Tag Archives: 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. 

 

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Reach Out and Read came into being because pediatricians who specialized in children’s development were concerned about their observations that parents were not in conversation with their infants and children; parents were not in close physical contact with their infants and children.  The strategy of having a health care provider give a prescription to caregivers to share books with children, along with the gift of a new, developmentally and culturally appropriate book, was the pediatricians’ response to those concerns.

 

Reading aloud, (or book sharing – making up one’s own stories based on the pictures, talking about the pictures on the page – the colors, the objects) is a time when caregivers can experience serve-and-return communication.  The caregiver reads/comments, and then listens/watches for the child’s response, and then reads/shares some more.  It is a great way for children and caregivers to connect.

 

Babies are attuned to the voices of people in their environment even before they are born.  After birth, their brain is changing rapidly, in part based on their environment.  The first 1000 days are the most sensitive times for the development of vision, hearing, language, and emotional attachment.  Connections between neurons can either be strengthened or pruned during this sensitive time.  One hopes that connections that are helpful to children’s well-being will be the ones strengthened – and this can be a challenge, especially for families who are living in stressful circumstances.

 

Sharing a book while snuggling a baby or young child strengthens important connections in the brain. Snuggling/being in conversation ameliorates the negative physiologic effects of toxic stress (stress that is unremitting, or intense, or frequent) and fosters the development of close emotional bonds. Reading aloud or sharing books of course helps build vocabulary and enhances a child’s readiness to learn in school, but most importantly, sharing that book makes a connection between things baby loves most – your voice, your closeness, and  books –a love for caregivers plus a love of books translates to a love of learning and a healthy life.

 

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Summer Reading Programs in KC!

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Days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer, which means one thing: it’s almost summer vacation! While students are rejoicing, it can be a difficult time for parents as they try to prevent the “summer slide”.  This refers to the possible learning setbacks that come as a result of time away from the classroom. Luckily, KC has numerous libraries and educational camps that combat the “summer slide”! We’ve put together a list for you of library programs, summer camps, and events to keep your kids reading this summer!

 

Library Programs:

 

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

May 15th – July 31st

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

Highlights:

-Family Story Time

-Family Movie Nights

-Practice your reading skills with Reading Education Assistance Dogs

-Bilingual Craft Times

View more information.

 

Kansas City, Missouri Public Library

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

Highlights:

-Yoga Storytime

-Rockin’ Rob

-Exotic Animals R Us  Visit

View more information

 

Mid-Continent Library

May 22nd-July 31st

Highlights:

-A Story Time with Royals Mascot, Slugger!

-Story Times for families, babies and toddlers, and Pre-Schoolers.

-A visit from the SEA LIFE Mobile Touch Tank

-Practice your reading skills with Reading Education Assistance Dogs.

Need more information? View the Mid-Continent Library Website.

 

Johnson County Public Library:

 May 15th –July 31st

Highlights:

-Summer Storytimes

-Practice your reading skills with Reading Education Assistance Dogs

-Dinosaur O’Dell’s Build a Better World

-Family English-Spanish Storytime

-Marty the Magician’s Magic Workshop

View more information.

 

Olathe Public Library

May 22nd-July 31st

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

Highlights:

-Story Time in the Park

-Family Chess Nights

-Practice your reading skills with Reading Education Assistance Dogs

-Family Movie Nights

-Find Fido Fridays

View more information.

 

North Kansas City Public library

May 27th – August 5th

Kickoff Party: May 27th

Highlights:

-Storytimes are offered 3 times a week (Monday @ 11:00 a.m., Tuesday @ 7:00 p.m., Wednesday @ 11:00 a.m.)

-Family Programs are every other Saturday at 11:00 a.m

-Mad Science will present their Build a Better World program.

-Bricks4Kids, a hands-on LEGO program

-Animal Tales

View more information.

 

Summer Camps:

 

BOOKISH From ABC Preschool

June 27-29
Through the minds and hearts of children, books will be a part of their lives forever. Bookish will open the cover of your child’s imagination by guiding their curiosity with a visit from a real book author, taking a field trip to a real library, writing & illustrating our own books, and delight bringing childhood classics to life with dramatic play.

