June 17, 2021

Dear Raising A Reader Network,

We hope The Bookmark finds you in good health and enjoying the wonder of early summer with these gloriously long days of sunlight and time for booksharing. There is much to celebrate this time of year!

First, with the ending of another school year, and the natural marking of a child’s growth and accomplishments. We send a heartfelt congratulations to the families of our Kindergarten graduates, many of whom spent at least some portion of the year learning remotely. We celebrate your courage and resilience!

This month we are also celebrating Juneteenth. Juneteenth is the observance of the African American Emancipation Day. Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and in celebrations today, often emphasizes reflection, education and achievement. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions come together to acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. The beautiful book Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford is a wonderful choice if you’re looking for ways to bring recognition to your own classrooms. Raising A Reader will be closed on Friday, June 18th to observe the holiday, which is observed on June 19.

Finally, throughout the month, we will be recognizing and celebrating LGBTQIA+ Pride. At Raising A Reader, our aim is to help all children and families feel supported and accepted. A wonderful book, Rainbow, A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart is a great story book that highlights what we believe, that all families are important.

As you can see, we have so much to celebrate with our families and communities this month! We are ever grateful for your partnership and look forward to being in touch with you soon!

Kindest regards,

Michelle Torgerson

Network News

Super Summer Learning Adventures is Aligned for Super Learning

It’s not the same old summer with RAR’s Super Summer Learning Adventures! Our newest program offers easy-to-implement family activities that are aligned to Common Core, ESSA and Kindergarten Readiness standards. Don’t miss the opportunity to level up the learning for your families this summer with our Super Summer Learning Adventures program Family Packs for emerging PreK-Kindergarten and First and Second Grade. We also have special kits for Educators and Infant/Toddler sets.

Watch the video for an overview of the Super Summer Learning Adventures program here.

Contact us for a quote for your summer program and to share with your families.

Matching funding from donor organizations may be available for eligible California Communities. Matching funding from donor organizations may also be available for Affiliates who serve home-based daycare and family-friend-neighbor childcare providers across the country. Contact Kristen Anderson at kanderson@raisingareader.org for more information.


The Raising A Reader Team is Growing!

Raising A Reader is searching for the following full-time positions: Director, Development and Communications and Marketing and Communications Manager. For candidates in the US, these positions can work remotely or from our Milpitas, California office.

We are also in need of a part-time temporary Warehouse Associate for June through August.

For all positions, see these job postings on our website. Please share with your networks!


Nadia Lowe, right, and staff, Craven Smart Start (NC), welcoming students

June Town Hall: Gearing Up for the School Year!  
Friday, June 25 | 11am PT | 2pm ET

Join us for our June Town Hall where we’ll discuss going back plans for School Year 21-22.   Learn about what RAR Affiliates are doing to prepare for the year ahead and what RAR tools are available to help you along the way.   Don’t miss this important Town Hall!

Register for the June Town Hall here.  


RAR LIVE! Radical Collaboration
Wednesday, June 23 | 9:45am PT | 12:45pm ET
Join the Livestream @raisingareadernational

Barry Ford, President and CEO, Council for a Strong America

Our guest for June will be Barry Ford, President and CEO, Council for a Strong America. Our conversation will include what unsuspecting leaders are doing in your community to advocate for early childhood education and childcare. Council for a Strong America brings together thousands of powerful leaders from business, military, law enforcement, and sports who are committed to preparing the next generation to be well-educated, physically-fit, and prepared for productive lives. Join the conversation at 9:45am Pacific/12:45 Eastern, Wednesday, June 23, on Facebook @raisingareadernational.

Follow us on social media for updates and links to stream: Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram, Linkedin  and  YouTube.


Join us on June 24 to See RAR Partnerships in Action!

Partnerships are in full swing on this busy day in June. Raising A Reader is partnering with amazing organizations: Region 9 Head Start Association, New America and Share the Magic Foundation-Read With Malcolm, to share information, increase our knowledge base and support our network. Join us Thursday, June 24, for these informative events!

Learning at Home While Under-Connected:
A Forum to Discuss New Survey Data and Lessons for the Next School Year
Time: 9:00am-10:45 PT | 12:00-1:45pm ET
Register here for this groundbreaking event!

Raising A Reader and our affiliates, Brilliant Detroit (MI), Reading Ready Pittsburgh (PA), Grail Family Services (CA), and First 5 Santa Clara County (CA), were proud to partner with New America and Rutgers University on their forthcoming report.

Please join us for New America’s national virtual forum to unveil these findings and discuss how to act on this data to better support families, schools, and community-based organizations in the coming months.

For more information on speakers and agenda click here.


Using Culturally Responsive Children’s Books to Support Family Engagement Part II
Time: 1-1:30 pm PT | 4-4:30 pm ET
Register here.

This workshop is in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association (CA). Join Rebecca Armstrong, RAR, Asst. Vice President, for the follow-up of the first session – watch the June 3 recording here.


Join READCamp Coach Malcolm Mitchell live on Facebook for the
Raising A Reader Fireside Chat
Time: 4pm PT | 7pm ET
Join the Livestream @readwithmalcolm

Don’t miss the first live event for READCamp 2021! Coach Mitchell will get your kids inspired and pumped up to meet their reading goals, share a read aloud and answer your questions. Contact us at rarinquiry@raisingareader.org to submit your child’s questions for the Super Bowl champ and founder of READCamp next Thursday, June 24, at 7pm Eastern | 4pm Pacific. Join the chat on Facebook @readwithmalcolm.

