June 10, 2020

Dear  Raising  A Reader Family,

Raising A Reader is outraged by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The recent horrible acts of injustice and racism in New York, Kentucky, Minnesota and Georgia are not novel. We stand with the black community, and we firmly believe that Black Lives Matter. Racial inequality and racism destroys the social fabric of our country and casts a dark shadow on the future of our children. We must stand together and recognize that, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

For the past 20 years, Raising A Reader has strived to close the opportunity gap for under resourced children and their families, specifically in communities of color across the country. It is our belief and hope that education and literacy can be a cornerstone in creating equality and opportunity for all. It is abundantly clear to me that we need to double down in our efforts to better serve communities of color and the future of America.

Our call to action includes:

  • Incorporating anti-racist and trauma curriculum into our train the trainer model so that we can better support our network of leaders in the field;
  • Creating a direct line to parents so that we are creating parent engagement tools by and for parents of color;
  • Seeking to align our work with the agendas of long standing advocacy groups like National Black Child Development Institute and Black Women’s Health Imperative.

This agenda will expand and grow, but it is where we will start.

Raising A Reader stands firm in its unwavering commitment to equality, diversity, inclusivity and improving the lives of children in all communities across the United States. And we vehemently oppose racial injustice in all its forms.

In loving kindness,


Michelle Torgerson
President and CEO

Network News

Summer is here and while we’re all ready for some downtime and BBQs, there is also concern about the COVID/Summer slide (see article below). The consequences of up to 5 months of learning loss could make a lasting impact that is irreversible. RAR has developed some new and exciting literacy activities to keep our young learners active, engaged and ready for school. Here is what’s new:

Super Summer Book Bags
Five weeks of school readiness activities designed for rising kinder and 1st  graders. Kits arrive complete with 4 RAR books (English or bilingual Spanish), a bilingual activity guide, and manipulatives that coincide with the activities. No internet necessary! Bags are $40 each (plus shipping). Order now for arrival in July.

Super Summer Read Aloud Series
Add some variety to your family reading routines with RAR’s Super Summer Read Aloud Series. RAR has partnered with Lee & Low Books to provide Affiliates and families with weekly bilingual read alouds shared by the author of each book.

Author Lulu Delacre shares her book How Far Do You Love Me?

If you have questions or need help placing an order, feel free to call us at 650-489-0550 or email us at rarinquiry@raisingareader.org.

Promising Practices

Red Book Bag Collection – Are your students returning to school to collect personal items, drop off a laptop, or pick up summer packets? We suggest putting out an RAR Book Bag collection bin to gather any Red Book Bags that might be in family homes. Here is a flyer template to help spread the word.

Red Book Bag Disinfection  â€“ In preparation for the launch of the next RAR program cycle, many Affiliates have asked about the best way to disinfect their RAR materials and keep families safe. We’ve been keeping a careful eye on the research about surface transmission of Covid-19. The excerpt below is from an article in the School Library Journal that summarizes the findings on the surfaces most closely related to RAR materials.

“A  study, published in March in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that the virus “remained active on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for two to three days under the conditions in this experiment. It remained infectious for up to 24 hours on cardboard.” A study published in The Lancet on April 2 showed “no infectious virus could be recovered from printing and tissue papers after a 3-hour incubation.”

You will find links to all the research articles, along with bag disinfection guidelines in our Disinfecting Materials Guide. Please share this information with your implementers and anyone who helps with bag rotation.

Business Behind The Books

When planning for your next program year, we recommend that you conduct an inventory to determine what materials you may need in the coming months.  It may be helpful to involve your administration to discuss budget, and your teachers to talk about anticipated loss – we know that a team effort is the most effective. Raising A Reader knows how overwhelming this may feel, which is why we created the  RAR Materials Inventory Tracker  on our Online Affiliate Network to help you! Simply fill in the classrooms, number of students and the  amount  of books you  have to  determine your needs. As always, if you need assistance, do not hesitate to reach out to us.    

Use It or Lose It
Deadlines are approaching! If you have a ‘use it or lose it’ policy for spending down funds, now is the time to get the most out of your budget.  Raising A Reader can help you with quotes and orders to ensure you have the resources. Our Super Summer Book Bags would be a great way to spend summer funds and invest in the families you serve!  

Research Roundup

Academically Speaking, the ‘COVID Slide’ Could Be a Lot Worse Than You Think
by Sarah D. Sparks

Education leaders are already bracing for a worse “summer slide” this year for students whose schools were shut down to curb the spread of coronavirus. But new research suggests the so-called coronavirus or “COVID slide” is going to be significantly worse. The graph below shows the average rates for typical summer reading loss and with added COVID slide. Click here for full article.

Whether it is identifying simple shapes that make up everyday items or finding the similarities between others and yourself, Another, by author/Illustrator Christian Robinson, is a fantastic journey of a book! This multiple award-winning wordless book takes us on a visual journey to another world with a little girl and her cat after they are ‘cat-burgled’ in the night. It is beautifully illustrated, whimsical and a true window/mirror that families will want to go through over and over. Find Another in our 3-4 English Refresher Set.

To help families during this long period of learning from home, Christian created a video series called Making Space featuring simple art projects with everyday objects around themes such as gratitude, friendship, mood and perseverance. You can find the short weekly videos (6-9 minutes each) inspired by Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on Christian’s Instagram account.

Super Summer
Town Hall

Super Summer Town Hall meetings will continue to be held on Fridays throughout the summer. Please join us each week to learn, share and connect. Click here to register.

June 12
No Meeting

June 19
Administrator to Implementer Buy-In

Partner Resources: PD and E-Learning

June 16:  12 noon PT/3 pm ET
CGLR:  Flattening the Curve on Learning Loss: State Considerations and Strategies

June 23: 12 noon PT/3 pm ET
CGLR:  The Role of Broadcast Media in Mitigating the Digital Divide

Live with an Author- every Tuesday at 6pm ET
Raising A Reader Massachusetts is hosting weekly discussions with several New York Times best-selling authors from a variety of disciplines. See the guest list and register here!

July 1 2020: 1pm PT/4pm ET
Mindful Allyship: An Intro Course for Heart-felt Racial Healing