Tag Archives: reach out and read kansas city

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
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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Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive

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

 

Location:

Towns Center Barnes & Noble

4751 West 117th Street

Leawood, KS 66211

Google Map

 

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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Promoting Print Awareness

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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We Did It! Macy’s Thanks for Sharing Campaign reaches goal

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A big thanks to all you Macy’s Cardholders who joined Macy’s Thanks For Sharing. As the result of a partnership between Macy’s and Reading is Fundamental (RIF), the Thanks for Sharing campaign raised $15 million for charities like us! This means more books for kids in our clinics. We are so grateful to Macy’s, RIF, and all who supported us in this campaign.

 

Thanks for Sharing will continue until December 31, so there is still time to enjoy the savings! Visit any Macy’s store to learn more.

 

 

 

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A Record-Breaking Year for RORKC

YIRsquareOur 2016 Year in Review report is here, and we are helping more families than ever. Between July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016, RORKC distributed 83,672 books. That’s over 6,000 more than the last fiscal year! To see more of what we have accomplished recently, and to hear from some of our volunteers and medical providers view the full report.

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A Klass Act

ROR National Medical Director Presents in KC at Regional Pediatrics Conference

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The Reach Out and Read program and message of “Books Build Better Brains” took center stage on September 22, as Dr. Perri Klass, National Medical Director of ROR presented both the morning’s keynote speech and a subsequent working session to an audience of 200 pediatric care providers. Klass was the featured speaker at the 49th Annual Clinical Advances in Pediatrics Symposium, presented by Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics at Children’s Mercy Park. She explained and provided evidence supporting the many benefits young children garner by being read aloud to. Additionally, she urged attendees to take advantage of the special relationship between families and pediatric providers to support parenting practices that promote early brain development through literacy-related practices. Dr. Klass suggested the message to parents should include, “your baby will love books, because your baby loves you,” and therefore will love and look forward to time spent together sharing books.

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The Benefits of Bilingual Books

The Reach Out and Read program has a huge impact on every family we serve because we are able to provide books that meet the specific needs of different families. Our clinics encounter patients who are culturally diverse and often unable to read or speak English.

 

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For these families, we offer bilingual and foreign language books in 27 different languages from Arabic to Vietnamese at well-child visits for ages 0-5 years old. Children in these families will usually go on to attend an English-speaking school, making bilingual books especially valuable in helping them get ready for kindergarten.

Bilingual books have a number of unique benefits: They prevent language delay that some English language learners may experience, and they build vocabulary in the reader’s home language. However, the benefits of bilingual books go far beyond the measurable language effects. Here are some of the benefits of the foreign language and bilingual books that RORKC offers:

 

1. Bilingual books encourage parents to read in their home language. Parents who do not speak any or very much English may not be comfortable reading English-only books to their children. Being read and talked to (in any language) is important for building those pre-literacy skills so babies can be ready to learn once they start school. Strong pre-literacy skills in the child’s home language prepare their brains to learn reading or writing and improve their capacity to learn both languages. For very young children, learning a language is not the only goal: Building strong neural connections is also important.

 

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Somali is one of our 27 languages for bilingual book options.

2. Bilingual books build vocabulary in both languages. Bilingual children may have smaller vocabularies in each language than their peers (though their combined vocabulary is often the same or greater). This can become a problem once they begin school, especially since “playground language” does not expose children to concepts that they need to know for school in their second language. Bilingual books familiarize children with “academic language” in both language, preparing them to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

 

 

3. Bilingual books help children feel included. It is important for children to find themselves represented in stories and illustrations. If their family speaks a language that is not common where they live, they may begin to feel alienated. For languages like Burmese and Urdu, it can be hard to find any resources for children at all. Bilingual books and foreign language books can provide children with much-needed representations of their home language, or even their race and culture.

 

4. Bilingual books highlight other cultures. Bilingual books are also a wonderful way to help young children learn about and become more accepting of other cultures and people. Learning about other people can boost children’s social and emotional development.

 

5. Bilingual books are fun. We know reading is a lot fun. Languages can be fun too!

 

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Welcome, Ashley, Mary, Kathleen, and Liz

Reach Out and Read Kansas City is pleased to have four new members on our Community Council. Join us in welcoming Ashley Bieck, Liz Vasquez, Mary Olive Thompson, and Kathleen Johanson.

