February 11, 2020

It’s already the second month of 2020!  How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along?  Here at Raising A Reader, we have made a few resolutions too:

  • Align RAR as a solution to new publicly funded opportunities including Early Head Start, Head Start, and Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant initiatives
  • Increase the diversity and equity of our current and new curated book collections
  • Include special and limited-time-only offers throughout the year
  • Update the two-day Coordinator Training with the latest research in brain development, language and literacy development and family engagement
  • Bring groundbreaking research to Affiliates through our Quarterly Webinar Series and within each Monthly Bookmark
  • and, continue to provide technical assistance through ongoing outreach to every Affiliate.

We have an entire year packed with ways to keep our resolutions AND to keep your RAR program thriving!  Be sure to log on to the Online Affiliate Network, sign up for the Quarterly Webinar Series and/or register for Coordinator training.  Whether you are a new or veteran Affiliate, Raising A Reader has a solution for your program in 2020.  We look forward to supporting you today and throughout the year!

Your Raising A Reader National Office Programs Team

Network News

Striving Readers State Grants in Full Force Again! 

In 2018, the federal government awarded 11 different states the Striving Readers Grant in order to align literacy initiatives from birth to Grade 12 in local communities. RAR Affiliates in Maryland, Oklahoma and North Dakota took advantage of this grant to begin new RAR programs and/or expand the current footprint of existing ones. In Maryland alone nearly 12,000 students participated in the RAR program as a result of the Striving Readers Grant! Three school districts in North Dakota new to the RAR Network family (Bismarck, Mandan and Minot Public Schools) brought the RAR program to almost 2,000 children and Oklahoma City Public Schools supplemented private funding with their Striving Readers Grant to serve 900 new students. 

Recently, a similar grant has been created called the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant Program. Thirteen states were awarded the grant (AK, AR, CA, GA, HI, KY, LA, OH, MN, MT, NM, ND, and RI) and Raising A Reader wants to double the impact we saw in previous years. The focus of this grant is again directed towards literacy efforts from birth to Grade 12, with increased collaboration efforts between early childhood educators, local school districts, and other community stakeholders for children birth to 5 years. If you are an Affiliate in one of these states, sign up for one of our webinars about the SR Comprehensive Literacy Grant and reach out to us so we can support your efforts to either apply directly for your state’s sub-grant opportunity or help connect you to a local school district who may be applying in your state. Deadlines are quickly approaching in several states and other states have already awarded monies – review our Funding Opportunities Link for more details! 

Coming Soon – 2020 Census – Everyone Counts!  

RAR will be supporting efforts to provide outreach information to our Affiliates to educate and encourage families to participate in the census. Securing adequate federal funding to support children and families is vital to sustaining programs that support our communities. To learn more, stay tuned for an email with details on resources for outreach and webinar opportunities to share with your community.

Head Start and Raising A Reader 

Do you serve Head Start/Early Head Start families and wonder how RAR can be used to meet initiatives, benchmarks and operational requirements?  Sign up for our webinar on February 27 at 2:00 pm EST/11:00 am PST to learn more about the alignment and best practices on how you can increase your RAR program footprint by adding Head Start/EHS partnerships 

National Coordinator Training

It’s here! The first In-Person National Coordinator Training for 2020! Whether you are a new Coordinator in the RAR Affiliate Network or need a refresher, this free two-day training will equip you to inspire Implementers and the love of book sharing throughout your community!

Date: February 25-26, 2020 (Tue-Wed)
Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

To register for the New Coordinator Training, click here.
For more information regarding training, click here.

Raising A Reader National Office
Center for Nonprofits-Redwood Shores Bay Room
330 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City, CA 94065

If you need more information, please contact us at rarinquiry@raisingareader.org.

Promising Practices

Implementer Refresher Training: Mid-Year ReCharge 

It’s important to hold an Implementer Refresher training to refresh returning Implementers and to train any new additions to your staff.  At the Refresher Training, Coordinators reinforce core concepts, encourage professional development and create forums for networking that spark the passion of a shared purpose. As the Coordinator, you lay the foundation for a successful program. By teaching implementation techniques and encouraging Implementers to deliver a quality program, you help parents and children gain the most benefit from Raising A Reader!   