View more information.

 

Upper Room:

June 5th – July 28th

Summer Camp Daily Schedule:

8 am – 3:30 pm: Academic instruction time. This includes English Language Arts (ELA) in the morning. Lunch is provided, and the afternoon consists of math and other academic enrichment activities. ELA & Math will be our primary focus during these hours.

3:30 – 6pm: Various recreation & enrichment activities are offered during this time until parents pick up their child. An afternoon snack is also provided.

View more Information.

 

Other Great Events:

 

Turn the Page Summer Reading Event

June 20th

Sprint Center

Join Turn the Page for a FREE summer reading celebration at Sprint Center! Mayor James and Turn the Page KC volunteers will lead an afternoon full of STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts, and math – activities. Every child will take home a bag of FREE books and resources

View the Facebook Event.

 

Sylvester Powell Community Center

Ages 0-6 yrs.

5/1-8/28

M: 10:00-10:30am

Story Time with Miss Diann.  Turn your preschooler into an avid reader before they even start school! Reading aloud to young children encourages learning development and helps prepare them for independent reading down the line. Miss Diann will read a story and help children participate in a fun art activity. Parents participation encouraged during art lesson and required for supervision during story time. $1/child, no class 5/29, 7/3

View more information

 

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program:

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

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary: We Love Our Volunteers!

Volunteers are vital to the mission of Reach Out and Read Kansas City.  With a small staff, we rely on volunteers to help make our program successful. In celebration of National Volunteer Month, we’re highlighting  3 volunteers that make our program great.  Sally, Carol, and Justin are volunteer readers at different partner clinics throughout KC.  Our volunteer readers help create a literacy-rich environment by sharing books with children and modeling good reading behaviors for their families.

 

Sally and family

Sally began volunteering  15 years ago after retiring from her job as an English teacher. While looking for a volunteer opportunity, her friend suggested she get involved with RORKC.  Since then, she’s been sharing books with families at CMH Special Care Clinic a few times a week.

 

 

On the importance of making reading fun:  During my visit to the clinic to meet Sally,  I was able to watch her in action.  This morning the clinic was busy and there were two boys sitting near the reading table.  When Sally approached them, they told her they didn’t like to read.  That is until Sally brought over 3 different books, one about the heroes of 9/11, one about different cars, and one about the ocean.  By the time they were called into their doctor, they were enthralled in their books. Sally works hard to make sure that every child finds a book that they can enjoy in the waiting room.  “Reading is important and should be fun, that’s why I tried to give each of the boys a few options,” Sally told me.

 

Why she enjoys volunteering: “Being a retired English teacher, I think its important to share about early literacy and I also enjoy  meeting new families in the clinic and get to continue to build relationships with them as they come repeatedly over the years”

 

 

 

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About 6 years ago, Carol, retired from teaching Kindergarten and was looking for a volunteer opportunity that involved children and literacy.  She came across an ad for a volunteer orientation at RORKC and signed up! Since then, she’s been a dedicated reader at a few of our clinics, setting up the reading table.  Carol also writes the Spanish translation in English books underneath the words because she sees a large number of families who need bilingual books where she volunteers.

 

Favorite Book to Share: Green Eggs & Ham

 

On the importance of reading: “As a kindergarten teacher for many years, I’m aware of how important early literacy and school readiness are. I believe that the involvement of community volunteers in clinic settings, where the authority of the physicians adds importance, is very effective.”

 

Why she continues to volunteer with RORKC:  “Recently a newly-arrived immigrant family who spoke only Swahili came in so their youngest child could get a physical to enroll in school, the person accompanying them explained. Although the sweet little girl was very solemn and shy, she was attracted to the reading table and understood through gestures that she could choose a book and a toy to keep. It’s heartwarming moments like these that make me grateful for this opportunity!”

