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See What’s New for ClassroomsCare Spring 2011!

31 Jan

You may have noticed some changes to this spring’s ClassroomsCare program. Teachers told us they were having a difficult time getting full participation in the reading challenge during the busy spring semester, so we decided to make it easier for you. This March, just place a classroom order, and Scholastic Book Clubs will donate a book to a wonderful literacy and mentoring organization called Everybody Wins! USA.

Scholastic Book Clubs encourages its employees to get involved with local schools in the New York area; so when I began working here two years ago, I knew I’d volunteer my time and services, but where? When a colleague asked me if I wanted to volunteer for the Everybody Wins! Power Lunch Program, I immediately looked into the literacy and mentoring program and was impressed. Two independent evaluations by the US Department of Education, and Loyola University of Chicago, documented the positive impact the program has had on low-income elementary school students nationwide. Their reading comprehension, general motivation and overall academic performance, classroom behavior, self confidence and social skills all improved as a result of this one-on-one mentoring program.

What began for me as a once-a-week commitment to making a difference in a child’s life has grown into a flourishing partnership for both of us. Nearly two years later, I’m still meeting my buddy, Linda, for our lunchtime reading sessions at her lower Manhattan Public School. We have a great time choosing books to read together, working on writing and other activities, and chatting.

Interested in learning more about Everybody Wins!, please visit everybodywins.org

Reach Out and Read: Making a Difference Nationwide

14 Dec

You may remember reading about the ways in which Scholastic Book Clubs partners with Reach Out and Read (a nonprofit that works with doctors and nurses to promote early literacy) (Reach Out and Read: Through a Doctor’s Eyes) to encourage school readiness. Now we’d like to share with you a few of the many inspiring success stories from this wonderful program.  And, as always, remember to read every day!

California

“I cannot imagine not having the Reach Out and Read program.  The developmental ob servations I make and use as an opportunity to support the mastery of the child and parent is invaluable.  It is great that children no longer ask for a lollipop, they want a book!”
-Family Physician, Los Angeles, CA


Colorado
“One day a little girl and I read together for about 45 minutes in the
waiting room.  When it was time to leave, her grandmother came over and
told me that the girl had recently been through lots of trauma in her
life, and that this was the first time in days she had seen her smile.”
-Volunteer Reader, Denver, CO

Kansas

“Many of our patients have financial difficulties and are unable to
purchase books on their own.  Providing books for children that allow families to read together in the clinic and at home has strengthened both the physician-child and the parent-child bonds.”
-Family Physician, Kansas City, KS

Massachusetts

“Thank you very much for taking care of us.  We love the children’s books
you gave us and the stickers at the end of our visits.”
-3-year-old, 6-year-old, and 9-year-old siblings, Somerville, MA

Pennsylvania

“The Reach Out and Read program gets children ready to read and parents
like me wanting to read. From birth, my son loved to hear me read books
to him. Now he is an active 2-year-old who can never get enough of
reading. With a new book at every well visit, he always has a book to
read.”
– A Reach Out and Read Parent, Philadelphia, PA

Vermont

“The short-term and long-term benefits of Reach Out and Read are
immeasurable: families bonding with children through reading, children
developing an early love of books, more success in school, and
ultimately more success in life.”
-Maternal Child Health Services Director, Colchester, VT

Hawaii

“It means a lot knowing that our doctor cares about the development of my
daughter’s learning skills.  And it’s always nice to get a book that we
can read together.”
-Mother, Honolulu, HI

 

 

Arizona

“One of my 18-month-old patients got a toy doctor’s kit for Christmas.  A
few days later she was examining her doll – she listened with the
stethoscope, gave the doll a shot, and then went to her bookshelf and
took out the book she got at her checkup and gave it to the doll.”
-Pediatrician, Phoenix, AZ

Georgia

“Thanks to the generosity and support of Reach Out and Read we have
wonderful new books to give our young patients at their routine health
checks while at the same time educating their families on the importance of making reading a fun everyday event. We are sincerely grateful for the support and we hope to continue together on this quest to make our children’s future the brightest possible.”
– Dr. Albert, Dr. Blum, Eileen Barlow, Lanica Evans, Christie Brooks,
Jamie Hicks, and Henriette Freeman Kids 1st Pediatrics
Watkinsville, GA

Indiana

“I’ve seen the positive effect this program has on parents and children.
For many of the families we serve, books are a luxury.  Reach Out and
Read makes it possible for children to start their own library by the
time they reach kindergarten.”
-Program Coordinator, Fort Wayne, IN

Massachusetts

“One of our patients is a mother of three and a domestic violence victim.
She and her children move often between shelters to stay safe, and every
time they move, she allows her children to only keep one toy.  Every
time, the children choose to keep one of their Reach Out and Read books
instead.”
-Volunteer, Boston, MA

Michigan

“Today I read to two 4-month-old babies.  One of their mothers couldn’t
believe her baby would be so excited about books.  She had never read to
him before, but said that she would start tonight!”
-Volunteer Reader, Kalamazoo, MI

