Tag Archives: children’s literacy

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Thank You Summer Volunteers!

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:

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primrose Explorer Camp 6-2017 (8)

 

 

Thank you to the  Primrose Adventure Club! These campers volunteered their afternoon to help label a bunch of books for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J-Camp 7-2017 (7)

 

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!

paula

Welcome new Community Council member, Paula!

paulaReach 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.

reading aloud

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary: Reading Aloud Builds Healthy Relationships

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. 

 

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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.

 

Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug

Educating Parents on Safe Sleeping Practices through Children’s Books

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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.

 

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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.

Read the full study.

Janice

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary: An Interview with Janice

JaniceHave 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?

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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.

 

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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!

20th Birthday Breakfast One Week

Only One Week Left to Get Tickets for the 20th Birthday Breakfast!

Blog Post Purchase by

 

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.

 

 

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Hooked On Books Challenge 2017 Was a Huge Success!

IMG_0666This 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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pamela Miller and Michael Cummings

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary: Meet Your Honorary Hosts

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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.

Anthony Meyer

Celebrating our 20th Anniversary: An Interview with Anthony Meyer

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Join our Community Council

Join our Community Council

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

 

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

 

 

 

RESPONSIBILITIES OF A COUNCIL MEMBER:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Candidates should email the Council Development Committee with:

– their resume or bio

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

20th Birthday Breakfast Blog

Sponsorships Available for RORKC 20th Birthday Breakfast!

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

 

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

 

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

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Reach Out & Read KC’s 20 Year Highlights

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

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

On April 20, 2017, Reach Out and Read KC celebrated its 20th anniversary with a Birthday Breakfast fundraising event at the Uptown Theater.

 

 

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holiday book drive

Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive

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

 

Location:

Towns Center Barnes & Noble

4751 West 117th Street

Leawood, KS 66211

Google Map

 

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Promoting Print Awareness

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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Choosing the Best Book for KC Kids

Infant Vision Simulator Card

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Cute Boy w Bag of Books

 

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

 

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

 

 

Mother-And-Son-Silhouette-2

Reach Out and Read Benefits Adolescent Mothers

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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