 

 

 

Justin is a volunteer reader at Samuel Rodgers Health Clinic.  He first became involved with RORKC about 10 years ago when he was looking for a way to give back to his community.  He came across an ad for volunteer reading and the rest is history.

 

Favorite book to share: The Foot Book (or anything by Dr. Seuss)

 

On reading in the clinic: “Sometimes kids can be hesitant or nervous, but then I really try to engage them and interact with them and the story and then they really usually start to open up and really enjoy it”

 

On why he enjoys volunteer reading: “I  want to set a good example for parents in the clinics.  Before they even see the doctor they can have a positive impact in the waiting room. It’s just a great way for them to experience fun reading.  That is my main goal is to interact with them and have them engaged in the stories. I want them to have a good experience and demonstrate that reading is fun. Plus I have a great time. Normally I don’t want to leave, especially if it’s a busy day!”

 

 

 

Thank you to Sally, Carol, and Justin for volunteering their time to share books and their love of reading with children in KC!

Interested in volunteering with Reach Out and Read Kansas City? From volunteer reading to serving on an event committee, we have plenty of opportunities for those trying to make a difference in the community.  For more information about volunteering, contact Jenny.

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.

 

 

1 Millionth Book

Video Presentation of Reach Out & Read KC’s 1 Millionth Book!

On Tuesday, December 2nd, Reach Out and Read KC provided our 1 millionth book at the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Pediatric Clinic.  The millionth book was presented to a local family after their 4th month old son’s well child visit.   Watch highlights from the presentation below!

 


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Reach Out & Read KC’s 20 Year Highlights

Reach Out and Read Kansas City is in its’ 20th year of providing early literacy in pediatric care, here’s a brief look at how we got here!

By former Community Council Chair, Anne Blessing

 

In 1996, KU Children’s Center received a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to become one of the first 50 national expansion sites of Reach Out and Read National. Jean Harty, M.D., was hired to begin the Reach Out and Read program in Kansas City. Dr. Harty held initial conversations in 1997 with Michele Kilo, M.D., about a joint Reach Out and Read collaboration between the University of Kansas and Children’s Mercy Hospital. In 1998, Children’s Mercy Hospital officially applied to Reach Out and Read National to become a program site, following an announcement by First Lady Hillary Clinton during a visit to Kansas City. A Steering Committee comprising Kansas University Medical Center literacy advocates voted to call the collaboration KC READS (K for KUMC and C for Children’s Mercy Hospital), developed a strategic plan, goals and a budget, and asked Laura Gregory to form and chair a Community Council. Dr. Harty was hired as the Executive Director of KC READS in the summer of 1998.

 

On March 2, 1999, KC READS first celebrated “Read Across America” Day at its clinic sites on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

 

Cute Boy w Bag of BooksBy 2000, KC READS had opened its 13th clinic site and had become the first Reach Out and Read program in the country to partner with a school district to obtain book funding through the Kansas City, Kansas, “Reading Excellence” grant. During that same year, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation began the Kindergarten Book Bag program with KC READS as a major distributor, and the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, began a 10-year Literacy Collaboration with KC READS as a partner and beneficiary.

 

In 2002, the Kauffman Foundation transferred the Kindergarten Book Bag program to KC READS with a support grant. During that same year, KC READS officially changed its name to Reach Out and Read Kansas City.

 

In 2006, Reach Out and Read Kansas City served 20,000 children a year in 33 clinic sites in Greater Kansas City and gave its 250,000th book to a child since 1997. During that year, it trained 185 pediatric providers to counsel parents about early childhood literacy and trained 273 volunteers to read to children in clinic waiting rooms.

 

On Dr. Seuss’s birthdrading of GEHay, March 2, 2007, Reach Out and Read Kansas City held its first annual Green Eggs and Ham fundraising breakfast with Don and Adele Hall as honorary hosts, Carol Marinovich as Master of Ceremonies and Representative Emanuel Cleaver and Bryan Busby as guest readers reading Green Eggs and Ham. For ten years, this fun and lively event was a tradition.

