them. It’s far more than reading a book, it’s more than just words on a page. They are going to remember the snuggling time with their parents, their scent, their voices, the time that their parent took to be with them. These memories will always encourage their children to read. I know whenever I would travel for business if I had time to spare I always went to the local library or bookstore and found something new to read. Reading is something that has always stayed with me.
Michael: Reading is so important. It’s a passion of mine that started in my childhood. My parents somehow scrapped together the money to buy a set of encyclopedias – which was a kind of internet of the time- and it had a set of children’s books. Those books had stories of faraway places and people that really ignited my imagination on rainy days when I couldn’t get outside to play.
Then as a high school freshman, for an assignment, my teacher suggested that I read On the Beach by Nevil Shute. I procrastinated and so I ended up reading the thing all at once. I was caught up in the story and so affected by it. That really fueled my love of stories and reading and that love has continued throughout my entire life.
Thank you to Pamela Miller and Michael Cummings for sharing your love of reading and for your dedicated support of Reach Out and Read Kansas City for the past 20 years!
Join us on Thursday, April 20th, to enjoy cake, singing, and a special toast to the last 20 years at RORKC’s 20th Birthday Breakfast. Purchase Tickets.
As 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!
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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)
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.
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.
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 recently 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.
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.
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!
By former Community Council Chair, Anne Blessing
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.
By 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 birthday, 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.
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 celebrated its 20th anniversary with a Birthday Breakfast fundraising event at the Uptown Theater.
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.
316 W 63rd St
Kansas City, MO 64113
From 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.
Towns Center Barnes & Noble
4751 West 117th Street
Leawood, KS 66211
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.
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
Bilingual or Spanish books
Books must be delivered to our office:
KU Med Support Services Facility
2100 W. 36th Ave, Suite 116,
Reading 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.
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.
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!
Our 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.
ROR National Medical Director Presents in KC at Regional Pediatrics Conference
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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 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 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.
Elizabeth 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.
We 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.”
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.