Promising Practices

Monroe County Library Systems (NY) Celebrated as Bright Spot Community
Campaign for Grade Level Reading  

GGLR Bright Spot RAR Super Summer

Student completing a RAR Super Summer activity

Congratulations to RAR Affiliate The Monroe County Library System (NY), the partners of Greater Rochester Summer Learning Association and ROC the Future on being recognized as a 2021 Bright Spot Community by the Campaign for Grade Level Reading (CGLR) for their work in early childhood learning over summer 2020. CGLR recognized communities that responded to the pandemic with programs that were “especially effective, replication-worthy and/or deserving of being sustained during the post-COVID period.” The summer of 2021 will be just as bright for children and families in the Rochester, NY, through their continued collaborations. Congratulations from RAR! See the full program report here. It warms our hearts to see the smiling face on page 5 using RAR’s Super Summer guide. RAR Coordinator, Tonia Burton, gives credit and kudos to all the amazing partners that came together to serve families, like Golisano Children’s Hospital Pediatric Practice.

Dr. Bryan Webb shared notes of thanks from parents who received the Super Summer book bags Tonia dropped off at his office. Read just a few of their comments about RAR’s Super Summer program:

“She’s a lot more confident with her letters. She hasn’t gotten a chance to go to preschool yet but I feel she’s more ready for kindergarten!

“The other kids played with it too! My kids needed new books, especially with being stuck at home.”

“This got her started on letters and numbers and now she’s trying to put them into words!”

“He finds ways to use all of the toys in the packet. Keep doing it; it works! He’s trying to read letters now and never did that before.”

“She’s not in pre-school or kindergarten, but it made her feel like she had important homework to do.”

Business Behind The Books

Did You Know?

June is Rainbow Book Month – a celebration which began in the early 1990s, led by the American Library Association, highlighting the authors and writings that reflect the lived experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community. For more information on how your community can join the American Library Association, click here, and look out for social media posts from Raising A Reader National highlighting their work on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. In addition, consider purchasing our diverse families book-only set to add to your collection to ensure all families are represented in the Red Book Bag rotation. Raising A Reader’s LGBTQ+ / Diverse Collection contains 5 board, laminated paperback and hardcover books featuring families with a variety of dynamics to help students understand how families are made up across the nation for $95. Visit our shop site to purchase.


Does Your Fiscal Year End on June 30?

If your school or organization has funds that need to be spent by, or materials that need to be received by, June 30, our classic program materials, Super Summer Learning Adventures or Family Shared Reading Program could ensure the families you serve have the tools they need for literacy and learning success throughout the year. Contact us today for a quote, or order on our shop site here, and let us know any deadlines you are working with so that we can inform our warehouse. With RAR experiencing one of the busiest seasons of the year, we want to ensure you have what you need before any quickly-approaching deadlines.

Research Roundup

Moving Upstream: Confronting Racism to Open Up Children’s Potential

This working brief from the Center on the Developing Child makes the case that race doesn’t make us different, but racism does. It looks at the persistent inequalities and barriers that affect the well-being of children and directly impacts their futures, not only in terms of opportunity but also their health. The authors assert that new policy approaches with a more intentional, “upstream” focus on a broader range of socioeconomic conditions will be required to confront and dismantle the structural inequities that create a constant source of stress and undermine the well-being of overburdened families living in under-resourced communities. One of those approaches noted was the multisector collaboration, child health equity effort pursued through the All Children Thrive Learning Network (ACT) including housing, social work, community services, and health care, that was able to decrease child hospitalizations by 20% in just three years in a Cincinnati, Ohio, neighborhood.

If anything, the pandemic has shown us that we need to act in community to advocate for these changes, work collaboratively, and fight inequalities in all forms. We look forward to working in partnership with you, our Affiliate Network, and other industry leaders, to raise our voice for the benefit of all the families and children that we serve.

See the entire brief from Center for the Developing Child here.

From the RAR Bookshelf

For LGBTQIA+/Pride Month and Father’s Day, we’ve selected the title Daddy, Papa and Me by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Carol Thompson and published by Tricycle Press. In the story, we’re invited in to a day in the life of same-sex parents and their baby boy. This simple board reminds readers that families come in different forms and whatever form a family takes, what we all want is a loving environment. Simple as that. As one reviewer put it, “A really lovely book that looks at a different version of family in an accepting and inclusive way,” and another suggested that it’s “an age-appropriate way to introduce young children to diverse family structures.” We love Daddy, Papa and Me because it exemplifies what we should remember this LGBTQIA+ month, that love is love. And for Father’s Day, what’s better than a dad who loves you? Two dads who love you!

We are proud to offer Daddy, Papa and Me in our LGBTQ+ / Diverse Families Special Collection.

Welcome New Affiliates!

RAR welcomes Orangeburg First Steps in Orangeburg, SC. One of their goals is to provide access and awareness of early childhood development to the families of all children through community partnerships, program funding and fostering parental involvement.

Our newest Affiliate, Nebraska Children’s Home Society, is a 501 ©(3) nonprofit organization located in Omaha, NE, focused on educating children and families, facilitating adoption, supporting foster parents and children, and working with families through every need and stage. They will serve 225 students through their home visitation program.

RAR Webinars

New America Forum June 24 Register here

Region 9 Skill Building Workshop, Part II June 24 Register here

Coordinator Training Now Virtual Registration Now Open for August October

Town Halls Now Monthly Register here for June 25

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 Register here |   3 PM ET
National Family Support Network Webinar Wednesdays Register here | 2:30 PM ET