 

 

 

In 2010, Reach Out and Read Kansas City served almost 28,000 children in 46 clinic sites and distributed its 500,000th book. In 2011, it assumed organization and administration of the city-wide book drive Hooked on Books from the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, and collected more than 32,000 new and gently used books for nonprofit organizations and schools in Greater Kansas City.

 

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By 2016, Reach Out and Read Kansas City was operating in 51 clinic sites in the metropolitan area and distributing 83,672 children new books in 27 languages to 30,000 children. Reach Out and Read gave its 1 millionth book on Dec. 2, 2016.

 

On April 20, 2017, Reach Out and Read KC celebrated its 20th anniversary with a Birthday Breakfast fundraising event at the Uptown Theater.

 

 

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The Consequences of “Second-Hand Screens”

We all know how frustrating it is to talk to someone who is distracted by a mobile device, but did you know that it can also pose a potential developmental risk for infants? Reach Out and Read National Center recently posted an article by Dr. Robert Needlman, ROR co-founder, describing the parallels between screen-focused behavior and Ed Trunick’s “Still Face Paradigm.”

 

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Click to watch a video of the Still Face Experiment

The Still Face Paradigm comes from a series of studies by Dr. Ed Trunick. In these studies, each mother would interact with her baby by cooing, gesturing, and touching, back and forth. Then, on a signal from the research team, the mother would become still faced, no longer interacting with her baby.

 

Dr. Needlman describes the baby’s reaction, “The baby’s response, at first, was to act even more adorable, as if trying harder to recapture the mother’s interest. Then, when the mother remained impassive, the baby would become angry, crying in rage. Then, when even that failed, the baby would slump back, defeated, looking depressed.  Babies whose mothers actually did suffer from depression did less flirting and protesting. Instead, they skipped right to “defeated.” It was as if they knew – had learned – that mother wasn’t to be counted on as a partner. These babies protected themselves by investing less emotional energy in the exchange, building walls against closeness and disappointment.”

 

Dr. Needlman explains that this still-faced behavior is much like the behavior of a person who is preoccupied by a mobile device: They remain impassive, show little or no facial expression, and do not actively interact with those around them. This may be appropriate at times, and smartphones have many advantages that are hard to give up. However, screen focused behavior is something to be mindful of, especially around young children. Like second-hand smoke, second-hand screens may pose a risk to those other than the user.

 

 

30-million-cover-hi-rezDr. Dana Suskind makes a similar point in her book “Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain.” In this book, Dr. Suskind lists three guidelines for improving a child’s brain development:

 
1. Tune in to what the child is interested in and respond to that interest.
2. Talk more by engaging in frequent and high-quality speech with the child.
3. Take turns by letting the baby participate and responding, back and forth.

 
Sound familiar? These behaviors are much like what the “Still Faced Experiment” mothers did before they were instructed to make their faces blank. Of course, you can’t effectively “tune in” and “take turns” when engrossed in content on a screen, which is why Dr. Suskind adds a fourth guideline: Turn it off. As in, turn off distracting devices when spending time with your child. Besides we can think of a fun activity that doesn’t require any screens: Reading a book!

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Our Impact Continues to Grow

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(Photo credit: Doug Bruns/Images for Change)

Reach Out and Read KC is always trying to provide more books to more kids in the Kansas City Area. Because of your continued support, we have been able to give over 1700 more books to more kiddos at well-child visits in the first half of this fiscal year than we did in the first half of last year. This is such good news for us and for KC kids! Thank you for helping us make it happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

library & Museum 2015

Library and Museum Partnership

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

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

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

library & Museum 2015

BBS2015-logo w ROR info

Kansas City Area Macy’s — Reading is Fundamental — Reach Out and Read- KC

What do these three organization have in common? The answer: PROVIDING NEW BOOKS FOR KIDS!  Now through July 12th, Macy’s is hosting their annual “Be Book Smart” campaign. The program allows shoppers to spend $3 on a coupon worth $10 off their purchase of $30 or more and can be used immediately. Talk about a WIN-WIN! The $3 goes to Reading is Fundamental who then credits the full amount to Reach Out and Read for the purchase of new books for our early literacy program in KC.  Last year alone we received and distributed more than 3000 books through this program, made successful by wonderful supporters like you.

