September 22, 2021

Dear  Raising  A  Reader Family,    

I hope this September Bookmark finds you and your community safe and in harmony. Like most of you, Raising A Reader has been busy gearing up for the school year.  For some, this marks the return to your Red Book Bag rotation and for others, you may be implementing our Family Shared Reading program. Whichever RAR program is best for your community, we join you in the excitement for the family engagement and shared reading adventures ahead.      

In Spring 2021 we launched a national search for both a Director of Development as well as a Marketing and Communications Officer.  It was  a competitive  search, and we are pleased to welcome such talented non-profit  professionals. I would like to introduce Noelle Colome, Director of Development and Suzanne Metcalf, Marketing and Communications Officer.    

Please join me in welcoming Noelle and Suzanne to the RAR Family! And, read on for our September Bookmark.    

Happy Book Sharing,    

Rebecca Chrystal Armstrong
AVP, Programs & Partnerships  

Network News

Back to School and Back to Raising  A  Reader!  

Back to school means back to Raising A Reader! Whether you are implementing the Classic Red Book Bag Rotation, the Family Shared Reading Program or Super Summer Learning Adventures, we are here to help. For resources and tools, check out our  Going Back Tool Kit  on the  Online Affiliate Network.      


Join us for our monthly Town Hall this Friday, September 24, 2021 at 11 AM Pacific | 2 PM Eastern.

There’s a lot to share at this month’s RAR Town Hall: safe rotations, inventory replenishment, parent outreach and partnerships, and why data is crucial. Hear presentations from three Affiliates in our network and see what other Affiliates are doing to restart their programs. Bring your questions! For Fall implementation, RAR’s September Town Hall is the place to be!

Register here, for the Raising A Reader Town Hall
Friday, September 24, 11 AM PT | 12 PM MT | 1 PM CT | 2 PM ET

RAR Pilot Opportunities!!!  

Raising A Reader is excited to offer two incredible opportunities for Affiliates to participate in our pilot projects for School Year 2021-2022!   We are proud to partner with  Worldreader  and Ready4K to provide  innovative ways to connect with families.      

WorldreaderWorldreader  is a  global nonprofit organization that provides people in the developing world  with free access to a library of digital books via e-readers and mobile phones. The Raising A Reader  Digital Book Bag Rotation, powered by  Worldreader, provides  families with access to a digital library  with hundreds of books from a high-quality, multicultural, global book collection.  RAR’s Digital Book Bag Rotation can be implemented hand-in-hand with our Classic Book Bag Rotation or our Family Shared Reading Programs.      

Ready4K phoneReady4K is an evidence-based family engagement curriculum delivered via text message. Each week, parents and caregivers receive fun facts and easy tips on how to promote their children’s development by building on existing family routines. RAR’s Ready4K program also provides tips on shared reading strategies that build on the RAR curriculum.

To find out more about participating in these programs for your children and families, click here.      

The Annual Affiliate Check-In Survey is Here!  

By popular request, our AACI is being disseminated a bit earlier than in years past. Shorter, and easier to complete this year, the information you are asked to supply is vital to RAR’s planning of resources for the coming year. Of course, we can’t ask you to complete a survey without offering fantastic prizes! Once you complete the survey, you will be entered into a raffle for FREE books and RAR swag.      

Click  here  to access the 2021 Affiliate Check  In  Survey!    

BONUS OPPORTUNITY:  And, new for this year, you have the option of completing an additional, more in-depth survey and will receive a $100 credit to purchase RAR materials! Details are provided within the AACI Survey.

Promising Practices

RAR’s Social Emotional Packs  Meeting the Needs of Families

Raising A Reader Coordinators across the country know how much the COVID 19 pandemic has impacted children and families – especially the social and emotional development of the youngest learners. That’s where RAR’s new Social Emotional (SEL) packs come in. The packs include a comprehensive, yet simple, social and emotional guide for families and a cute stuffed companion for children, Ready Freddy. Social and emotional conversations and scenarios can be practiced with Ready Freddy to ease into topics such as empathy, perseverance, and perspective-taking.

Why Choose RAR’s Social Emotional Packs?

One dedicated RAR Coordinator in California purchased the packs to give away to families at community events throughout the summer. They wrote, “The most important reason, and heartfelt reason, I utilized the kits was due to the family comments shared by the RAR participating sites during the pandemic:

‘We look forward to the RAR book bags and stories, as reading the books with my children has helped with some of the deep emotions we as a family are feeling now.’

‘Reading gives us a chance to end the day in an emotionally safe way, no matter what is going on in our world.’