The Online Affiliate Network has several tools to help you with these endeavors: 

Click here to download the full article on planning, promoting and facilitating your Implementer Refresher. 

RAR National would love for you to share your innovative ideas on how your organization “refreshes” Implementers at an upcoming webinar. Please contact Tymisha at tsweet@raisingareader.org if you would like to participate. 

Tools You Can Use 

Jennifer Robinson, Coordinator for Pajaro Valley USD (Watsonville, CA), created these checklists to help Implementers stay on track with RAR activities throughout the year: 

Jennifer also created this newsletter to encourage Implementers. 

Business Behind The Books

Blue Library Bag Bonanza!  

Wondering how to make your Blue Bag Event even more special? Now through the end of February, for every Blue Library Bag purchased, you’ll receive the choice of a BabyBug, LadyBug, or Click booklet! These booklets are a great giveaway for children to find inside their Blue Library Bags and a special gift to encourage shared reading after programming ends.  No coupon necessary – RAR staff will reach out to all those ordering to process your requests.

“Raising A Reader Around the World” Sales Promotion 

In support of our love for all families and their home languages, during the month of February all Special Language Sets (Foundation, Supplemental and Refreshers) and Book Only Collections are 10% off! Language sets include Arabic, Burmese, Chinese, French, Japanese, Nepali, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese. RAR will also host a webinar on February 13th that will provide a deep dive into the various language sets offered and discuss ways Affiliates can use them to attract more families/partnerships/funding opportunities to their programs.  As a special bonus, everyone who attends the webinar has the chance to win a Wordless Book collection (valued at $300) that can be used with all families to help promote storytelling. Sign up for the webinar here and don’t delay in order to qualify for this special offer! 

Research Roundup

Bilingual Texts and The Impact on Literacy

We all know that children’s books, with their opportunities to expand a child’s awareness of the world around them, play an important role in literacy development. Not only because children get to see reflections of their own culture, but because books can open doors to cultures different from their own. High-quality texts can foster cross-cultural understanding, curiosity, empathy for people different from themselves and lead to new perspectives.

Bilingual text ups the ante, offering children the chance to have that vicarious experience while seeing text in another language, seeing stories of distant lands and cultures in its own “voice” and increasing the feeling of shared experiences. This taps into a core belief of Raising A Reader: to provide books that offer a mirror/window while providing a rich text experience and promoting respect and acceptance, especially in diverse communities. As stated by one blogger: The goal isn’t for them to read and learn the language, it’s simply to explore. Below is a brief list of articles and blog posts with ideas that may help you achieve greater impact with bilingual books in your RAR Red Book Bag rotation:

Exposure to Foreign Language Ignites Infant Learning

The Importance of Multicultural Literature

Five Ways Bilingual Books Promote Literacy

Bilingual Reading Tips

Each month Raising A Reader features a book from our collection to highlight what we offer in various genres. This month’s feature is A Ticket to the World by Natalia Diaz and Melissa Owens; illustrated by Kim Smith.

Join a young boy as he hops around the globe, visiting friends in 13 different countries spanning all six populated continents. Along the way, he introduces us to each friend’s environment and customs, and shares interesting facts about each country’s culture, language, food, geography, wildlife, landmarks and more. Each country has a dedicated spread with a small map that shows geography and landmarks, letting readers imagine they are traveling, too. The format makes it easy to spot similarities and differences between countries.

This informational picture book brings engaging nonfiction content to younger readers by showing them how other children just like them live around the world. Playful, realistic illustrations done with stylized realism lend warmth and whimsy to the book, making each locale feel welcoming. A Ticket Around the World will leave readers feeling like they’ve toured the globe without ever having left home. (Goodreads review)

A Ticket Around the World is part of our Kinder Multicultural Refresher Kit. Find more Multicultural and Special Languages titles in our collection here.

Get Involved

Support Raising A Reader

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

Give us your time

There are opportunities to volunteer at our east coast and west coast offices.

Partner with us

Join the group of agencies that deliver the program to their communities.