April 16, 2020

We hope that you are staying safe and engaged during this time. We also hope that you have found our weekly updates, curated resources and Town Halls helpful for your families and communities as you continue to support them.

In this issue of the Bookmark, you’ll find a free offer for RAR Coordinators, an update on the 2020 Census, information on fundraising (including our Fundraising Webinar), and an interesting twist in our From the RAR Bookshelf section. Please also join us in welcoming two new Affiliates to our book sharing family!

Happy Book Sharing,

Your RAR National Team

Network News

Supercharged Storytime for Raising A Reader Coordinators

Join us for Supercharged Storytime customized for the Raising A Reader network! This 3-part series (May 1, 4, and 6, 1-2:30 PM EDT) brings together the research-based Supercharged Storytime curriculum with Raising A Reader fundamentals of shared reading.  Register today-space is limited!  Participation in all three sessions is required for registrants.

What is Supercharged Storytime?

Research shows that what we do in storytimes makes a difference in children’s early literacy behaviors. The pillars that make a difference are interactivity, intentionality, scaffolding, early literacy tips, self-reflection, assessment, and community of practice.  Storytime providers use the pillars to build on the storytimes and materials they already use and come away with renewed insights and renewed vigor as they also become more articulate advocates in their communities.

May 1: 1 PM-2:30 PM EDT
May 4: 1 PM-2:30 PM EDT
May 6: 1 PM-2:30 PM EDT

*Registrants must attend all three sessions


This is a FREE course offering from Raising A Reader and the New York State Library.  Register here!


There’s still time to be counted Census data is used in formulas that determine federal funding that will support children and families for the next ten yearsThe law requires each household to submit the census online, by mail, or over the phone by August 14.* (The Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies.Due to COVID-19, the Census Bureau is encouraging families to complete their survey online. Households that do not submit a survey will receive a home visit.  Help your community get the resources it deserves!  It only takes a few minutes.

*Stay updated with news from Census.gov as dates for self-response and data collection may be extended.

Promising Practices

Social distancing has limited the ability to interact with our families in person, but Affiliates are finding meaningful and creative ways to connect virtually. Here are some examples of how Coordinators are staying in touch and continuing those important book sharing routines. Visit their pages and get inspired!

Raising A Reader Aspen to Parachute: via Facebook Live  

  • In-House Virtual Storytimes in English and Spanish 
  • Sharing of Storytimes from Sesame Workshop, local libraries, etc.  
  • Simple tips and streamlined resources provided to families  
  • Facebook page updates 

Parent Services Project: via Facebook Live  

  • Literacy activities on Mondays  
  • Little Red Reading Hood story times in Spanish on Tu & Th 
  • Virtual Play Group on Fridays 

For more ideas and resources, visit the RAR COVID-19 Resource page.  Here you’ll find links for activities, online story times, crisis support, funding opportunities, and more.

Business Behind The Books

COVID-19 Fundraising Resources  

Raising A Reader has created several fundraising tools for our Affiliates to use during times of financial uncertainty. We hope these tools will be useful to Affiliates and their local networks to ensure that local book sharing efforts continue to support a love of reading, nationwide. 

  1. RAR has curated a list of national, state and county one-time grants to support local programming. Click here to view this document.
  2. RAR has examined COVID-19 funding opportunities and collected grant language that can be used when applying to funders. We recommend using this language along with your own RAR data and success stories for the best result. Click here to view this document. 
  3. View our GoToStage” by clicking here to view archived webinars on a variety of topics, including funding and budgeting best practices.  

If you have any questions or have a fantastic fundraising resource you’d like to share with the network, please contact us at rarinquiry@raisingareader.org. We look forward to connecting! 

Business Behind the Books Webinar:
Fundraising for Your RAR Program 

Date: Thursday, April 16th
Time: 11 AM Pacific | 2 PM Eastern 

During this one-hour webinar, we will explore funding needs and opportunities for both prospective and current Raising A Reader Affiliates. A variety of resources, including templates to assist you in procuring funding, will be presented. A portion of the webinar will discuss the fundraising opportunities and templates from the COVID Toolkit and answer any questions you may have as it relates specifically to COVID-19 funding.

Click here to register! 

Research Roundup

The Mayo Clinic Minute: How Much Screen Time is too Much for Kids? 
by Vivien Williams

During the Covid-19 pandemic our families are spending more time in front of a screen watching videos, playing games, attending virtual classes and reading booksBut how much screen time is too much for kids? According the guidelines from the Mayo Clinic, it depends on a child’s age.

“The recommendations are really to minimize screen time in children before age 2,” says Dr. Mattke. “Between ages 2 and 5, we would recommend you keep the screen time to one hour or less per day. And in children that are older than 5, we recommend trying to minimize a recreational or enjoyment-related screen time to two hours or less per day.” 

Read more and watch the Mayo Clinic Minute… 

Kameeka has a hula-hooping competition with her friends, and soon everyone in the neighborhood—young and old alike—joins in on the fun. With Kameeka’s misadventures, explore themes of overcoming obstacles, persistence, sharing and giving. Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s vibrant illustrations beautifully translate the energy of the neighborhood. Set in Harlem, this intergenerational story will entertain young readers as they realize the importance of family and community, and the determination of a young, clever girl.

This book can be found in our Classics Refresher Set for 3-4 year olds. 

Click here to watch The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen by Thelma Godin, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, read aloud by Oprah Winfrey.  


2020 RAR Webinars

April 16
Business Behind the Books – Fundraising for Your RAR Program

All Upcoming 2020 Webinar Dates

Missed any of our webinars? Check out RAR’s GoToStage Channel!

Welcome to our New Affiliates

Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs SD 11:
Mark Twain Elementary believes in the partnership between the school, family and community. Their RAR program will serve 200 Kindergarten and First Grade students.

Columbus, OH
UnC.A.G.ED (Changing the Achievement Gap in Education) serves families with children 0-2 by providing them with interventional workshops that focus on the importance of early brain development through talk and book sharing. The program serves low-income, disadvantaged children with an aim to eliminate barriers in attaining a quality education.

Get Involved

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Make a donation today to impact
reading habits for children and families.

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the program to their communities.