November 20, 2019

2019 has been a milestone year for Raising A Reader as we have celebrated 20 years of changing children’s lives through literacy. To mark the occasion, we’ve celebrated with a momentous National Institute, two new book collections and incredible updates to the resources and tools that RAR offers to support programs across the country.

Read on to learn more about these exciting events, updates and resources!

Happy Book Sharing!

RAR’s 20th  Anniversary Celebration and National Institute

Raising A Reader: 20 Years of Changing Children’s Lives through Literacy!

On November 6, the 20th  Anniversary Celebration at the Pullman San Francisco Bay Hotel brought together RAR’s founders, leaders, supporters and Affiliates for a morning to reflect on where we have come as an organization and where we are going as we enter our next 20 years. RAR President and CEO, Michelle Torgerson, acknowledged two key individuals who founded Raising A Reader – Sterling Speirn and Carol Gray. In addition, Raising A Reader thanked the following supporters with a “Legacy of Literacy” award to recognize them for their role in the success of the organization, including: The Bezos Family Foundation, The Masons of California, The E. Richard Jones Family Foundation and Greenlight Fund.

Managing Director of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, Ralph Smith, followed with a keynote address that discussed the importance of early literacy and the role our Affiliates play in the quest for all children to become readers by  third grade.

The National Institute brought together over 65 attendees from 41 Affiliates from 12 states across the country. For two days, attendees participated in engaging workshops led by RAR Partners and Affiliates, increased their understanding of critical issues facing the field of early childhood with presentations from plenary speakers and spent time networking with colleagues at the RAR Expo.

The event culminated with an Affiliate Awards luncheon to recognize all Affiliates for their tremendous efforts to support children and families.   In particular, a few Affiliates and supporters were recognized for their role as RAR leaders, both locally and regionally, including: Raising A Reader Massachusetts, Reading Ready Pittsburgh, The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Jennifer Robinson (Pajaro Valley Unified School District), CiKeithia Pugh (Seattle Public Library), and Bismarck Public Schools.

We are thankful to everyone who helped make this event a success!   Now the entire RAR network can be part of the learning by viewing the Institute presentations here.

For Institute Attendees: Don’t forget to complete the Survey. Your responses will help us shape the next National Institute.  

RAR’s Resources

Support from the National Office Staff

As many of our Main Coordinators know, under our new Portfolio Management system, each RAR Affiliate is assigned to a member of the RAR National office  who will be a direct contact for your organization.  We’re  currently reaching out to  Affiliates  for our Fall Outreach but your  Affiliate portfolio manager is available year-round.

To help local programs get up and running, Raising A Reader offers free Coordinator training on both the east and west coast. Coordinator training dates for 2020 are listed below.

We also host webinars throughout the year on subjects of interest to our Affiliates. A big subject of interest concerns funding, so our last webinar for the year (this Thursday at 2 pm ET) offers strategies and resources for securing funding and completing budget requirements.  Reserve your spot for the free webinar below in our RAR Training Opportunities section.

Affiliate Check-In Survey Coming  Soon!

Another method that informs our work on your behalf, is our Annual Affiliate Check-In. To ensure that we use resources effectively, improve RAR program offerings, and to help us secure funding, we ask Affiliates to share local program information through the Annual Affiliate Check-In Survey.  

Survey links  will be sent to  Main Coordinators  via email on  November 25th.  We ask that Affiliates submit their survey  by  December 20th.  

To help you prepare for the 2019 check-in, please  open this  worksheet  that will guide you as you begin to collect demographic, programming and funding information for the check-in. Having the completed worksheet in front of you will make completing the survey a breeze!  

Please contact  Tymisha  Sweet  if you have any questions or comments.  

RAR’s Online Resources

Our Website includes information on resources that you can download as well as updates on new features available from Raising A Reader, training opportunities, and news about Affiliates from across the network. Visit our website at

The Online Affiliate Network (OAN) is an Affiliates-Only resource hub that houses Coordinator and Implementer resources, templates, impact guides and more, such as parent surveys and data rubrics to track progress. Each Affiliate Main Coordinator is given access. If you do not have your access code, please contact us at

The RAR YouTube page is full of informational videos created for parents to learn skills to be their child’s first teacher.

Our webinars on GoToStage provide topics for Affiliates to learn more about a specific subject, including best practices for program implementation, building library connections, and parent engagement.

