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!
We are very excited to introduce our new Manager of Volunteer and Constituent Relations, Jenny Horsley.
Jenny worked previously as Director of Volunteer Services at Operation Breakthrough where she handled a variety of volunteers and events, including working with the Reach Out and Read Program. Prior to that, she served as the Disabilities and Mental Health Coordinator at Head Start in Columbia, MO. Jenny holds a degree in Human Development as well as a Master in Business Administration, and is very involved in the nonprofit community. Over the past 10 years she has helped organize special events and raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation, and served in many positions on the Executive Board of the Greater KC Alumnae Chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi, most recently serving as President of the organization.
Jenny proudly shares that she and her husband have two beautiful children, Tegan (age 4) and Connor (age 6), and because she loves reading and sharing books with her children, they love it, too. “My son is excelling in school and my daughter “reads” pictures every day,” she said. “I truly believe in the power of reading and want every child to have this great advantage in life.”
In addition to meeting and working with Reach Out and Read’s amazing volunteers and supporters this summer, Jenny is looking forward to playing volleyball, summer BBQ’s, and cheering on the Royals. Please join us in welcoming Jenny. We are so thrilled to have her on the team!
“Any child in this world cannot succeed without reading and I think parents have to understand that they’re the ones that are capable and have the ability to open the doors for their children.”
Meet the inspiring Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, one of two special guest readers for the 9th Annual Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast, in this video interview as she shares her beliefs on early literacy and the vital importance of reading. Buy tickets now!
The 9th Annual Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast benefiting Reach Out and Read Kansas City is quickly approaching, Friday, March 6th, 7:30-9:00am at the Sheraton Crown Center Exhibit Hall. In addition to being a lot of fun, this is a hugely important event for us. Last year, your support provided a fourth of our annual budget and helped us provide 76,495 new books and prescriptive early literacy advice to 29,836 at-risk children and families.
Tickets are on sale now and going fast – get yours today! Individual tickets starting at $60, must be purchased by Friday, February 27th. Register to sponsor a table or make a tax-deductible donationhere.
We are thrilled to announce this year’s speakers, entertainment, and guests:
Deputy Executive Director,
Kansas City Public Library
Complimentary parking is provided. Registration and coffee service will begin at 7:00. As you arrive enjoy musical entertainment from students of St. Teresa’s Academy and Rockhurst High School. Rumor has it Cat and Fish from The Coterie’s upcoming production of “Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat” will also be making a special appearance.
Come join the party, and do a good deed. Books at home help kids to succeed!
For more information please contact Executive Director Mark Mattison at 913-588-3073 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Out and Read Kansas City has been named sub-recipient in a $3.8 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant awarded to the Children’s Reading Foundation by the U.S. Department of Education. For 2014-2015, we will receive $22,590 to pilot two new early literacy and early learning programs to serve high-poverty communities in the Greater Kansas City area.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to build upon the solid foundation of our existing clinic-based school readiness program by presenting early learning and literacy skills workshops directly to local families,” said Mark Mattison, Executive Director of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. “Following the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s decision to add Kindergarten Readiness to its Big 5 Goals, this grant provides the perfect opportunity for us to do our part by expanding our current role.” Per the terms of the grant, we will be introducing in Kansas City the READY! For Kindergarten and Read Up programs, both developed by the Children’s Reading Foundation and currently operating successfully in chapter sites throughout the U.S. and Canada.
READY! For Kindergarten classes provide training and tools for parents and caregivers, equipping them to help children birth to age five develop strong brain connections, ensuring school success. Studies show nearly 80 percent of children whose parents take part in READY! meet the kindergarten reading readiness standard regardless of family income or ethnicity, compared to 55 percent of children whose parents do not attend.
The Read Up program is a summer literacy program that helps keep reading a part of daily summer routines by providing free books and weekly story times for children birth to eight. The program aims to reverse the “summer slide,” a situation where students lose up to three months of reading skills when school is out. Through this program, Reach Out and Read Kansas City will receive and distribute more than 13,000 books.
The nonprofit National Children’s Reading Foundation is headquartered in Kennewick, Wash. The organization was founded in 1996 with the vision that every child learns to read early and well, thereby reaching his or her full potential in school and life. The reading foundation developed and delivers national programs focused on reading skills and school readiness for children birth to age five. The organization also helps establish local Children’s Reading Foundation chapters in communities across the country. Learn more at: www.readingfoundation.org.
For just $60 you can contribute to a child’s lifetime of success.
Join Reach Out and Read Kansas City in our mission today and help us provide books to thousands of children who need them tomorrow. Donate here.
Every night before she goes to sleep, five-year-old Olivia runs to her book shelf and pulls out her favorite book, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. It takes her less than two minutes to get situated comfortably in her mom’s lap before she hands the book over and says she is ready to read. As her mom begins the story, Olivia soon chimes in line by line, word by word. You see, the book Olivia is so excited to read is a very special book she received at her three-year-old well child checkup from her pediatrician. She has read the story at least two hundred times, but that doesn’t matter. Every night before bed, she gets to escape into the story and become one of the characters, she gets to leave the real world and become part of the book’s fantasy world. Olivia may only be five, but thanks to Reach Out and Read Kansas City, she has already developed a love of reading and is ready to enter kindergarten and succeed.
This is just one success story from Reach Out and Read Kansas City. There are 29,000 more stories of kids just like Olivia who are learning to love books and reading. It is our hope you will help us ensure these children continue to have books to call their own. We want to make sure children enter kindergarten ready to learn, and with your help we can do that. No matter the size of your gift– $5 to sponsor a new book or $60 to sponsor a child throughout the five year program or $250 to sponsor a small clinic–you are making a difference in the lives of Kansas City kids.
April is Volunteer Appreciation month and I must say that after observing our volunteers in action, they really are the back bone of Reach Out and Read. It is always amazing to see how invested they become in our program no matter what they do, whether that’s reading at the clinics, helping in the office, or serving on one of our event committees. Some of our volunteers have been with us for 10 plus years and they continue to come back to dedicate some of their time to Reach Out and Read Kansas City each and every week.
We are truly grateful to every single one of our volunteers. You all help us make a difference in the community, enhance children’s lives, and share with them one of the most precious gifts of all, the gift of reading. Check out some awesome volunteer stories below.
One time a little girl that came into the clinic was very shy. She wouldn’t talk but finally got up the courage to come over to the little table where I was sitting with a book. I started reading Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley. The book has lots of actions. I was doing the actions at first and then she started doing them with me. Before she was called back for her appointment, we were dancing and twirling around the waiting room together, acting out the book we were reading. We both had a lot of fun!
One little boy was never called in to see the doctor, while other kids who were listening with us were. I thought that was odd, until I finished the book and the mother asked if we were done and then they left. They were just there to make an appointment and she stayed through the long book to let her son read with me.
I volunteered one afternoon when a family with six children came into the clinic for their well-child visits. The kids were all into having books read to them that even though I was only scheduled to read for one hour, I stayed for two until they were all done with their appointments. I just really enjoy seeing the smile on all of the children’s faces when I read to them.
If this made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, check out how YOU can become a volunteer with Reach Out and Read Kansas City today by clicking here. There’s no time like the present to give back to our wonderful community and change lives for the better.