 

Ashley

Ashley Bieck is the Manager of National Medical Society Engagement at UnitedHealthcare, focusing on building external relationships and making sure the care provider point of view is well-represented. She previously worked for the American Academy of Family Physicians for eight years in workforce development and policy. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Biology, as well as a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Ashley loves spending time with her husband, Nathan, and five year old daughter, Maddie, and volunteering for a host of community and governmental organizations. Ashley shares the following about her commitment to community service:

 

I have dedication for helping the underserved in the Kansas City community and have tried to focus my volunteer career life on programs related to health, housing and hope. I would welcome the opportunity for additional service. And, that is what it is, service to an organization you are passionate about.

 

 

 

Mary

Mary Olive Thompson is the Director of Library Outreach and Community Engagement at Kansas City Public Library. She holds Master’s degrees in both Social Work, and in Library and Information Science. In addition, Mary has over ten years of experience working with a variety of community and social service agencies in the Lawrence KS and the Kansas City Metro areas. She and her fiancé are also expecting their first child in December and couldn’t be happier for the coming life changes! After reading The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, Mary found a deep appreciation for reading aloud to children. She shares the following about how the principle in The Read Aloud Handbook led her to RORKC:

I find these same principles in the Reach Out and Read program and would love to provide my skills and sweat equity to help RORKC continue to build the personal library of children across the metro, create a reading-rich environment, and encourage parents and caregivers to read aloud to their children.

 

 

 

Kathleen

Kathleen Johansen is the Senior Communications Liaison at The University of Kansas Hospital. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, a Master of Science degree in Health Education, and she has over ten years of experience in Communications and Journalism. Kathleen is also an active member of Junior League where she has a reputation for being a hard worker and very creative. Kathleen shares the following about her passion for reading aloud:

 

My love for reading and sharing bedtime stories with my son is why I want to join the Reach Out and Read Community Council. I will never forget the first time my son read along with me during his favorite bedtime story, “Old Hat, New Hat.” Oh, the joy! He was barely two-years-old but had already become a voracious reader. I started reading to him before he was born and he was reading on his own by the time he turned three.

 

 

 

 

20160817_182522Elizabeth Vasquez is a Physician’s Assistant at Health Partners Olathe, a Reach Out and Read KC partner clinic. She delivers the Reach Out and Read program to the children and families she sees in her practice and represents their sites (Olathe and Growing Futures) at our quarterly Clinic Coalition meetings. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies. Along with a love for reading and sharing books, she has a deep understanding of the need for and importance of our program and its role in fostering learning and healthy brain development. She says the following about her love of reading:

 

I started reading at a young age and was encouraged by my parents greatly and some of my fondest memories are of my parents reading to me nightly, us reading out loud together, and going to library readings.  All of these early opportunities aided in writing, comprehension for later tests through school, and helped in general with all of my school subjects. Reading and writing have been a very big part of my life, and I would like to pass this on to other families throughout my work career.

 

 

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RORKC Welcomes New VISTA Volunteer, Sydney

 

Sydney4We are thrilled to welcome our new Communications Specialist, Sydney Milner. Sydney joins our team as a full-time volunteer through the AmeriCorps VISTA program.

 

Sydney is from St. Louis, and she holds  Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Arkansas. She describes herself as an avid reader, and last year she spent 6 months living and volunteering at high-poverty schools in South Africa where she realized how many opportunities can open for young children just by improving their literacy skills. She says “I am excited to join Reach Out and Read Kansas City and help promote their mission of encouraging family reading throughout my year of service.”

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RORKC’s Back-to-School Re-stock Our Bookshelves Campaign

Reach Out and Read Kansas City's Back-to-School Restock Our Bookshelves Campaign

Reach Out and Read Kansas City needs your help restocking our bookshelves for the new school year. Last year, we provided books and literacy advice to children from birth to 5 years old at 77,792 well-child checkups. That’s 6,584 more checkups than the previous year!

Summer is always an especially busy time in our clinics as families get ready for the coming school year. Since we are serving more children than ever, our need for books has increased and our inventory is being depleted. Help us restock our shelves so that we can continue to provide brand-new, developmentally appropriate books for the nearly 30,000 children who we serve each year.

