Jul 8, 2021

Super Summer in progress - thank you!

From our community to yours, hello!

Inspired, hopeful, and energized are all words that come to mind when reflecting on the generosity of supporters like you, who share our commitment to helping families develop, practice, and maintain the home-based literacy routines essential for academic success.

As you may know, RAR is now in the second year of advancing a bold strategy for growth to serve 200,000 children annually by the end of 2022. In addition to adding innovative new features to our current program offerings, we will continue to prioritize engaging under-resourced communities and low-income families while also strengthening the effectiveness of our programs through an increased focus on racial equity.

This summer has been a summer like no other. With data from our partners like EdTrust and New America (below), stories, and input from the field, we keep learning more about the issues facing the communities we serve and how best to serve those benefiting from our Affiliates. Although these data points share a small story of how the pandemic has affected the families we serve we know that there is much more we will learn in the months and years ahead.

-       More than 60% of parents worry that their child will fall behind when they start kindergarten.

-       For families below poverty level, 69% reported barriers existed to their child accessing online supports, such as their computer runs too slow, while 61% said their internet was too slow

-       66% of Hispanic parents survived, and 56% of Black parents survived commented tech-related disruptions in learning – further widening the racial gap in the United States

Throughout our learnings, we have proudly discovered how to continue to provide resources families need, including social-emotional supports, materials in Spanish and English, and resources to support students and their families who will be entering school for the first time this fall. Your recent donation not only supported our mission through our classic model but also Super Summer Learning Adventures. Formed from research from the field, like those above - this summer, we aim to serve 40,000 students by developing and reinforcing early learning skills through investigation, critical thinking, imagination, and meaningful family experiences with this offering. Families have been equipped with bilingual reading materials, a bilingual family guide with six weeks of daily learning activities, a reading journal, access to a digital book library, and other hands-on learning materials. This program supports families in preparing their children for the school year ahead and offers optional program enhancements, including a family guide to supporting social-emotional growth in children and other items like cozy stuffed animals and a sturdy backpack to start the new school year.

As we navigate the shifts in our education system, we look forward to a continued collective effort that empowers families and creates successful learning environments for all children. Your support of our mission has helped us tremendously– and from all of us, thank you!

Raising A Reader

Jul 7, 2021

Super Summer in progress - thank you!

From our community to yours, hello!

Inspired, hopeful, and energized are all words that come to mind when reflecting on the generosity of supporters like you, who share our commitment to helping families develop, practice, and maintain the home-based literacy routines essential for academic success.

As you may know, RAR is now in the second year of advancing a bold strategy for growth to serve 200,000 children annually by the end of 2022. In addition to adding innovative new features to our current program offerings, we will continue to prioritize engaging under-resourced communities and low-income families while also strengthening the effectiveness of our programs through an increased focus on racial equity.

This summer has been a summer like no other. With data from our partners like EdTrust and New America (below), stories, and input from the field, we keep learning more about the issues facing the communities we serve and how best to serve those benefiting from our Affiliates. Although these data points share a small story of how the pandemic has affected the families we serve we know that there is much more we will learn in the months and years ahead.

-       More than 60% of parents worry that their child will fall behind when they start kindergarten.

-       For families below poverty level, 69% reported barriers existed to their child accessing online supports, such as their computer runs too slow, while 61% said their internet was too slow

-       66% of Hispanic parents survived, and 56% of Black parents survived commented tech-related disruptions in learning – further widening the racial gap in the United States

Throughout our learnings, we have proudly discovered how to continue to provide resources families need, including social-emotional supports, materials in Spanish and English, and resources to support students and their families who will be entering school for the first time this fall. Your recent donation not only supported our mission through our classic model but also Super Summer Learning Adventures. Formed from research from the field, like those above - this summer, we aim to serve 40,000 students by developing and reinforcing early learning skills through investigation, critical thinking, imagination, and meaningful family experiences with this offering. Families have been equipped with bilingual reading materials, a bilingual family guide with six weeks of daily learning activities, a reading journal, access to a digital book library, and other hands-on learning materials. This program supports families in preparing their children for the school year ahead and offers optional program enhancements, including a family guide to supporting social-emotional growth in children and other items like cozy stuffed animals and a sturdy backpack to start the new school year.

As we navigate the shifts in our education system, we look forward to a continued collective effort that empowers families and creates successful learning environments for all children. Your support of our mission has helped us tremendously– and from all of us, thank you!

Raising A Reader

Mar 9, 2021

You've Continued to Support Students - Thank You!

Dear Friend,

Raising A Reader (RAR) pursues our mission by building the capacity of local Affiliates to engage families in developing at-home literacy routines. We prioritize children least likely to achieve educational success by focusing on kindergarten readiness and 3rd-grade reading levels. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the students we serve have experienced close to a year of either hybrid or distance learning and are under unprecedented stress as they face uncertainty, economic hardship, and a lack of social support systems. Caregivers now have to support learning without having tools, resources, and knowledge about providing high-quality early learning experiences. COVID-19 has had disproportionate impacts on low-income communities and communities of color, whose children were already likely to face learning gaps of one or more years compared to their peers.

The year 2020 was an inflection point for RAR in terms of program innovation. RAR implemented several innovative pilots and introduced a new offering into the marketplace - the Family Shared Reading Program (FSRP). FSRP is a model that enables families to build their home libraries and receive tools and resources to effectively promote at-home learning via shared reading routines and provides professional development for educators on shared reading strategies and family strengthening. FSRP builds families' home libraries with bilingual children’s books and a family guide that equips caregivers with strategies to maximize shared reading time. The program supports educators with additional online training and resources to provide high-quality virtual or in-person connections with families. RAR is also piloting several digital tools to enhance family communication and engagement with RAR programming, including our Family Learning Circle app which incorporates our FSRP curriculum into a group-texting app that allows not only for communication between educator and parents but also parent-to-parent, which is designed to reduce family isolation and promote peer-to-peer learning.

Besides this offering, Raising A Reader has been working hard on a variety of other projects, including supporting our Affiliates with rotating their Red Book Bags in addition to strengthening our partnerships with coalitions, funders, school districts, Head Start sites, and other service providers across the country. In this past year, RAR doubled down on its commitment to turn the tide of the systemic inequality that exists in the current education system through the development of a race equity agenda. This serves as a guidepost for ways RAR holds itself accountable for Black and LatinX families, neighborhoods, and schools, in particular. RAR is in the process of completing a book audit to ensure the book collection reflects the life experiences of all families served. As we navigate the shifts in our education system, we look forward to a continued collective effort that empowers families and creates successful learning environments for all children. Your support of our mission has helped us tremendously– and from all of us, thank you!

Raising A Reader

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