Tag Archives: power of reading

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. 

 

sallie book

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.

 

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!

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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
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.

 

 

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!

 

 

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CAPS Students Volunteer Reading Project

blog post about CAPS

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.  mood scale CAPS blog post

 

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!

 

 

 

First Book Pick Up by Jenny 9-2015 (compressed)

Free Books from First Books

We are so grateful to First Book, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing equal access to literacy and educational opportunities for children in need, for supplying for free over 500,000 new children’s books to organizations in Kansas City this September. RORKC received 1780 new books for use in our well-child checkups and waiting rooms. Janice and Jenny, our tireless and talented book coordinator and volunteer manager, lined up with representatives of dozens of other local agencies to receive these fabulous free books for our kiddos. Thanks also to our wonderful friends at Turn the Page KC and LINC for organizing this event to benefit our community of young readers.

First Book Pick Up by Jenny 9-2015 (compressed)

Turn the Page Dads

KC Dads Read

As Father’s Day approaches, Mayor Sly James and our partners at LINC and Turn the Page KC have launched a campaign to encourage KC fathers to spend time reading to their children. Between now and June 21, share a photo of yourself or a dad you know reading to his kids on our Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter using the hashtag #DadsTurnThePage and you could win Royals tickets! Watch this video for more details.

Turn the Page Dads

Anuva receives the Bronze Presidential Award

Volunteer Spotlight

We would like to put a volunteer spotlight on one of our youngest volunteers, Anuva Kolli (pictured above). She may be little, but she is doing big things to help in her community. This 9-year-old 3rd grader at Horizon Elementary in Desoto, KS, has been honored with the bronze level Presidential Community Service Award for the past two years, completing a total of over 70 hours of volunteer work. Not too shabby for someone who won’t even be able to drive for seven more years.

Anuva and her family have volunteered for Reach Out and Read Kansas City for many years, and this award reflects her service for us and several other agencies. She makes toys for animals at Wayside Waifs, participates in Girl’s on the Run, organized a book drive and continuously labels books to send to Reach Out and Read partner clinics.

Anuva says, “ I want everyone to enjoy reading as much as I do.  Every day I read about 5 hours”.  Anuva enjoys mysteries and funny stories. Right now she is starting the Nancy Drew series.

Anuva receives the Bronze Presidential Award

Anuva receives the Bronze Presidential Award

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Macy’s campaign benefits RIF & ROR-KC

Once again RIF has partnered with Macy’s to create Be Book Smart, a national partnership to raise awareness and support of children’s literacy. The effort helps RIF provide free books and literacy resources to children nationwide, and Reach Out and Read KC is fortunate to be the program’s local recipient.

Between June 21 –July 12, 2015, shoppers at any of the Greater Kansas City area Macy’s can give $3 to provide a book for a child in need and receive a coupon for $10 off a $30 in-store purchase at any Macy’s nationwide. The discount can be applied on purchases made that day or in the future. Macy’s will give 100% of every $3 to RIF. New this year, in addition to the $10 off $30 discount, Macy’s will also offer 20% off a future purchase.

This year’s campaign has a special focus on summer reading. Research shows that reading books during the summer is the most effective way for a child to maintain and even improve their literacy skills. Each coupon sold during the campaign provides a book for a child and just as important, the spark to keep them reading during the school year and all summer long.

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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

Executive Director, Mark Mattison

Giving Thanks, Giving Literacy

Executive Director, Mark Mattison

Executive Director, Mark Mattison, in ROR-KC book processing room

Everyone knows the holidays are a time for thanks giving and for giving back. As I reflect on the past year, I am so very grateful to have been entrusted with this wonderful opportunity to spend every day giving back alongside the mighty staff of five, 46 clinic partners, and over 200 active volunteers of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. Also, I am thankful to you, for your past support and ongoing commitment to helping ensure every child in Kansas City will enter school ready to learn.