For just $10, you can provide books and literacy counseling at 2 well-child checkups. Help us reach our goal of $10,000 by September 15. That is 2,000 brand-new books and literacy counseling for children in the Kansas City area.

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Books on TAP 2016 Tickets Available

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Reach Out and Read Kansas City’s Fall Fundraiser: Books on TAP

 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
5pm – 8pm

1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway
Mission Woods, Kansas 66205
Google Map


Tickets $25 advance, $35 at the door

RORKC invites young professionals to attend its 5th annual Books on TAP fall fundraiser on October 19, at the 1900 Building, located at the corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and State Line Road . Come together with friends -old and new- to celebrate RORKC’s mission of preparing our community’s youngest children for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. Drinks, light fare and entertainment will be provided.

Purchase Tickets

Your ticket includes:
Appetizers and desserts
3 Drink coupons
1 Raffle ticket
Live entertainment

Every year, Reach Out and Read Kansas City provides more than 83,000 new, culturally, and developmentally appropriate books and literacy advice to nearly 30,000 low-income children, birth to age 5, and their families during well-child visits at 51 partner clinics located throughout the metro. Through Reach Out and Read, each child can build a 15-book library before they enter kindergarten. For many families, these are the only books in their home. By attending Books On Tap, you are providing enough support to purchase 5 books – a full third of their 15-book library!

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Dine at 39 Rainbow Restaurants to Benefit RORKC

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Dine at select 39th and Rainbow Blvd restaurants during the month of July and RORKC will receive a portion of the proceeds. Eateries include Five Guys Burgers and Fries, topp’d pizza and salads, IHOP, Subway, and Pita Pit (to open in late July).

Google Map for 39 Rainbow

Also, bring your new or gently used book donations to the 39th and Rainbow Holiday Inn Express lobby for our month-long book drive!

See the Facebook event

Thank you to LANE4 property group and Page Communications, as well as our neighbors at 39Rainbow for making this happen!

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Summer Reading Sure is Fun!

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Image courtesy of Reach Out and Read National Center

 

Summer has officially begun, and that means we get to experience the many joys of the season: Warm weather, ice cream, and many reading opportunities for the whole family. For young children (0-5years), summer can mean fun activities that make sticking to reading routines difficult. For school-aged children, summer break can result in summer slide—learning setbacks that result from time away from the classroom. Encouraging children to read through the summer can put them at an advantage for the rest of the year, and there are many ways to overcome the challenges of summer reading. Here are some tips for for keeping your little ones reading through the summer:

 

1. Let your child choose what to read. From our friends at First Book: “Kids will always be more excited about reading, if they can choose what to read,” says Stephanie Phelix, Library Media Specialist at Belle Forest Community School in Memphis, TN.
If you are having trouble coming up with summer reading ideas, check out these picture books about summer.

 

2. Sign up for a summer reading program. Many local libraries provide incentives for children who meet reading goals, and programs are available for very young ages. Some KC area libraries with summer reading programs are:

Mid-Continent Public Library
Kansas City Public Library
Johnson County Public Library

If you can’t make it out to the library, Scholastic offers an online summer reading program as well.

 

3. Incorporate reading into other fun summer activities. You know that hour between eating and jumping in the pool? Perfect time to read! RIF suggests some other ways to have fun reading, such as having a “book-nic” or a combined picnic and story time.

 

KC area libraries are a great resource for free or inexpensive summer reading resources, events, and story times. However, home libraries are also important for developing young readers’ literacy skills. To help us provide books to KC’s youngest children through the summer and all year, consider donating to RORKC.

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Enjoy your summer reading!

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ROR Leaders Come Together at National Conference

RORKC’s Executive Director, Mark Mattison, and Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, attended the ROR National Conference in Boston, May 11-13. Of greatest benefit to them was getting together with leadership of other Reach Out and Read programs to share ideas and best practices, as well as a wonderful opportunity to put faces to names and voices of folks we work with regularly around the country.