RAR Social Emotional Guide CoverAs you can read, families/caregivers in our county were already using the RAR books as an SEL tool.   By adding to the regular bookbag routines, the SEL kits were a perfect addition to extend SEL support to families and children directly.  Pairing the kit with regular RAR book rotations offered parents’ examples of open-ended questions and offered encouragement for caregivers, to help their child process their emotions through stories and storytelling.

The second reason I purchased the SEL kits was to offer these kits to a few of our new RAR Site Implementers, mainly the Home Base providers who work with families weekly. Also using the booklets to guide social-emotional learning, as they offered the Red Book Bag rotations, the Beyond the ABCs booklets inspired adult discussions and deeper explorations of the booklet itself, building trusting relationships between the Site Implementers and families/caregivers they served.

Many adults and children are currently continuing to feel stress and anxiety during this pandemic, so having an additional tool to support social and emotional learning has been a gift.”

Click here for a sneak peek of the  Social Emotional Guide. Find these packs and more on our ordering site!

Business Behind The Books

Need to Make Modifications?  

Raising A Reader knows that our Affiliates are diverse — in the families and communities they serve, and in the  ways  they implement our Classic Model. Do you need to make modifications to your Red Book Bag rotation due to COVID-19, or other circumstances, but not sure where to start? Your designated Portfolio Manager can walk you through your options for implementing, including our Red Book Bag safe handling recommendations, modified rotation, our Family Shared Reading Program, or all RAR models!  Connect with us  to schedule a meeting with your Portfolio Manager today!      

A Super Summer Leads to a Fabulous Fall    

Transitioning families from a summer of fun to an autumn of learning doesn’t have to be hard! Raising A Reader’s newest Family Shared Reading Program iteration is coming soon – and includes all of the materials you have come to love from Super Summer Learning Adventures and Family Shared Reading Program; including a bilingual family guide, bilingual books in a variety of genres, supplemental manipulatives, online resources and access to a digital book bag to keep families learning! Keep an eye out for more information on these resources shortly! Get the informational flyer here.  

Discounted Replacement Sets  

We know that going back to Red Book Bag rotation may look a little different this year given that your communities may have experienced some loss in materials. We have proudly extended the sale of our replacement sets to sustain classrooms affected by material loss due to the pandemic. Our replacement sets are affordable, bilingual, come in 0-2, 3-PreK, and school-age, and would be perfect to ensure every classroom has what it needs to return. Visit our  shop site  and connect with us for a quote today!  

From the RAR Bookshelf

My Colors My WorldMy Colors, My World / Mis Colores, Mi Mundo
Author/Illustrator: Maya Christina Gonzalez
Publisher: Lee & Low Books

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month and we celebrate Artist, Author, Educator, Activist Maya Christina Gonzalez. On the back blank pages of books, Maya grew up drawing in pictures of faces she never saw in the stories she read. As an adult, she became an illustrator of over 20 books, bringing in the deep hues that spoke of her world and her vivid memories. For her first book as an author, My Colors, My World / Mis Colores, Mi Mundo, she invites young readers to explore the colors around them. In the story, young Maya appreciates all the beautiful colors that make up her world down to her father’s glossy black hair and the color of her neighborhood bathed in the fiery sunset. My Colors, My World / Mis Colores, Mi Mundo makes for a great picture walk and a springboard to introduce colors in a tangible way. It also serves as a reminder that sharing things that are meaningful to us makes this world a more colorful and beautiful place.

Check out this bilingual read aloud from our partner, Council for a Strong America, which features a community member reading the story and talking about why reading is important. Find this story and more in RAR’s PreK Spanish Classics Refresher kit.

Welcome New Affiliates!

RAR welcomes Monarch Academy Annapolis, part of a cluster of Monarch Academies (MD), whose mission is to provide a school culture that produces students who think critically, problem solve creatively, become self-disciplined, know how to learn, and understand that the goal of life is to serve a cause larger than oneself. They will serve 60 PreK students using RAR’s Classic (Core) Model.

We also welcome our newest Affiliate, Orange County Partnership for Young Children, a 501 ©(3) nonprofit organization located in Hillsborough, NC, with a mission to ensure that all young children in Orange County arrive at kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed. They will be implementing RAR’s Classic Model.

RAR Webinars

Coordinator Training Now Virtual Registration Now Open for  October

Town Halls Now Monthly Register here for September 24

Watch our recent videos:

Super Summer Learning Adventures Webinar

Family Shared Reading Webinar

FSRP Family Learning Circle App

Partner Resources: PD and E-Learning

Campaign  for Grade Level Reading Learning Tuesdays | 3 PM ET | Register here
National Family Support Network Webinar Wednesdays | 2:30 PM ET | Register here
Zero to Three The Fatherhood Connection: Engaging Dads at the Community Level | September 23 @ 2 PM ET | Register here