December 10, 2019

Happy Holidays from RAR!

It’s  December, the season of  reflection  and gratitude! As we reflect on what we are  grateful  for here at the National Office, it’s you, our network of  over 290  Affiliates. Throughout the  country, our  Affiliate partners are  working to  create ‘Book Bag Movements’ in local communities; supporting Implementers as they nurture the love of reading with children and helping families to incorporate shared reading into their daily lives.

As you continue this  critical mission, know that Raising A Reader is available to help you along the way. With ever-evolving and increasing book collections, quarterly webinars, monthly  newsletters, the Online Affiliate Network, training and so much more,  our  team strives to make sure you have the latest and most useful resources available. Featured in this month’s newsletter are just a few of our many resources, including Affiliate highlights and RAR In The News, our new Social Emotional Learning book collection, and 2020 training updates. Also, don’t forget to take advantage of our social media resources or post your own successes online. Be sure to #RaisingAReader!

Thank you for all you do to help families! We look forward to serving you in the New Year!

Your Raising A Reader National Office Team

Affiliate Spotlight

“Book Bag Movement” Building in North Dakota

Raising A Reader is supporting a budding “Book Bag Movement” throughout North Dakota, thanks to new Affiliates Bismarck, Mandan, and Minot Public Schools. All three school districts have brought RAR to their families with funding from the Striving Readers federal grant.

So far 1,500 children (ages 0-5) are taking home Red Book Bags each week, thus setting the foundation for early literacy skills that are critical to reading success. Mandan Public School’s Literacy Coordinator Vonda Dahl remarks, “The idea is within a condensed amount of time, 25 weeks, they are exposed to 75 to 100 different books and most parents don’t have that kind of library in their home. The other thing is they are coming into the local elementary school to get those books so its fun for the kids to become acquainted with their local elementary school before they start kindergarten.” See more about “RAR In the News” here.

From the RAR Bookshelf

RAR’s New Social Emotional Book Collection

Raising A Reader is excited to add a Social Emotional Learning Book-Only Collection to our curated collection of books.   The SEL Book Collection is a compilation of 10 titles for ages 4-6 that focuses on empathy, positive relationships, managing emotions, problem solving, perseverance, and perspective-taking. There are one to two titles within each of the six categories.   Book selection is based on early childhood content and aligned to the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (2019) and CASEL Core SEL Competencies.

What kind of content/concepts does the RAR SEL Collection Include?

  • Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of others.
  • Positive Relationships involves the ability to interact with others in kind ways.
  • Managing Emotions means identifying and handling feelings.
  • Problem Solving involves how to find a solution to a complicated issue or situation.
  • Perseverance means achieving goals despite difficulties.
  • Perspective-taking is seeing a situation from another person’s point of view, including those from diverse background and cultures.

Please contact Rebecca Armstrong at  if you have any questions or comments regarding Raising A Reader’s collections.  

Order today to receive the Special Introductory Price of $180. After December 31, the regular price of $200 will take effect. Interested in learning more?   Click here to see the entire collection.

Programs Update

RAR Annual Check-In Survey: We’re Almost Halfway There! Can We Count on YOU?

RAR’s Annual Check-In Survey is officially underway!   This 20-question survey ensures that we use resources effectively and helps to improve RAR program offerings.   Don’t miss your chance for entry into the Bookworm Drawing! You will be automatically entered in the drawing when you complete and submit your response by the December 20th  deadline.   The first five Affiliates to complete the survey, and recipients of an RAR Swag Bag, are:

  1. River Delta USD – Sandra Martinez
  2. Buffalo Public Schools – Ashley Young
  3. AZCEND – Donna Beedle
  4. Rochester Public Library – Tonia Burton
  5. Kershaw County First Steps – Patrice Davis

The winner of our Early Bird drawing, a $100 credit towards RAR materials, was Dr. Charlotte Metoyer of BDCI-Chicago. Remember, our next drawing for a $200 credit towards RAR materials will include everyone who submits their surveys by the deadline of December 20.   Don’t miss your chance to win! Get your survey in.

Please contact  Tymisha  Sweet at  if you need support or did not receive the link to the online survey.  

Ditching the Reading Logs (An Edutopia Blog by Allie Thrower)

Tracking minutes wasn’t helping her students, so a teacher asked them to instead discuss their reading every day, making it a social activity. “After using reading logs in my fifth-grade classroom for some time, I began to feel burdened by this daily routine. I noticed that students’ reading logs consistently showed the same number of minutes read each night: It was always 20. My students seemed to be reading merely because they had to—not because it opened up windows to the world, because reading about a character who looked like them brought them a sense of belonging and hope, or because they wanted to learn how to change the world for the better.

I sought to find out whether other teachers were feeling the same way and what research said about this issue.” To find out more, continue the story here.

RAR’s Best Practices Webinars

2020 Schedule Announced

RAR develops and presents Webinars featuring Best Practices in areas crucial to program success.   Presenters range from experts in the field and classrooms to RAR national staff responsible for particular areas of interest to our Affiliates. These one-hour webinars are on Thursdays at 2 pm Eastern/11 am Pacific Time. Please register using the links below:

Business Behind The Books

Everybody Wins with November Madness

On Monday, December 9, Raising A Reader revealed the winners from the drawing of all Affiliates that purchased materials in November during our November Madness Sales Promotion:

  • Mary Ann F. Lerner, RAR Massachusetts: RAR Tumbler
  • Jamie Funke-Avellar, Lincoln Unified School District: 100 Babybug Magazines
  • Shannon Pimentel, San Luis Obispo County Office of Education: RAR Swag Bag
  • Betsy Musson, Pendergast Family Resource Center: RAR Christmas Ornament
  • Catina Jones, Early Learning Coalition Duval County: Crayola Limited Edition Crayons
  • Tara Schiffauer Villaneva, House of Ruth – DC: iPad Cover with Notepad
  • Marie Martinez, Tracy Unified School District: Wordless Book Collection

Congratulations to all our winners! In addition to the winners of the Facebook Live drawing, and as an extra added “Thank You”, all Affiliates that ordered during our November Madness sales promotion will receive a Raising A Reader tote bag with a cellphone wallet inside! Don’t miss out on upcoming promotions in 2020!

RAR Inventory Count and Shipping

A gentle reminder that the RAR Warehouse will conduct its annual inventory January 2-10, 2020. While orders can still be placed, during that time, no materials will be shipped out by Raising A Reader. If you are preparing for implementation in early January, please contact Heather Deno for assistance at

In Person Coordinator Training

2020 Scheduled Training
February 25-26
April 21-22
Glen Burnie, MD
August 11-12
Raleigh, NC
August 18-19
Redwood City, CA
September 15-16
Glen Burnie, MD
October 20-21
Redwood City, CA

2020 Best Practices Webinars

March 26
Spring Webinar

June 18
Summer Webinar

September 24
Fall Webinar

November 19
Winter Webinar