So get out there and shop at your local Macy’s!  There are 6 locations in the Kansas City metro area: Leawood Town Center, Oak Park Mall, Prairie Village, Summit Fair in Lee’s Summit, Metro North, and Independence Center.

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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

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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!

Hil Clinton

Literacy Toolkit for Pediatricians and Parents Unveiled by Hilary Clinton

booksbuildconnectionstoolkit_withtag_800w“Fewer than half of children younger than 5 years old are read to daily in our country. For 25 years, programs such as Reach Out and Read have been promoting literacy in exam rooms nationwide, and now, even more pediatricians are taking a stand…”

 

The former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, released a new literacy toolkit titled Books Build Connections at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition in San Diego on October 12th. Clinton and the AAP have partnered to create this early literacy toolkit written by pediatricians for pediatricians to help them discuss with parents and caregivers the importance of early literacy in brain development.

 

In a press release issued by the AAP, it is noted that “in June 2014, [we] announced a collaborative partnership with Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation. The organizations have committed to promote early literacy and ensure that doctors, parents and caregivers have the information, tools and books they need to promote talking, reading out loud and singing to children every day starting in infancy.”

 

The president of the AAP, James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, said, “Fewer than half of children younger than 5 years old are read to daily in our country. For 25 years, programs such as Reach Out and Read have been promoting literacy in exam rooms nationwide, and now, even more pediatricians are taking a stand to spread the news more widely through our recent policy, toolkit and partnership with Too Small to Fail. Talking, reading and singing with young children is a joyful way to build strong and healthy parent-child relationships, foster early language skills and promote children’s development.”

 

Furthermore, as part of the partnership with Too Small to Fail and AAP, Scholastic, Inc. agreed to donate 500,000 new, age-appropriate children’s books for distribution through Reach Out and Read National, working with 20,000 medical providers nationwide to promote early reading and giving books to 4 million children and their families annually at pediatric visits.

 

The Books Build Connections toolkit, available online at www.aap.org/literacy, incorporates recommendations to emphasize early literacy, from an infant’s very first days, as an essential aspect of pediatric care. According to the AAP, “the toolkit provides updated, practical resources for pediatric professionals, as well as guidance for families on the importance of talking, reading, and singing with their children to promote early learning. The toolkit includes 12 tip sheets, parent handouts and other publications in easy-to-use, mobile-friendly formats to help pediatricians promote early literacy.”

 

Resources include:

-16 concrete ways pediatric health professionals can promote early literacy in their practice and community;

-Background for pediatric professionals on the science of early literacy;

-Parent-friendly tips on sharing books with children at specific ages and stages of development, from birth through age 10;

-Advice for parents on “the secret to a smarter baby”;

-Recommendations on choosing books for children based on age and topic, including specific titles;

-Tips from doctors on reading with very young children, including the 5 Rs of early education.

 

“Pediatricians want all parents and caregivers to know that by making special one-on-one time every day to read, talk and play with their young children, they are promoting their child’s early learning. This kind of treasured experience actually creates new connections in their child’s brain that promote language development and secure the bond between parent and child,” said Pamela High, MD, FAAP, lead author of the AAP’s early literacy policy statement. “By creating the Books Build Connections toolkit, the AAP and Too Small to Fail, in collaboration with Reach Out and Read, are getting the word out to families that early experiences really matter.”

 

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”

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Early Literacy and Reading Aloud is Taking the Lead

Early literacy has become a popular topic this week as the American Academy of Pediatrics issued its first-ever policy statement focused on literacy promotion. The policy calls for pediatricians to advise all parents about the many benefits of reading aloud, which promotes literacy and motor skills.

 

The new statement, aimed at 62,000 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics’, urges pediatricians to talk to parents about how critical reading aloud is for children’s brain development and literacy skills, and to provide books during visits for all low-income, high-risk children.