Minnesota

“For the high-risk population we serve at our clinic, the opportunity to
be read to and to develop a love of books may make the difference
between future success and failure.”
-Pediatrician, Minneapolis, MN

Missouri

“After handing a book to an 18-month-old, his mother told me that she
couldn’t read and felt ashamed.  I reassured her that she could tell the
story from the pictures and helped her enroll in a learn-to-read
program.”
– Pediatrician, Kansas City, MO

New York

“Reach Out and Read is a gift to us, the providers.  It enables us to
further our ultimate goal, the improvement of the health and well-being
of children and their families, by way of a novel, interactive, and fun
approach.”
-Pediatrician, Brooklyn, NY

Ohio

“The parents are always so surprised by the importance our physicians
and especially our staff puts on reading books to young children. I
never tire of the look on parents’ faces when they see particularly the
board books for infants.”
– Sara Guerrero-Duby, M.D. F.A.A.P.
Children’s Medical Group
Akron, OH

Virginia

“The children come to expect a book every time they see the doctor.  I
walked into an exam room the other day and a Spanish-speaking child
greeted me by saying “libro” (book) before I could even say hello.
-Pediatrician, Alexandria, VA

Find out more about Reach Out and Read at http://reachoutandread.org/

Find out more about ClassroomsCare http://classroomscare.scholastic.com/

Putting Kids on a Pathway to Success

15 Nov


New data released by the Census Bureau in October revealed that 43 million Americans are now living in poverty, the largest figure since the Bureau began collecting this information.

Incredibly, the one group of Americans bearing the brunt of this crisis is children. According to the new statistics, 15 million American children are living in poverty, many of whom are falling behind because they aren’t getting the same opportunities to succeed as other children. You may be surprised to learn that half of all low-income fourth graders are not reading at grade level. Books are essential for learning and development, but 60 percent of children in poverty have no age-appropriate books in their homes.

Save the Children’s U.S. Programs work to break the cycle of poverty by tapping into the power of public-private partnerships and giving children access to the resources they need to change their circumstances, such as a quality education, supportive instructors, and essential books for learning.

Through the support of the Scholastic Book Clubs’ Classrooms Care campaign and our longtime partnerships with local schools and communities, Save the Children has been able to provide kids living in some of the most impoverished areas of the United States with more than 2.5 million books during the past 20 years.

Our partnership works. Kids read an average of 64 books throughout the school year in our literacy programs and the percentage of children reading at or above grade level nearly doubled from the start of the school year to the end.

Education is the vehicle out of poverty. By providing kids with the tools to learn now we’re setting them on the pathway to lifelong success. America’s future depends on the investment we make in education today.

Mark Shriver
Senior Vice President for U.S. Programs
Save the Children
Photo Credit: Save the Children/Susan Warner

Reading to Give: A Teacher’s ClassroomsCare Experience

4 Nov

ClassroomsCare has been a helpful addition to my classroom this fall. Now that the school year is in full swing, getting readers excited for books is vital. As my readers start diving into great books and striving toward personal goals, it is amazing how fast they are devouring books. By using ClassroomsCare, we can keep track of our reading and stop for that moment of awe while we help Scholastic help others.

After logging on to the ClassroomsCare Web site, I have found that there are many helpful tools to assist my students on their quest to read books. Even though I use a different recording form for books read, I have decided to implement the ClassroomsCare reading log to allow my students to feel a stronger connection to their role in reaching our classroom goal. The book recommendation printable is another resource I have found helpful in my classroom. My readers are always looking for a good book, and this is a quick and easy way for classmates to share their favorite titles.

While searching the ClassroomsCare Web site, I was also excited to see the new changes Scholastic made this year. Having around 100 readers, in the past I felt participating did not provide my students with enough of a challenge. The new format this year, though, eliminated that problem. By utilizing the online version of ClassroomsCare, I was able to register my class and set a goal of 10 books per student. The online book tracking was also a great addition. Now my students and I log on to the site each week to enter our completed books and watch the total grow.

ClassroomsCare has also brought awareness of others and our responsibility to provide a helping hand to those in need. My students were able to watch the videos Scholastic has provided on the ClassroomsCare Web site to see how our reading will benefit others through the three charity partners. As they look at our overflowing bookshelves, it is important to remember that not all children are as fortunate as they are. Even though we may not know who will receive the books, it is a great feeling knowing that someone else will be able to enjoy the books that we have come to love.

Sweet Dreams for Our Children This Winter Thanks to Scholastic and ClassroomsCare

28 Sep

While most people take clean, warm pajamas for granted, thousands of children right here in the U.S. go to bed each night without them. Instead, they just keep on the same clothes they’ve already worn for too many days and nights—clothes that are soiled, wet, and hardly their size. While volunteering at different shelters, I noticed the children who stayed there went to sleep in their regular clothes. I later learned it was because the children didn’t have any pajamas, and that some of the children didn’t even know what pajamas were. I felt strongly that these children deserved a loving bedtime, complete with pajamas and a storybook, just like I’d had as a child. In 2001, I founded Pajama Program, a nonprofit organization that provides pajamas and books to underprivileged and foster kids to give them the bedtime all children should have.

