Tag Archives: Kansas City

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Meet Reach Out and Read’s Breakfast Keynote Speaker! Alastair Heim

AH_AUTHOR_IMAGE_WEBSIZEFor 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

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Through a Doctor’s Eyes: A Generation of Reach Out and Read Kansas City

BABY_AND_CHILD_IMAGE_WEB_SIZEMeet 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.

 

 

Baby and Child is just one of the many clinics that Reach Out and Read Kansas City serves. If you would like to learn more about the clinics we serve, head to our clinic partners page.

 

Help Restock our Shelves

Help Restock Our Bookshelves

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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.

 

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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.

 

Help us ensure every child recieves a book at their well-child visits.

 

Make your gift go further by joining our monthly donating club, the Brain Builders.

 

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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.

 

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Summer Reading Programs in KC!

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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!

 

Library Programs:

 

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

May 15th – July 31st

Kick-Off Parties: happening at all locations – check out when your branch is having theirs!

Highlights:

-Family Story Time

-Family Movie Nights

-Practice your reading skills with Reading Education Assistance Dogs

-Bilingual Craft Times

View more information.

 

Kansas City, Missouri Public Library

Kick-Off Party- May 26th at the Plaza branch with special guest, Jim Cosgrove

Highlights:

-Yoga Storytime

-Rockin’ Rob

-Exotic Animals R Us  Visit

View more information

 

Mid-Continent Library

May 22nd-July 31st

Highlights:

-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

Highlights:

-Summer Storytimes

-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

View more information.

 

Olathe Public Library

May 22nd-July 31st

Kick-Off Party: Tuesday, May 30th, at 10:00 a.m. at Frontier Park in Olathe

Highlights:

-Story Time in the Park

-Family Chess Nights

-Practice your reading skills with Reading Education Assistance Dogs

-Family Movie Nights

-Find Fido Fridays

View more information.

 

North Kansas City Public library

May 27th – August 5th

Kickoff Party: May 27th

Highlights:

-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

-Animal Tales

View more information.

 

Summer Camps:

 

BOOKISH From ABC Preschool

June 27-29
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.

View more information.

 

Upper Room:

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.

View more Information.

 

Other Great Events:

 

Turn the Page Summer Reading Event

June 20th

Sprint Center

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

View the Facebook Event.

 

Sylvester Powell Community Center

Ages 0-6 yrs.

5/1-8/28

M: 10:00-10:30am

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

View more information

 

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program:

1.Read any eight books this summer and record them in this
Summer Reading Journal. Tell us which part of the book is your
favorite, and why.
2.Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between
May 16th and September 5th, 2017.
3.Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured
on the back of the journal
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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November Book Drive

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Guidelines for Book Drives:

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

Books for young children (birth to five)

No Religious Books

No chapter or adult books

 

Recommendations:

Picture Books

Bilingual or Spanish books

Board Books

 

Books must be delivered to our office:

KU Med Support Services Facility

2100 W. 36th Ave, Suite 116,

Google Map

Monday-Friday, 8:30-3

 

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Choosing the Best Book for KC Kids

Infant Vision Simulator Card

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Cute Boy w Bag of Books

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Hooked on Books Donations Benefit Local Agencies

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

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

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Salvy the Gold Glove Catcher

salvyOne of our awesome supporters wrote this song for his brother’s school choir and it has become a bit of a hit, so he added a charity on with the song to get our name out there.  Lucky us!

Take a listen and enjoy.

 

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