 

Reach Out and Read Kansas City is extremely excited to see how this new policy affects children’s development and enhances their lives. For 25 years, Reach Out and Read has trained doctors and nurse practitioners to give books and early literacy advice at well-child visits, and now that it is becoming an official policy for all pediatricians to follow, even more parents will understand the importance of reading to their children every day.

 

Studies have shown that every year, more than one in three children enter kindergarten without the language skills required to learn how to read.  In low-income families, children hear very few words by the time they are three. Reach Out and Read works to solve this problem every day and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new policy is another step in the right direction.

 

Now, there is nowhere to go but up as we continue to fight for children’s literacy and hope to witness even more children enter school ready to read and succeed.

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A Reach Out and Read Success Story!

Earlier this year, I experienced the direct impact Reach Out and Read Kansas City made on a young girl who went through the program. Back in September, I was working with the Blue Valley High School CAPS film class to put together different impact videos that showcased Reach Out and Read Kansas City’s message. I developed the concept of having real kids in the videos to really show the audience who it is our program helps. I began a search to find young children who took part in the Reach Out and Read Program and benefited from receiving a book at each well-child visit. This is how I met Joslyn.  The minute I met her I could tell she was a very bright little girl.

 

I was given Joslyn’s name through one of our hospital coordinators and from there I contacted her mom to see if she had any interest in being in our videos. Her mom immediately agreed, saying Joslyn loved being the center of attention. When I met her, she was actually quite shy at first. But as soon as I asked her about the chapter book, Polyanna, which she had clutched to her chest, a wide smile appeared on her face and she began to go into detail about the story.

 

Joslyn just turned six years old and she was already reading chapter books that kids twice her age read. It was amazing to see her come out of her shell as she explained the different adventures Polyanna went on. Reach Out and Read Kansas City helped kick start Joslyn’s learning by giving her a book during each stage of her development, and by six years old she could read all on her own and loved doing so!

 

Months later, I received an email from Joslyn’s mom saying that Joslyn has great problem solving skills, a good grasp of cause and effect, and is in the highest reading group in her kindergarten class. She believed that reading to Joslyn since she was a baby helped her learn how to read. At the end of her email she added, “thank you Reach Out and Read for allowing Joslyn to have this experience.”  That right there is why we do what we do. All kids deserve the opportunity to grow up with a bright future, Reach Out and Read Kansas City jump starts that process by making sure each child who takes part in our program enters kindergarten willing and ready to learn.

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Celebrating All of Our Volunteers

April is Volunteer Appreciation month and I must say that after observing our volunteers in action, they really are the back bone of Reach Out and Read. It is always amazing to see how invested they become in our program no matter what they do, whether that’s reading at the clinics, helping in the office, or serving on one of our event committees. Some of our volunteers have been with us for 10 plus years and they continue to come back to dedicate some of their time to Reach Out and Read Kansas City each and every week.

 

We are truly grateful to every single one of our volunteers. You all help us make a difference in the community, enhance children’s lives, and share with them one of the most precious gifts of all, the gift of reading. Check out some awesome volunteer stories below.

 

One time a little girl that came into the clinic was very shy.  She wouldn’t talk but finally got up the courage to come over to the little table where I was sitting with a book.  I started reading Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley.  The book has lots of actions.  I was doing the actions at first and then she started doing them with me.  Before she was called back for her appointment, we were dancing and twirling around the waiting room together, acting out the book we were reading.  We both had a lot of fun!

 

One little boy was never called in to see the doctor, while other kids who were listening with us were.  I thought that was odd, until I finished the book and the mother asked if we were done and then they left.  They were just there to make an appointment and she stayed through the long book to let her son read with me.

 

I volunteered one afternoon when a family with six children came into the clinic for their well-child visits.  The kids were all into having books read to them that even though I was only scheduled to read for one hour, I stayed for two until they were all done with their appointments. I just really enjoy seeing the smile on all of the children’s faces when I read to them.

 

If this made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, check out how YOU can become a volunteer with Reach Out and Read Kansas City today by clicking here. There’s no time like the present to give back to our wonderful community and change lives for the better.

