March 12, 2019


I know that the weather has been pretty unforgiving across the country these past few months and I hope that this note finds you and community safe and warm! We’ve had a busy winter at Raising A Reader, and I am eager to share three key highlights of the quarter with you.  

  1. Raising A Reader is reaching more children than ever!    In 2018, we served 137,500 children and their families through our network of 293 Affiliates. Nearly 70% of Affiliates completed the Annual Affiliate Check in Survey this year.   We are grateful to you all for your participation.   Through the survey we gain valuable information about your communities and best practices. I am eager to report back on how we use your insights to strengthen the program model.    
  2. National strategic planning process underway.  In January, Raising A Reader’s national board of directors and I launched a multiyear strategic planning process to define our priorities, key innovations, and vision for the next three – five years. The five-month planning process will include input from members of the affiliate network and key community stakeholders. The plan is slated to be presented to the board in June at our annual retreat, and the team and I look forward to unveiling it to you over the summer.    
  3. Our 20th  anniversary campaign will kick off in March, National Literacy Month.  2019 marks our 20th  anniversary providing family engagement and early literacy programming to children across the country. In the coming weeks you’ll learn more about our plans to celebrate which includes meaningful ways to involve Affiliates’ communities and will culminate in a network-wide event.  Here is a preview of  things to come  as we launch our celebration –  a feature  podcast in the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s  Philanthropy Now  series.  

I’d love to hear from you and welcome the opportunity to connect online, by phone, or an in person visit. Thank you for all that you do for communities, and to enrich the Raising A Reader Affiliate Network.    

Kindest regards,  

Affiliate Spotlight

Solano County Office of Education , CA

Raising A Reader is excited for the start of our partnership with  Solano County Office of Education  and  participating Quality Counts family child care homes and center-based programs! We look forward to being part of your mission to improve outcomes for children of Solano County using evidence-based strategies.    

First 5 Solano Children and Families Commission awarded Solano County Office of Education with funding to implement Raising a Reader. For the 2018-19 program year, 20 Quality Counts  sites will participate in Raising a Reader, allowing more than 500 children to take home a set of four books on a weekly basis and share with their families. Prior to this, in 2014 the RAR program was started with 137 children at the Solano Community College Early Learning Center.   We are thrilled to see multiple agencies partner together in Solano County, CA to expand an existing program and take it to the next level.    

Click  here  to read the full article.    

A great example of community partnerships between multiple agencies!   Thank you,  First 5 Solano Children and Families Commission,  for your support!  

Affiliate Portfolio    

NEW Customer Service Model!    

This year RAR National is implementing a new model to connect more regularly with our Affiliates.   We want to hear what works, what doesn’t work, what is going great, and how we can help you make your RAR program even more robust and impactful.   Each Affiliate will be assigned to a Portfolio manager, a member of the RAR staff who will be their first line of contact.   Portfolio managers will reach out a minimum of twice each year to communicate news from the National Office including upcoming trainings, new book collections, and other news.  This check-in time will also be used to share concerns (and success stories!) you have about your program, listen to ideas and brainstorm solutions for any challenges.  We are here to help you reach your family engagement and early literacy goals.   In the next few weeks your Portfolio Manager will reach out to introduce themselves and set up a time to connect.  We look forward to speaking with you!       

Business Behind the Books

In this issue of the Bookmark, we spent time reviewing our STEM book collection and showing how Affiliates are incorporating the collection into their RAR programming to not only add different books to the rotation cycle, but also to help meet STEM initiatives within curriculum guidelines and several federal/state mandates.   However, where does the funding come from to add these extra books?

First, look to your principal/school district. If there is a budget set aside for curriculum materials or STEM activities, RAR STEM books should qualify not only due to the book content, but also because they include bookplates inside each book cover that outlines what STEM concepts are explored in the book and provides ideas and types of questions parents can ask their child as they are sharing the book aloud.


Sales Promotions

During the month of February, purchase a Japanese, Nepali or 0-2 Portuguese Special Collection and receive 100 FREE Cricket Magazines (your choice of BabyBug, LadyBug, or Click).  Look for the coupon codes on the RAR shop website!

Now through May 30, 2019 refer a Smart Start, First Steps, First 5, or other state birth to age five program that may be interested in starting our RAR program. If the agency begins implementing our program by September 1, 2019, you will receive your choice of a Wordless Book Collection, Touch and Feel Book Collection, or 300 issues of Click/LadyBug/BabyBug booklets!


In Person Coordinator Training

Feb 12-13
Redwood City, CA  
April 2-3
Glen Burnie, MD
July 30-31
Redwood City, CA
Aug 6-7

Online Coordinator Training


March 28
Spring Webinar

June 20
Summer Webinar  

September 26
Fall Webinar

November 21
Winter Webinar

Welcome to our New Affiliates!

Atlanta, GA
United Way of Greater Atlanta

Baltimore, MD
A World of Friends School

Baltimore, MD
Oheb Shalom’s Learning Ladder

Cumberland, MD
Allegany County Public Schools

Mandan, ND
Mandan Public Schools

Minot, ND
Minot Public School District

Phoenix, AZ
Creighton Family Resource Center

Philadelphia, PA
KenCrest Services