Fall 2013

Message from the Executive Director

by: Dr. Gabrielle Miller

Now that we’re in the beginning of October, we’ve had to grudgingly accept that summer is over, establish new school year routines, and the cadence of the year continues.  At Raising A Reader we are fortunate to have the opportunity to help families develop one of the most important routines they’ll ever establish—the routine of sharing books. And, as we share later in this newsletter, new independent evidence confirms the impact those routines have on families, children and academic performance.  In addition to the independent evidence are the stories we hear, over and over again, about the power the program has to change parent and child relationships.  Just this week, a parent shared that though she spent a great deal of time with her daughter it wasn’t until she sat down to share a book with her that she realized that she could have a “real” conversation about something besides every-day events.….a conversation in which her she and her daughter could share their thoughts and ideas about something they both experienced for the first time together—the book they pulled out of the Raising A Reader bag.

Thanks to the work of affiliates around the nation, parents share stories like this all the time.  What a great reminder of the profound impact the simple habit of sharing a book can have on families and why we do what we do.

What Makes RAR Different? Evidence, Evidence, Evidence

re-search_RAR_Difference_NewsletterWe are often asked what makes Raising A Reader different from other nonprofit literacy programs.  There are many differences; but at the heart of these differences is Raising A Reader’s proven capacity to help families build the home literacy habits children must have to become skilled readers. And of course, the most important word in that last sentence is “proven”.  So how do we ‘prove’ RAR is effective?  Our commitment to program integrity and evaluation demonstrates RAR’s impact over and over again.  When each affiliate gathers information from parents it shines a light on the local power of RAR on participating families and since 1999 more than twenty different independent evaluations-across many different settings-have confirmed RAR’s influence on home literacy behaviors and meaningful parent involvement.  Learn More

Bank of the West

Bank of the West has partnered with Raising A Reader to create a financial literacy program that provides innovative early literacy, family engagement and financial literacy programming to children throughout the country.  Bank_of_the_west_Newsletter_logoSince our partnership began in 2010, Bank of the West has served more than 4,500 through RAR’s Blue Library Bag program, providing library bags for children, volunteers and support in more than ten states. In 2011, Bank of the West worked with RAR to launch a financial literacy extension pilot program that involved a special book collection and parent training curriculum. Through this innovative project, 200 families in Monterey County and San Mateo County, California have received age-appropriate books centered on key financial literacy concepts and parents received specialized training in how to discuss financial literacy themes with their children through book sharing.

Based on the success of the program, Bank of the West and Raising A Reader are exploring ways to expand the program to reach even more children and families throughout the country.
Raising A Reader is honored to continue working with Bank of the West in a partnership that is providing vital books and materials while building key habits that will form a solid foundation for financial literacy.

Most Heart Warming Photo Contest

Photo_Contest_2015_NewsletterBeginning today, the National Office will begin accepting submissions for Raising A Reader’s 2015 Annual “Most Heartwarming: photo contest!” There will be two winners that will receive great RAR prizes.

A panel of National Office Staff judges will evaluate the photos based on the following criteria:

  • Photo tells an appealing story
  • Subjects of the photo are clearly participating in Raising A Reader activities
  • Photo captures the spirit of Raising A Reader Learn More.



The Recess Queen
By Alexis O’Neill

recess queen

As students settle into their school routines, one of the best parts of their school day will be recess time! However, recess time isn’t so fun when there is a bully patrolling the school yard. Learn More

Education Article: Learning the ABC’s: What kinds of picture books facilitate young children’s learning?

By Cynthia Chiong and Judy S. DeLoache

Learning the ABCs: What kinds of picture books facilitate young children’s learning? Journal of Early Childhood Literacy June 2013 13: 225-241, first published on March 5, 2012 doi:10.1177/1468798411430091
Among the most common types of interaction between caregivers and young children is sharing picture books with alphabet books being among the more popular types of books used in these interactions. This article features two studies that examined alphabet letter learning by 30- to 36-month old children in book-reading interactions with an adult. The results of these studies have important implications for the design and selection of educationally oriented books for very young children.

International Creativity Award

Raising A Reader’s new website was recently chosen as a winner for the 2013 American Web Design Awards!  Congratulations to our partner Design Nut. We couldn’t be more thrilled!


Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park will donate 6% of on any non-discounted to Raising A Reader. If in-store, just mention Raising A Reader at checkout. Online purchases can also be made at www.keplers.com through the Community Partners Nonprofits page.