 

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On multiple occasions throughout the conference RORKC was acknowledged as an exemplary program. Most significantly, a video of our founder, Dr. Jean Harty, was used to introduce the session on implementing the 0-6mos program nationwide, acknowledging her insistence that it always be a part of KC program. Other takeaways of note were a commitment from National to begin providing content for grant applications connecting outside research in early brain development to the ROR program, and Sallie connecting with other nurse practitioners and making plans to present together on the ROR program at the National NP Conference this summer. The conference was sponsored through a generous grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and other corporate sponsors.

 

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Chatter Matters: Why it is Important for Parents to Talk to Children

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 she recently gave a two-part presentation called “Parent Talk” about why it is important to engage in frequent, high-quality talk with young children. Her presentations were so informative and well-received that we would like to share that same message with you!

 

Babies love to hear your voices.  While in the womb, they heard your voices, as well as those who were around you!  A fascinating study had women read to their babies before the birth.  After the birth, babies listened to recordings of their mother and recordings of a stranger reading the same story – they were much more interested in listening to the story recorded by their mothers, a familiar sound!

 

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Photos courtesy of Reach Out and Read National Center.

For children to learn to talk, they have to hear lots and lots of talking.  The first 3 years of life are the MOST sensitive for development of later language skills.  If babies do not hear lots of conversation, they lose an opportunity for developing strong connections in the brain that help them to communicate.    When you talk to your baby, connections between neurons are formed that will help them learn to speak.   Research tells us that the more words children hear between birth and three, the more words they know at 18 months of age and at 3 years of age. Sharing a book with your child is one way to get these conversations going!

 

 

The way we talk to young children influences how they think about themselves, how they learn to regulate their behavior, and their willingness to try hard, and keep trying when learning new skills.  For example, in the grocery store – one could tell that running child to “Stop, behave, you know you’re not supposed to run” or, one could say – “hey stop running and come help Mommy find the red apples that you like so much – let’s see if you can put four of them in the bag!   Thank you for being a good helper”.  In the first example, the child is chastised for unacceptable behavior, but doesn’t learn what might be acceptable.  In the second example the child is told what they are not to do, but also told what they can do, and further are given an opportunity to learn about color, and counting and helping.

 

Another example – the preschooler is working on putting a puzzle together – it’s hard for her to find the right spot for some of the pieces.  In one scenario, her caregiver shows her exactly where it goes, she puts it here and is told “great job”. The child is pleased to have the help, and continues to look for that help.  An alternative scenario, is that the caregiver suggests puzzle skills – look at the pieces with smooth edges, and see which ones will go together, or think about matching colors on the different pieces.  The caregiver encourages the child to keep trying different pieces until she finds the right ones.  Praise is given for trying again and again, rather than for being successful!   In the second scenario, the child has learned a lot more – about puzzle making, but more importantly about not giving up when things seem too hard.

 

Dana Suskind’s book, Thirty Million Words:  Building a Child’s Brain, has lots of great ideas 30-million-cover-hi-rezto think about when being in conversation with your children.  She presents the research that explains importance of being in conversation with children in an easy to read and understand way, and reminds us of the impact that our conversations can have on children, both negative and positive.

 

Bottom line, words matter, and the more words a child hears, the more prepared they are to communicate and to learn as toddlers, kindergarteners and adults!

 

So, go talk to your baby – watch how she reacts to your voice, to your singing.  Even though she won’t talk back with words for many months, she talks back with her eyes and her expressions to let you know that she is definitely listening and learning.

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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.

 

 

GEH Committee

10th Annual Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast: A HUGE Success!

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(Pictured: Brian Gallagher, Director ROR National; Martha Gershun, ROR Supporter; Mark Mattison, Director RORKC; Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, Medical Director ROR Wisconsin)

 

We had a fantastic time at the 10th Annual Green Eggs & Ham breakfast. Over 300 people attended, and we raised $70,000 and counting. That’s 14,000 books that kids in the Kansas City area will receive at our clinics! If you missed the opportunity to contribute, it is not too late: Donate here.
We also heard a wonderful keynote speech from Dr. Dipesh Navsaria. Access the presentation slides here.
Thanks again to our top level sponsors: The Walsh Family and Kelly Family Foundations in honor of Betty Keith; Pamela Miller and Michael Cummings in honor of Mary Jo Williams; Hallmark Cards, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; and to all other sponsors, table hosts and supporters. Because of you, Green Eggs & Ham 2016 was a huge success and tons of fun.