 

Since coming on board as Executive Director in September, I have been challenged, inspired, and ever-so-honored to play a part in the important work we do and the contributions we make to improve the lives of children. Not only do I hear it every day in testimonials from our volunteers and clinic staff, in a recent Parent Survey 98% of our families reported getting a book at their child’s well-child visit, 95% of families reported getting literacy advice, and, as a result, 82% of families reported reading to their children three or more times per week!

 

Reach Out and Read Kansas City Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, during a well-child visit with four month old Katie.

ROR-KC Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, during well-child visit with four month old Katie

As you take a moment to give thanks this holiday season, I invite you to share your good fortune by also giving the gift of literacy – truly a gift that keeps on giving. A donation of just $60 to Reach Out and Read Kansas City provides a child with their own starter library, a new book received at each well-child visit from birth to 5 years old.

 

Your gift will spark the joy of learning in thousands of children throughout Greater Kansas City. Thanks to you and other advocates, in the next twelve months medical providers will meet with parents over 72,000 times to prescribe the importance of sharing books with their children. 30,000 children will take home a brand new age, language, and culturally appropriate book from their well-child pediatric appointment. And volunteers trained and provided by Reach Out and Read Kansas City will model book sharing skills as they read to children in clinic waiting rooms.

 

Research confirms that parents who receive literacy counseling from their health care providers, according to the Reach Out and Read model, are more likely to read to their young children, read more often, and have more children’s books in their homes. Over 70% of the children who visit Reach Out and Read Kansas City clinics come from low income families, and many of these families are struggling just to cover the basic necessities of food, rent, utilities, and transportation. They wish they could provide books for their children but their hard earned paycheck just doesn’t stretch that far. With your gift, Reach Out and Read Kansas City can help these children start the first day of kindergarten having experienced the joy of owning their own book, ready to read and learn.

 

Best wishes and Happy Holidays,

Mark Mattison
Executive Director

Hooked on Books Mouse Logo jpg

Hooked on Books Is Back

Hooked on Books Mouse Logo jpgImagine growing up and not having a book to call your own. That’s the reality for many children in the Kansas City area. Our local schools, however, are helping change that by joining our 2015 Hooked on Books School Challenge.

 

Between January 12th and February 27th, schools throughout the metropolitan area will collect new and gently used books for disadvantaged children ages newborn to 14. “Many children, as well as adults, take owning a book for granted,” says Nancy Fuller, Reach Out and Read Kansas City’s Hooked on Books Chair. “The drive is a fun, simple way for children to help children and to raise greater awareness about literacy in our community.”

 

It’s easy to get involved. Complete an online application to be a school participant in the challenge. Donate your time and register to be a Hooked on Books volunteer. For nonprofit organizations and schools serving at-risk children, apply to be a book recipient. For further information, visit our event page or contact Nancy Fuller, Hooked on Books Chair, at 913-940-8219.

 
The school that collects the most books per student within the designated time period will be recognized at our 9th Annual Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast on March 6th. In addition, the winning school will be awarded a $500 Scholastic Books gift certificate and an assembly celebrating their accomplishment. The biggest winners of all, however, are the disadvantaged children. Without your school’s participation, they may not realize the joy of having a book to call their own.

 

“I think both Hooked on Books and Reach Out and Read Kansas City are key players in improving literacy and access to books for some of the neediest children in Kansas City,” says Fuller. In fact, over the past 15 years, nearly 795,000 books have been collected through the school challenge and distributed to agencies and schools serving lower-income families.

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2013-2014 National Annual Report

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We’re thrilled to share our  2013-2014 National Annual Report. 25 years ago doctors created Reach Out and Read in one exam room, in one hospital, and in one city. Today, it has grown to impact 4 million children with 5000 sites in all 50 states.

 

Here’s a short recap of our 2013-2014 year:

-Received David M. Rubenstein Award from Library of Congress in recognition of our groundbreaking work to advance early literacy
-Received a 1 million book donation from Scholastic
-Attended Clinton Global Initiative America meeting, made new commitments with Too Small to Fail, AAP, and Scholastic

 

We hope you’ll take a few minutes to check it out and celebrate an amazing year (and 25-year journey in early literacy) with us. Thank you for your continual support and partnership!

