January 21, 2021

Hello, Raising A Reader Family!

January represents the chance to start anew, with firsts, beginnings, do-overs, and the dreaded resolutions. In inaugural years, Americans fervently look forward and pledge to make these possibilities a reality.  In 2021, the opportunities feel attainable with:

  • A new President not afraid to say Black Lives Matter and denounce white supremacy.
  • Kamala Harris, the first African-American, South Asian and woman Vice President, bridging the legislative and executive branches of government.
  • The development of vaccines and an aggressive COVID response to get to a new “normal”.

At Raising A Reader, as we begin to plan for 2021, we are resolved to accept the opportunities and meet the challenges that will make our network stronger and more resilient.

In our first newsletter of the year, we want you to get excited about the possibilities for your families as we roll out:

  • RAR’s New Virtual Coordinator Training starting next week.
  • RAR’s New editions to our Family Shared Reading Program coming this Spring.
  • RAR’s New monthly Town Hall meetings debuting January 29.

In the coming year, we joyfully look forward to what our partnership can accomplish, and we hope that you will take part in all the opportunities presented in this edition of the Bookmark.

Your RAR National Team

Network News

RAR’s New Virtual Coordinator Training Inaugural Cohort Begins!

Raising A Reader’s new virtual training for Coordinators debuts next week! We have converted the traditional 2-day intensive in-person training into a 4-week virtual model consisting of self-paced course work and weekly live sessions. To date, 64 Affiliate members have signed up, making it one of our largest cohorts! Each week, participants will work independently to complete a 60-90 minute module prior to attending a 60-minute virtual live session with RAR staff and the other participants. Watch this video  for an overview of the training.

The training is specifically designed for program Coordinators and is appropriate for Coordinators from new Affiliates, personnel from established Affiliates who have recently taken on the Coordinator role, as well as previously trained Coordinators who feel they would benefit from a refresher. Dates and times for the inaugural live sessions are as follows:

Dates:   January 28, February 4, 11, and 18
Times:   12 pm Pacific | 3 pm Eastern

Register here for RAR’s Virtual Coordinator Training. Registration closes Monday, January 25.


Annual Affiliate Check-In Survey: Wayne County Wins Early Bird Prize!  

Congratulations to Sherry Granberry and  Wayne County Public Library (NC)! They completed their Annual Affiliate Check-In Survey before the deadline and won the Early Bird Drawing for a $100 credit to use toward RAR materials.

If you missed the deadline for the Early Bird Drawing, don’t worry! All Affiliates who complete the  check in  by the final deadline, January  22, will be entered into the Bookworm Drawing for a chance to win  a  $200 credit towards RAR materials.  The  Annual Affiliate Check-In Survey is shorter and easier to complete this year, so get yours in today!  

Please click the following link to complete and submit your survey.    
Annual Affiliate Check-In Survey Link

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Tymisha Sweet at  tsweet@raisingareader.org.  

Affiliate Check-In Calls Continue!  

Each RAR Affiliate organization has a dedicated RAR National Office staff member (Portfolio Manager) to serve as a personal contact for all things RAR. Frequently, these Portfolio Managers conduct outreach campaigns to reach every Affiliate to check in and catch up. The purpose of these calls are to get an understanding of the priorities and program implementation plans throughout the network. This information, in conjunction with the Annual Affiliate Check-In Survey, informs our work on behalf of our network and helps RAR to focus its efforts. Learning how we can support you is more important than ever before during this pandemic. Please check your emails for meeting requests from us. If you have not received an email or call from your Portfolio Manager, please contact us at rarinquiry@raisingareader.org to set up a meeting.


Town Hall Meetings Return in New Monthly Format
Join us January 29 at 11 am Pacific | 2 pm Eastern

In 2020, Raising A Reader hosted 35 Town Hall meetings giving Affiliates a forum to grapple with the effects of COVID-19 on their operations and share their innovations to meet the moment. We are grateful to all those who attended and supported this format but we realize that the time commitment was a big lift for Affiliates and staff alike. We believe the new monthly format will allow us to streamline the meetings while still relaying crucial content. Join us, Friday, January 29, for our first Town Hall of 2021! Our team will share information on the 2nd Edition of the Family Shared Reading Program. Register here.


Family Shared Reading Program  
The Collection Grows

The reviews are in! Affiliates and parents alike applaud this RAR’s new resource and determination to meet the needs of its Affiliate communities. The Family Shared Reading Program (FSRP) represents a response to the pandemic and RAR’s effort to keep the booksharing going. The program included a wealth of literacy support for families and helped to build at-home libraries with high quality books. We are proud to announce new editions to the FSRP available for order by mid-February. Join us at the Town Hall Meeting on January 29 for more information!

