March 12, 2020

I hope this finds you happy and healthy! I am pleased to be in touch with our March Bookmark, rich with updates and fresh opportunities, just in time for an early Spring. But first I wanted to highlight three things that have us particularly excited this quarter:

  1. 2019 Affiliate Network Report. On behalf of the Raising A Reader, I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you, for participation in the 2019 Affiliate Check in Survey. Because of your extraordinary participation, we had a response rate over 75 percent! Your input and feedback will support our program refinements and innovations this year, and your outcomes data gives us a clear picture of our reach and impact in school year 2018-2019. Here are a few highlights on our Raising A Reader network:
    • 128,762 children and families served
    • 278 affiliates in our network
    • 27 new affiliates, including expansion in South Carolina, Illinois, and Pennsylvania
    • Our network saw an impact/outcome on the frequency and duration of shared reading time, the number of trips to the library and overall parent/caregiver confidence in sharing books with their children
    • Affiliates increased the number of partnerships with early childhood organizations such as Ready4K, Vroom, and Imagination Library in support of early literacy success for children and families.
  2. Raising A Reader wants to ensure all children ages 0-5 are counted in the 2020 Census. An accurate count is important because the data reported is used in formulas that determine federal funding that will support children and families for the next ten years, including schools, childcare, medical care, food assistance, housing, and public transportation. The 2010 Census undercounted children age 0-5 by an estimated 2 million, which is directly impacting the resources available to high school students today. As an RAR Affiliate, you are uniquely positioned to reach families with young children, communities of color, and households with limited income – all segments of the population identified as hard to count. Your efforts go a long way to make sure every child is counted. Here is the link to the March 4 webinar recording and the slides used in the presentation.
  3. Raising A Reader National is hiring in 2020. As we mentioned late last year, we have launched a new strategic plan, and year one is well underway. The plan includes adding a few new positions in the national office this year to better support the critical work of our affiliate network. The positions include Sr. Vice President of Programs and Partnerships; Marketing and Communications Manager; Salesforce Coordinator; and Impact Analyst. Please visit our jobs page for more information on active searches and help to spread the word!

Happy Book Sharing!

Kindest regards,


Network News

COVID 19 Update

In light of the recent COVID 19 pandemic, we want to remind you of resources on the Online Affiliate Network that may help you care for your RAR Materials:

Book Bag Handling and Care for Bags Purchased 2017-2020
Book Bag Handling and Care for Bags Purchased before 2017

Raising A Reader encourages you to look for guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and your local health department for updates and resources on this rapidly evolving situation.


Spring Best Practices Webinar:
Taking the Red Book Bag into Alternative Settings
Date: Thursday, March 26
Time: 11 AM Pacific | 2 PM Eastern

Ever considered all the different ways Affiliates implement RAR? Or have you ever wondered if RAR can be implemented in places in your community where you see a need? Join us Thursday, March 26, to learn how! This webinar will open with a discussion on the settings data collected from the 2019 Annual Affiliate Check-In Survey, followed by Affiliates sharing with us their insight and resources on how they implement with homeless families, Head Start programs, Family Resource Centers and more. We will close with an opportunity for attendees to ask questions of the Affiliate presenters.

Click here to register!


2020 Refreshers Are Here!

We’re excited about RAR’s 2020 Refresher Sets available April 1! As a reminder, a Refresher set consists of one Red Book Bag with tag and 5 books. Refresher sets are a great way to replace missing books/Red Book Bags or to add to your current book collection to “refresh” with new and exciting titles and themes. Also new, we’ve updated the STEM Refreshers to STEAM!

Webinar: 2020 Refreshers and Updates to the RAR Book Collection

Want to learn more about 2020 Refreshers?! Join us April 2, 11 am PT/2 pm ET, for a live webinar where we will share book titles and answer questions you may have about various Refresher sets, our new Social Emotional Book collection, and updates/changes we are making to a few other Book-Only collection sets. Can’t make the live webinar? Please register and a link will be provided for viewing later. And of course, there’s a drawing! Attend the live webinar or watch it before April 21 to be eligible to win a new Refresher Set! Register here.