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A Great Experience: Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast

After months of preparation, Green Eggs and Ham finally took place this past Friday. As a staff-member for Reach Out and Read KC, I was able to experience the event from the very start to the very finish, and what a transformation it was! We turned the Westin Ballroom into a whimsical, rhythmical, magical place, bringing the magic of Dr. Seuss to life. It was my first time at Green Eggs and Ham so even though we arrived at the Westin bright and early at 5am to help set up, I was too excited to even think about being tired.  For months I heard stories about the breakfast from years past, and I knew that after all the planning and work we put into this year’s breakfast, it was supposed to be bigger and better than years past.

 

As guests enjoyed a lovely, gourmet version of green eggs and ham, they were entertained by Bryan Busby and Reverend Adam Hamilton who hysterically read the actual book to the audience. I definitely was not expecting those voices out of Bryan Busby! He read the story in an array of hilarious voices from Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Chewbacca and Sponge Bob Square Pants. I stood in the back of the room to watch the action take place, and couldn’t contain my laughter, they did a wonderful job making the entire room smile. After the audience was moved to laughter, Superintendent Jim Hinson  gave a captivating and eye opening speech about why the kids of Kansas City need our help. After his emotional speech, our Executive Director Megan took the stage and gave a wonderful speech about the importance of children’s literacy. I hope all the guests in attendance were as moved as I was listening to these speeches, they both really hit home and spoke about how every child deserves to reach their full potential.

 

Once  the speeches were over, it was time to wrap up the breakfast. I don’t think an hour and a half has ever gone by so fast before. When the last of the guests made their way out of the ballroom, it was time to pack up everything and head back to the office to see the rough estimate of how much money was raised. As it turns out, the 8th Annual Green Eggs and Ham breakfast really was bigger and better than any other year! We raised over $87,000 dollars, which is a huge accomplishment for Reach Out and Read KC. I am extremely happy that not only did I get to experience the best Green Eggs and Ham yet, but that I was able to contribute to the preparation and planning. The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast will be an experience I will never forget and I am beyond excited that all the money raised will go toward supporting kids in need!

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The Impact of Our Volunteer Readers

As the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for Reach Out and Read, I have received the opportunity to do many great things with this organization. One experience that really stands out in my mind was when I was able to work with a local photography student to take pictures of our volunteer readers at different clinics throughout the area. As we made our rounds to each clinic, I explained to the parents why we were there and they graciously allowed us to take photos of their children. While the photographer snapped away, I received my first real opportunity to observe the volunteer reader program in action.

 

By the time we got to our last clinic, Swope Health Central, the photographer as well as myself were getting a little tired. We experienced all sorts of kids, from older kids who were eager to read out loud, to younger kids who were shy and needed coaxing. We encountered a mix of excitement and nervousness as each volunteer reader took command of the room to read a story to the different children waiting to see the doctor. But we had one more clinic to go, so we put a smile on our faces and walked into the waiting room ready for anything.

 

What we experienced exceeding all of my expectations, it came in the form of one of the cutest little boys I have ever seen. He probably was around two years old with big, brown eyes and a wide, sweet smile. When we walked in, he was sitting on the volunteer reader’s lap carefully listening to every word she said during her very animated version of the book Bang, Boom, Roar. Halfway through the story, the little boy’s grandma interjected that they needed to run outside to their car to grab something. When she told the little boy to come with her you could just see his face crumble as he began to cry. He reached his tiny hands up to the volunteer reader and held on tight as tears rolled down his face. The grandma looked surprised that he didn’t want to leave the readers side, so she asked if it was okay if she ran out to the car alone. Rocking the little boy, the volunteer reader said that was no problem and once again began reading the story, picking up right where she left off.