Promising Practices

Raising A Reader Serving the Community

Jennifer Robinson

Gladys Gomez

We’re putting the spotlight on two members of our network: Jennifer Robinson, Pajaro Valley USD (CA) and Gladys Gomez, Community Bridges’ La Manzana Community Resources (CA). On Wednesday, January 13, they presented a free virtual parenting workshop titled, “Family Reading Time is Quality Time,” on how sharing books and stories is a positive parenting strategy that promotes children’s learning, development, and well-being, and shared learning strategies and activities for reading together at home. The workshop was presented in English and Spanish with interpretation on Zoom. Gladys focused on positive parenting and book sharing while Jennifer focused on interactive reading strategies. This workshop was part of the Triple P (Positive Parent Programs) workshop series sponsored by First 5 Santa Cruz that covers practical tips and strategies for handling specific parenting questions and challenges.

Well done, Jennifer and Gladys!
Interested in facilitating your own virtual family workshop? Raising A Reader is excited to provide a 3-part virtual workshop series (created in partnership with Raising A Reader Massachusetts). Click here to access the virtual training content. Access to the Online Affiliate Network (OAN) is required. Contact us at rarinquiry@raisingareader.org for more information.

Business Behind The Books

RAR: A New Year and New Opportunities

The warehouse is open!  Our annual inventory is complete and we are in full swing – shipping orders and preparing kits. Contact us if you need assistance with orders or shipping details at 650.489.0550.   Make plans now for upcoming summer and fall seasons! Quotes are a great way to plan future purchases and think about future needs. Our team can set up quotes in different configurations for your organization. Contact Mikaela Houghton at mhoughton@raisingareader.org for assistance, and please remember that requesting a quote does not a constitute a promise to purchase, so feel free to request quotes to assist in your planning.


Grant Opportunity for Pacific Northwest Affiliates

RAR recently learned of a community grant opportunity for Affiliates in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California with First Tech Federal Credit Union. First Tech funds both programmatic and capacity building for 501 ©(3) nonprofit organizations and  has an upcoming opportunity for  innovative educational programs. The deadline for applications is February 28, 2021.  A prior relationship with the funder is recommended before applying. More information can be found at  https://www.firsttechfed.com/discover/grants.  

Research Roundup

Talking to Kids About the Violence at the U.S. Capitol
Age-based Tips and Conversation Starters for Families from Common Sense Media

Source: Commons Sense Media

The storming of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, was a shocking attack on an essential part of a democracy: the peaceful transition of power from one president to the next. As Congress met to certify the 2020 electoral college vote, a protest outside the Capitol turned violent as a crowd unlawfully entered the building and temporarily disrupted the voting process.

For some adults and older kids, the images of the rioting crowd might trigger memories of past violent events in the U.S. or in other countries. For kids and families of color and of Jewish heritage, racist imagery — like Confederate flags in the Capitol — can be hurtful and disturbing.  â€¦

Young kids aren’t yet fully able to understand complex situations. Kids at the younger end of this group still can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality. If you can, try to turn off the news when young kids are around. Of course, they may still hear about scary news from their siblings or friends — or overhear an adult talking about it. If they do, let them know that they and their family are safe, and use these questions to support them:

  • What did you watch/hear about what happened? (Ask follow-up questions without adding unnecessary information.)
  • How did that make you feel?
  • What would make you feel better?

Read the entire article by Diane Jones Lowrey and see  more resources for helping kids understand the news here.
Source: Common Sense Media website  

From the RAR Bookshelf

This month’s title from the RAR Bookshelf is Just Like Brothers by Elizabeth Baguley and illustrated by Aurelie  Blanz.  From our partner, Barefoot Books, this story is heartwarming fable for our time! A human mother tells her small son to watch out for wolves, and a wolf mother tells her cub to fear men — but their children don’t listen. What will happen when the boy and the cub cross paths in the forest? This simple but profound story makes it easy to start conversations about prejudice, empathy and trust.

Just Like Brothers  is part of our Social Emotional Special Collection and is appropriate for ages 3-7.

Welcome New Coordinators!

RAR welcomes members taking on new roles as Coordinators! We are here to support you and look forward to seeing many of you at the first Virtual Coordinator Training Live Session on January 28!

Partner Resources: PD and E-Learning

Campaign  for Grade Level Reading Learning Tuesdays Register here |   3 PM ET