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Reach Out and Read on The Today Show

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 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.

Olivia, age 5

Fall Fundraising Campaign Kicks Off

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.

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Guest Blog- Party With a Purpose at 3rd Annual Books & Brews Event

The following post is a guest blog from Libby Hastert, an online content writer, and a volunteer, close friend, and supporter of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. To view her original post on her own blog, please click here.

 

“I grew up with books. Literally sitting on them in the classroom and sleeping on them during naptime. Before I could even read, I had an innate understanding of what books represented.

 

Teachers had them. Librarians had them. My parents and older sisters had them.

 

Other things these individuals had? Intelligence and independence. So, naturally, I deduced that reading books equated to power. And I wasn’t too off base. Reading books ushers in an exciting world of possibilities that stems from newfound knowledge — knowledge acquired from reading books.

 

The funny thing about my obsession with books is how much I struggled with reading at an early age. It wasn’t my missing two front teeth, knocked out on the Jungle Gym, that kept me fumbling over sentences, though. For whatever reason, I was a late bloomer when it came to reading. Fortunately for me, I had parents, teachers, tutors, and older sisters to show me the way, introducing me to the mischievous adventures of “Junie B. Jones” and so many other action-packed titles.

 

Sadly, we live in a world where many children — our very own Kansas City youth included — don’t have the access to the overabundance of resources I had. In fact, many do not even have books to call their own.

 

Why Children’s Literacy  Matters

 

According to the National Education Association (NEA), children from families below the poverty line are less likely to experience daily, in-home reading. In another study, the NEA discovered that in-home reading plays an instrumental role in healthy child development and enhanced reading proficiency.

 

What makes the absence of reading so problematic?

 

What’s most concerning about this phenomenon, is that the early years of child development have a large impact on the learners children become.

 

“Children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first three years of life, when their brains grow to 90 percent of their eventual adult weight,” reported the U.S. Department of Education.

 

As a result, the absence of reading becomes a problem for many kids well before the school years begin. With many children not having access to the basic necessities they need to flourish, promoting literacy through local programs like Reach Out & Read – Kansas City (RORKC) is more important than ever.

 

Party With a Purpose

 

As somebody who was fortunate enough to have a collection of books so large it poured off the bookshelves, onto the floor and into my bed, I can appreciate the wonderful efforts RORKC makes annually. And as a proud volunteer, I’ll take a moment to brag.

 

RORKC annually provides over 72,000 new books for more than 28,000 low-income children who are 0-5 years old. Book donations are issued during well-child visits at our local, partner clinic sites. Children in the program ultimately acquire a 13-book library before entering the education system. 

 

Books & Brews

 

Fundraising isn’t all bubbly and door prizes. However, twice a year we host events, designed to raise money and awareness about children’s literacy in the Kansas City area. This week, Kansas Citians have the opportunity to party for a purpose at our 3rd annual Books & Brews fundraiser.

 

Below is the scoop on the upcoming, not-to-be-missed event.

 

Who: 

You’ll find lots of book-loving folks who want to drink beer while promoting literacy.

 

When:

Friday, September 26, 2014, at 5 pm sharp.

 

Where:

The Kansas City Public Library Central Branch. Snacks, libations, and a raffle will be held inside, and a beer garden party, underneath the lights of the Kansas City skyline, will be located on the rooftop.

 

What:

Party with a purpose. Our third annual Books & Brews event comes complete with an evening of libations, tasty bites, and a fun raffle and door prizes.

 

Drinking beer is fun, but you can do that any other night of the week.  Drinking beer and raising money for children’s literacy is awesome, and it’s something you can only enjoy one night a year.

 

To attend this evening of entertainment, click the link and make your donation in the form of a ticket purchase”