 

Watching all these actions unfold before my very eyes somewhat astounded me. I knew that our volunteer reader program was a great way to get kids to listen to a story, but this was something completely different. The fact that our volunteer made such an impact on this little boy, enough of an impact to where he was visibly upset when he was told he had to leave, proves that something as small as sitting in a clinic waiting room and reading to a child for an hour out of a week, really can make a difference in their life. Because of our volunteer readers, kids are shown the importance of reading and how much fun it can be. This little boy absolutely loved being read to and you could tell by watching him interact with the reader. Each page she read, his smile spread wider and his laugh rang louder. In that moment he was exactly what he was supposed to be, a young boy enjoying a great story.

 

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From Staff Member to Volunteer – My Volunteer Reader Experience

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” -Dr. Seuss-

 

Walking into Turner House Children’s Clinic I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Was it going to be a mad house with kids running around the waiting room? Or was it going to be completely empty, not a young soul to be seen? As I made my way inside I let out a sigh of relief.  Sitting in chairs throughout the giant waiting room were four families, and sitting at a small table in the middle of the room were two boys, talking and playing with different toys.

 

I hurried to collect a bunch of books and the red Reach Out and Read apron, marched up to the table, set the books down, and excitedly exclaimed, “who wants to read a book?” At first the boys looked at me like I was crazy, but as soon as I spread the books out on the table they began to eagerly sift through them. The older boy looked around eight or nine, so I picked up a small chapter book and told him how cool it looked and that he should read it to me. A big smile formed on his face as he scooped up the book, opened the first page and began to read. The younger boy who looked to be about seven made his way over to us, and after a few minutes of listening to the older boy read each page, he announced that he also wanted to read. So there both boys sat, switching off line by line, if the younger one needed help the older boy would quickly assist him by sounding out the word.  I must admit, it was an awesome sight to see. Not only were both boys reading but they were excited about what they were reading and willing to help each other out if they needed it. After a few minutes, their names got called to see the doctor, but before they left I made sure to tell them that they were awesome readers, high fiving them on their way out of the room.

 

As soon as they left, a little girl who looked to be around five slowly made her way over to me. “Do you want to read a book,” I asked. It took her a minute to come sit down but after encouragement from her mom, she came and sat right next to me. I looked at all the books and asked her if she wanted to read one about Christmas. As soon as I said the word Christmas, a smile spread across her face and she nodded her head. I opened the book and began to read. It wasn’t long before the little girl started asking me all sorts of questions and pointing out the different illustrations. I learned so much about this little girl from her favorite color, red, to her favorite animal, dog. It’s like the minute we started reading the book her shyness evaporated into thin air. It’s crazy that one element on a single page of a book can do that to a child. Once we finished the book, I noticed the little girl’s mom observing us from her chair. I told her how sweet her daughter was and her response was ‘thank you for reading with her.”  To many people a simple thank you might not seem like much, but to me it meant that the mom noticed her daughter come to life through something as simple as reading a book. Hopefully after watching our short time together, she too will read with her.

 

After I said goodbye to the little girl I noticed there weren’t very many people left in the waiting room. As I looked around, I spotted another adorable little girl who couldn’t be more than three years old. What’s better was she already had a book in her hand. So I called over to her and asked if she wanted to read her book. She quickly got out of her chair and ran over to me. As I looked at the book I noticed that it was a Spanish and English book. I don’t know Spanish so I decided to read just the English parts. After reading one of the pages about colors, I asked her what her favorite color was. She said something back to me, and I realized she said it in Spanish. So I asked her a different question, and again she replied in Spanish. I continued to read the book, not knowing if she understood or not, but boy was she alert. She looked at each page, pointed to different things and said something that I could not understand.  So in return, I smiled, nodded, and pointed to a different picture in the book that she would say something in Spanish about. We went on like this through the entire book. It didn’t even matter that there was a language barrier. This little girl was so into the book, smiling and laughing after she said something and nodding and smiling up at me, peering at me with her big brown eyes as I said something. This just proves that a book can do more than help children grow; it can allow two people from different backgrounds to come together and bond over one thing.

 

By the time the little girl left, I realized it was already the end of the hour. My first time volunteering exceeded my expectations. I may not have learned any of the kids’ names, or spent more than twenty minutes with them, but I did get to see them smile and enjoy the books we read together. That is totally worth it to me.