School may be out for summer, but it’s the busiest time of year for our partner clinics! Because summertime is the perfect time for families to schedule well-child visits, books have been flying off our shelves! Last year, in August 2016, we distributed over 8,800 brand new books. As a result, our supply of books is dwindling low. We need your help to continue providing over 80,000 books to children in KC each year.
Many families who visit Reach Out and Read Kansas City clinics are struggling to cover basic household necessities … they would love to buy books for their children, but they simply can’t afford them. 61% of low-income families have no children’s books in their homes. Owning a book and reading with parents can ignite a lifelong love of learning. Through new books and literacy counseling for parents, you instill a love of learning and a desire to learn more. In fact, research confirms that parents who interact with our program are more likely to read to their young children, read more often, and have more children’s books in their homes.
Help us ensure every child recieves a book at their well-child visits.
Make your gift go further by joining our monthly donating club, the Brain Builders.
Each school year, Meadow Lane Elementary encourages their students to complete over 200 days of reading. This reading challenge spans the entire year and has a theme. This year’s theme was “Get Stuck on Reading”. Throughout the year, students track the amount of time spent reading at home. If they reach their goal of reading daily for at least 200 days, then they receive a new book from Will Shields, retired Kansas City Chiefs player. These reading rock stars not only hit their goal this year, but many also donated their new, hard earned books to RORKC. This year, as a school, they donated over 2,000 books and logged over 63,000 days of reading!
The fifth graders receive a special reward for reaching their goal: a pizza party at lunch with Will Shields!
In the afternoon, the school holds a special assembly, where each fifth grader that reached the goal of 200 days is recognized and receives a signed football from Will Shields. To thank Will, Meadow Lane closes the assembly with a special song about how much fun it is to read!
Thank you to Will Shields and Meadow Lane Elementary!
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.
(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.
Congratulations 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!!
We would like to put a volunteer spotlight on one of our youngest volunteers, Anuva Kolli (pictured above). She may be little, but she is doing big things to help in her community. This 9-year-old 3rd grader at Horizon Elementary in Desoto, KS, has been honored with the bronze level Presidential Community Service Award for the past two years, completing a total of over 70 hours of volunteer work. Not too shabby for someone who won’t even be able to drive for seven more years.
Anuva and her family have volunteered for Reach Out and Read Kansas City for many years, and this award reflects her service for us and several other agencies. She makes toys for animals at Wayside Waifs, participates in Girl’s on the Run, organized a book drive and continuously labels books to send to Reach Out and Read partner clinics.
Anuva says, “ I want everyone to enjoy reading as much as I do. Every day I read about 5 hours”. Anuva enjoys mysteries and funny stories. Right now she is starting the Nancy Drew series.
Anuva receives the Bronze Presidential Award
Imagine 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.
Reach Out and Read Kansas City has been named sub-recipient in a $3.8 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant awarded to the Children’s Reading Foundation by the U.S. Department of Education. For 2014-2015, we will receive $22,590 to pilot two new early literacy and early learning programs to serve high-poverty communities in the Greater Kansas City area.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to build upon the solid foundation of our existing clinic-based school readiness program by presenting early learning and literacy skills workshops directly to local families,” said Mark Mattison, Executive Director of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. “Following the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s decision to add Kindergarten Readiness to its Big 5 Goals, this grant provides the perfect opportunity for us to do our part by expanding our current role.” Per the terms of the grant, we will be introducing in Kansas City the READY! For Kindergarten and Read Up programs, both developed by the Children’s Reading Foundation and currently operating successfully in chapter sites throughout the U.S. and Canada.
READY! For Kindergarten classes provide training and tools for parents and caregivers, equipping them to help children birth to age five develop strong brain connections, ensuring school success. Studies show nearly 80 percent of children whose parents take part in READY! meet the kindergarten reading readiness standard regardless of family income or ethnicity, compared to 55 percent of children whose parents do not attend.
The Read Up program is a summer literacy program that helps keep reading a part of daily summer routines by providing free books and weekly story times for children birth to eight. The program aims to reverse the “summer slide,” a situation where students lose up to three months of reading skills when school is out. Through this program, Reach Out and Read Kansas City will receive and distribute more than 13,000 books.
The nonprofit National Children’s Reading Foundation is headquartered in Kennewick, Wash. The organization was founded in 1996 with the vision that every child learns to read early and well, thereby reaching his or her full potential in school and life. The reading foundation developed and delivers national programs focused on reading skills and school readiness for children birth to age five. The organization also helps establish local Children’s Reading Foundation chapters in communities across the country. Learn more at: www.readingfoundation.org.
Read the Children’s Reading Foundation’s press release.