Updated RAR Product Catalog

Also coming April 1, RAR’s 2020 Product Catalog will be available. Featured in the updated catalog are new Refreshers, tried and true Classics, and our new STEAM collections! See all our new collections, plus make sure you take advantage of limited availability items. Our new catalog will be available for download on our shop site and the Online Affiliate Network. Coordinators, if you need assistance downloading or accessing the OAN, just reach out to us at


National Coordinator Training Coming to the East Coast!

Our next New Coordinator training takes place April 21-22 at our East Coast Office in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Remember this training is FREE to Coordinators, new and veteran alike! So, if you are new to Raising A Reader, new in the role as Coordinator, or just need a refresher, join us! Your only expense: transportation and lodging. Free parking and breakfast and lunch are included each day.

Click here to register!

National Coordinator Training
Date: Tuesday – Wednesday, April 21-22, 2020
Time: 9 AM – 4 PM

RAR East Coast Office
810 Cromwell Park Drive, Suite K
Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061

Click here to see all training dates for 2020.

If you need more information, please contact us at

Promising Practices

Blue Bag Season

Spring is here!  That means….

It’s Blue Library Bag season and time to celebrate children and families for the wonderful shared reading habits that they have developed and practiced over the course of the year. More importantly, the Blue Library Bag serves as a bridge for families to connect with their local or school libraries in order to maintain the habits that you have helped to foster with each rotation of the Red Book Bag.

There is not just one way to accomplish this. As long as families are connected with the library in a meaningful way, you’re doing it right. A special shout out to Monroe County Library for their creativity in inviting families for a fun and informative event. While children searched for hidden eggs throughout the library, adults rotated through three learning stations:

  1. Play the brain yarn game
  2. Watch the Parent video
  3. Practice doing a picture walk

After getting a stamp at each station, adults were entered for a drawing. Fun was had by all, and kids couldn’t wait to come back and fill their Blue Bags for summer reading.

Here are more tools from our Online Affiliate Network that will help!

Blue Bag End of The Year Ideas
Building Strong Library Connections for Children and Families Webinar
End of the Year Certificate
Meaningful Library Connection Webinar

Business Behind The Books

Blue Library Bag Bonanza (Promotion Extended!)  

Wondering how to make your Blue Bag Event even more special? 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. Promotion now extended through the end of March!

Budgeting for Fall

Looking ahead to summer and fall and wondering how much to budget for Raising A Reader material or wanting more information on expanding? Connect with us! Our Business Development Team has resources to assist Affiliates in submitting grant proposals and fundraising – including budget templates and webinars which include tools for reaching out to donors, and grant language!   If you are in a time crunch, a good rule of thumb is to use the figure of $120 per child in an expansion/new site setting, and $25 per child per year for sustaining the program. “Sustaining” your RAR program includes two Red Bags w/tags and 10 books per classroom plus the Blue Library Bag for each child new to your RAR program.

We’re aiming to reach more sites and students than ever before in 2020, and we’d love for you to help us!

Research Roundup

8 Things To Remember About Child Development
From Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

“Building on a well-established knowledge base more than half a century in the making, recent advances in the science of early childhood development and its underlying biology provide a deeper understanding that can inform and improve existing policy and practice, as well as help generate new ways of thinking about solutions. In this important list, featured in the From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts report, the Center on the Developing Child sets the record straight about some aspects of early child development.”

Read 8 Things to Remember About Child Development

Each month we feature a book from our collection to highlight what Raising A Reader offers in various genres. This month’s feature is Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora.

Caldecott Honor winner Oge Mora brings a heartwarming story of sharing and community to life in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu’s stew, with an extra serving of love. One by one, Omu’s neighbors follow their noses toward the scent of her delicious stew. Soon the pot is empty because she has shared with everyone. They finally bring food to share with her and they all enjoy the best dinner she ever had.

This book is a celebration of the loving, giving spirit of family, friends and community.

Look for this title soon in our new 2020 3-4 Multicultural Refresher set. Find more Multicultural titles in our collection here.

In Person Coordinator Training

April 21-22
Glen Burnie, MD

2020 RAR Events

May 4-7
Smart Start Conference
Greensboro, NC
(RAR will present a workshop and host an after-hours networking event – watch for upcoming details!)

Welcome to our New Affiliates

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