Tag Archives: early learning

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!

Carol Whitehead

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary: We Love Our Volunteers!

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 and family

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”

 

 

 

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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.

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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Library and Museum Partnership

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

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

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

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Welcome Lucia

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

Reach Out and Read Community Council!

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

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

 

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

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ROR-KC Welcomes New Manager of Volunteer & Constituent Relations

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Cheptoo

Meet Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner

“Any child in this world cannot succeed without reading and I think parents have to understand that they’re the ones that are capable and have the ability to open the doors for their children.”

 
Meet the inspiring Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, one of two special guest readers for the 9th Annual Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast, in this video interview as she shares her beliefs on early literacy and the vital importance of reading.  Buy tickets now!

 

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We Asked, You Answered; Your Dollars at Work

Last December we sent up the bat signal asking for your help in our end-of-the-year appeal. Like the super heroes you are, you answered our call and we were overwhelmed by your response. We are so thankful for your dedication and continued support which allows us to ensure Kansas City children are prepared to enter school ready to succeed.Over the last several weeks, you have contributed nearly $5500! 

This means 1100 new books and early literacy advice will be reaching the hands of local children. Wow!

 

We would like to give special recognition to two outstanding contributors for their donation of $1000 each, which single-handedly will provide 400 children with new books and early literacy advice! Thank you Kris & Frank Cappo and Baby & Child Associates for your generosity. We are so grateful to everyone that has contributed, allowing us to impact the lives of community children.

 

Super Hero Contributors:

Bethene Gregg                                            Joy Winter                                            Sally Clark
Brenda Pfannenstiel                                    Larry A. Rues                                       Stephanie & Richard Grinage
Brian & Sarah Bracco                                  Lavonne Ridder                                    Sue Von Geyso
Bryce Dickmeyer                                         Lisa Riojas                                            Susan Conner
Carolyn & Ken Sabatini                               Lynn Hardy                                           Suzanne & Paul Koontz
Cynthia & Michael Fry                                 Marny & John Sherman                        Sylvan & Merna Siegler
Don & Luella Farmer                                   Mary Brink                                            Sylvia Coles
Esther Sunderland                                      Maureen & Bill Berkley                         Tasanaporn Pitiyanuvath
Jean Hiersteiner                                          Nancy Spangler                                    W. Mitchell & Dorothy Elliott
Jill & Brannan Riffel                                     Pam & Greg Shaw
Jo E Denton                                                Roger Lambson & Victoria Thomas

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Reach Out and Read on The Today Show

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 The Today Show: “Hope To It”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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