View photo booth pictures

View event pictures

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Hooked on Books 2016 Winner Announced

Our winner for the 2016 Hooked on Books drive is Clear Creek Elementary School! They collected 6711 books,
for an average of 13.4 books per student.

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(Photo Courtesy of Taylor Kelly)

Hooked on Books is our annual city-wide book drive and friendly competition between schools. It originated 17 years ago as a joint initiative of the Junior League of Kansas City and the KC Star. Reach Out and Read KC adopted the program in 2010, and it has continued to be a successful book collection program over the years.

 

The winning school is determined by the ratio of books collected per student, and the winning school receives bragging rights, a $500 gift certificate courtesy of RORKC and Scholastic Books, a celebration assembly, and a teacher gift basket courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen. All participants receive a bookmark and a coupon for a free kid’s pizza at California Pizza Kitchen.

 

This year, we had 19 schools and Rainy Day Books collect a grand total of 24,033 books that will be given to RORKC clinics as well as multiple local nonprofits and schools. With the help of the Junior League of Kansas City and the KC Star, we will be sorting and distributing these books to local agencies during the month of March.

 

Hooked on Books Mouse Logo jpgCongratulations to Clear Creek Elementary, and thank you to all the schools and volunteers who helped us with this year’s Hooked on Books school book drive!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Reach Out and Read Night at California Pizza Kitchen

You are invited to Reach Out and Read night at California Pizza Kitchen on Tuesday, March 1st from 4:30-9:30pm. Not only will there be many kinds of delicious pizza, but a percentage of the proceeds will benefit Reach Out and Read KC. Join us for dinner or order take out or catering for the evening while supporting RORKC. We hope to see you there!

Address: 11655 Ash Street, Leawood, Kansas 66211
Map

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International Book Giving Day

February 14th is not just a day to give candy and flowers to your loved ones–it is also a day focused on encouraging people worldwide to give books to children. International Book Giving Day started as a joint effort between book-lovers in the US and UK in 2012, and it has spread worldwide since then. This year, all of us at Reach Out and Read KC want to make a special effort to celebrate this day, and need your help! Here are three ways you can enjoy International Book Giving Day:

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Read a book with your loved ones. Set aside some time to relax and get comfy with a good book to share with your favorite kiddos. Let us know which book you shared by tweeting us @rorkc!

 

 

Print free bookmarks and bookplates from the International Book Giving Day website.

 

 

Donate to Reach Out and Read KC and we will do the work for you! We will use your donation to order and deliver age-appropriate books for children who visit our clinics for well-child check-ups. Click here to donate, and enter “International book giving day” in the special instructions section. $60 will provide a whole course of books for one child–that’s 15 books!

 

 

The benefits of reading to children are numerous, and we appreciate any and all the work you do to bring about these benefits. We hope you find some time to read and enjoy this year’s International Book Giving Day!

 

 

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10th Annual Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast Speakers Announced!

ds2The 10th Annual Green Eggs and Ham breakfast to benefit Reach Out and Read KC is coming up on Friday, March 4 from 7:30-9am. This is our biggest event of the year! Tickets are on sale now for $60 each, and the last day to get your ticket is February 26. purchase

With contributions from generous individuals and organizations, income from past years’ events have provided as much as ¼ of the organization’s annual income and allowed us annually to deliver over 76,000 new developmentally appropriate children’s books to nearly 30,000 children between the ages of 0 and 5 years old, along with prescriptive early learning advice to parents at 71,000+ well child visits in our 52 partner clinics located throughout greater Kansas City. In addition to supporting a fantastic cause, this breakfast is a lot of fun! Check out this year’s lineup:

Keynote Speaker Guest Reader Guest Reader Master of Ceremonies
Dipesh Navsaria Bryan Busby Neville Miller John Holt
Medical Director,
Reach Out and Read Wisconsin
KMBC-TV KMBC-TV FOX-4 TV

Honorary Hosts: David Oliver, Cemal Gungor, Richard Hu, and John Minnis

Complimentary parking is provided, and a map of the location can be found here. Registration and coffee begins at 7:00am. We look forward to seeing you there!