Follow Raising A Reader on Social Media and  Share Your Best Practices!

   Mobile: @raising_a_reader

   Mobile: @raisingareadernational

 Mobile: @RARnational



Training sessions are usually a two-day event from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM. The scheduled Coordinator Training is free; however, all transportation and lodging costs are assumed by Affiliates.  Listed below are the 2020 Coordinator Training dates:

West Coast: February 25-26 | August 18-19 | October 20-21
RAR National Office
Sobrato Center for Nonprofits at Redwood Shores
330 Twin Dolphin Drive, Bay Room
Redwood City, CA 94065

East Coast: April 21-22 | September 15-16
RAR East Coast Office
810 Cromwell Park Drive, Suite K
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

North Carolina: August 11-12
North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc.
1100 Wake Forest Road
Raleigh, NC 27604


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 1-Hour Webinars are typically on Thursdays at 2 pm Eastern/11 am Pacific Time. A roster of Webinar offerings for 2020 will be available shortly and will be listed in each Bookmark as well as on our Website and the Online Affiliate Network.

The final Webinar for 2019 is this Thursday, November 21:

2019 Winter Webinar – Best Practices and Strategies for Successful RAR Funding and Budget Approval
Thursday, November 21 | 2:00 pm ET/11:00 am PT

Interested in how to increase your chances of obtaining funding for your RAR program? This webinar will provide an overview of best practices and strategies to use when applying for grants or submitting budget proposals. Included will be templates to use, examples of budget proposals, and various funding streams to consider. This webinar will be interactive so bring your questions and examples of successful proposals that you can share with other attendees. Click this link to reserve your spot. Handouts will be provided and following the webinar, a video recording will be available for registrants.

Special Note: If you are  currently  completing budget  planning/grant writing,  remember  to include  Raising A Reader. If  you need assistance with  quotes or  have  questions  about our  materials, please contact us at  

Business Behind The Books

NEW!  SocialEmotional Book  Only Collection
Special Pricing  
Limited Time  Only!  

You asked for it, we’ve got it!  RAR is now offering a  Social-Emotional Special Book Collection, for ages 4-6, at the special introductory price of $180.00. The collection consists of 10 books and a downloadable guide for Implementers. Preorders are now being accepted and payment (check, credit card, purchase orders) must be received by December 15 to receive the special pricing.  Place your order on the RAR shop site or reach out to Heather Deno for questions (

November Madness Sales Promotion

It’s November, the season of Thanksgiving! Raising A Reader thanks each of our Affiliate partners for your dedication and support for children and families across the country. As you continue this great work, know that Raising A Reader is available to help you along the way.

To show our thanks, for every purchase you make between now and December 2nd, your organization will be entered into a bi-weekly raffle to win FREE prizes!   Join us on Facebook “Live” as winners are drawn from all eligible Affiliates!

On December 3, one overall winner will receive free Wordless Book Collection. The earlier your order is placed, the greater chance you have to win one of the drawings. Get your orders in now to be to be ready for the New Year and to be eligible for great prizes from Raising A Reader.

To guarantee that we will ship materials by the end of the year, all  orders must be submitted by December 2 and checks/credit cards/purchase orders must  be received by December 11.  Please note that Raising A Reader conducts its annual inventory January 2–10, 2020, and orders will not be shipped during this time.  Orders placed during November/December should include shipping instructions that take Affiliate organization closings and/or the RAR Warehouse inventory dates (January 2-10) into  consideration. If you need assistance or help with a quote, please contact Heather Deno at

New Product Catalog
Recently, Raising A Reader Massachusetts developed a beautiful color catalog listing all of RAR’s current products. It includes the new streamlined Pocket Chart based on recommendations from you! See page 38. Need to order? Our Sales team is available to help you at any time. Please contact them at Download your copy here.

Appalachian Collection Updated to 5 Titles

This book only special collection set now contains five paperback and Hardcover Appalachian titles instead of four.   Books are appropriate for 4-6 year olds and is priced at $80.

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

Welcome to Raising A Reader’s Newest Affiliates:

Glendale Elementary School District
Glendale, AZ

Maricopa County Family Resource Network
Mesa, AZ

Palo Verde Unified School District
Blythe, CA


November 21
2019 Winter Webinar

2020 Webinar Schedule Coming Soon!