Magical Books
Scholastic Book Clubs and ClassroomsCare heard my stories and immediately reached out to help. We agreed: Bedtime is an extraordinary time, a time for children to feel safe and to dream of wonderful things that can happen tomorrow, and to dream about what they can be when they grow up. The books complete a nighttime ritual that so many of us took for granted…when Mom or Dad said, “OK, get your pajamas on and I’ll be right in to read you a story.” The children of Pajama Program seldom hear these comforting words. Thousands of them live in orphanages, group homes, and shelters, and are shuffled often between temporary living facilities. They are removed from school at the same time they are removed from a home. Often the books we give them are the only books they will have for months at a time.

Danger Season Brings the Chilling Nights
October 1 marks the beginning of “Danger Season,” the most difficult time for the children we serve. Temperatures drop at night and the children are afraid and lonely. Many of them have been abused or abandoned, and have never enjoyed the simple comfort of a mother or father tucking them into bed in warm pajamas and reading them a magical storybook.

Thank you, Scholastic—you are giving these children their dreams again, dreams of what magic tomorrow may bring and dreams of becoming anything they want to be when they grow up.

Genevieve Piturro
Founder/Executive Director
Pajama Program

Reach Out and Read: Through a Doctor’s Eyes

13 Sep

A mother brought two children into our clinic. The oldest was her 4-year-old son, here for his checkup. His baby sister, only a few months old, was sleeping in her stroller. At every 4-year-old checkup, part of the doctor’s job is to make sure that child is ready to think about starting school. So I asked the little boy some questions, checking to see whether he had the social skills to talk with an adult he didn’t know very well, and whether he could put together sentences.

In fact, this particular 4-year-old was outgoing and friendly, and a terrific conversationalist. He had his Reach Out and Read book, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? He showed me that he could find the first letter of his own name on the page in several places, and then added in the first letter of his sister’s name, for good measure. And then, of course, he wanted to talk about dinosaurs. He was proud of the book.

But something occurred to him. He pointed to his baby sister and said that she wouldn’t be able to understand the book, but she could get a baby book. Yes, I said, when she comes for her next checkup, she’ll get a baby book; a board book.

Thanks to Reach Out and Read, our pediatric clinic is full of books. Reach Out and Read is a program for pediatricians like me—and our colleagues, the family physicians and nurse practitioners who take care of children at clinics and health centers and private practices all over the United States. Through Reach Out and Read, we can help parents incorporate books and reading aloud into their children’s lives, starting when those children are babies. And when students and teachers contribute books through ClassroomsCare, those books go into our clinics and back out in the hands of young children everywhere. Their support is a big part of the reason that Reach Out and Read is able to serve 4 million children through our 4,500 Programs nationwide.

Reach Out and Read gives a book at every checkup from the 6-month visit to the 5-year checkup. That’s a total of 10 books by the time a child starts kindergarten. The books that we give in the first two years are board books, which feature pictures of baby faces, animals, and familiar objects. As children get into the toddler years, the stories become more complicated, featuring the rhymes and rhythms that children love to hear again and again! And by the preschool visits, the 3- to 5-year-olds can choose storybooks and picture books rich with legends, jokes, rhymes, and information about the world.

Growing up with books in the early years helps a child understand how stories work and how to recognize letters. Children who grow up hearing books read aloud by their parents come to associate books with the feeling of safety that comes when a young child is held on a parent’s lap, and with the familiar and much-loved voice of the parent. Books should be part of bedtime routines for babies and toddlers, and part of children’s everyday lives.

Many of our patients are growing up in families where there would otherwise be no books, because many of our clinics serve children growing up in poverty. The books that we offer at the checkup can mean the difference between growing up with books and growing up without books. Through ClassroomsCare, children are helping Reach Out and Read help other children arrive at school familiar with books and all the joys they can offer. And those children, as every teacher knows, are much more likely to be ready to learn to read. And they know that books are a grand and glorious addition to their lives and their world.

So I have to admit, we jumped the gun a little. We decided to give our 4-year-old patient the opportunity to choose a baby book, in addition to his dinosaur book. We told him that he could be the one to present his baby sister with her very first book, and I went over with him (and therefore with his mother) some advice about reading with a little baby: She’ll probably chew the book, and that’s okay. Point to the pictures and tell her what everything is. Don’t get upset if she throws the book on the floor. She’s probably really interested in everything you do, I told the proud big brother, so if you look at the book with her, she’ll learn to like books, just like you!

And I told the mother what a great job she was doing, to have a son so ready for reading, a 4-year-old so clearly familiar with books. He’s going to love school, I said, wanting both the child and the mother to hear me. He’s going to love learning to read.

Perri Klass, M.D. is a pediatrician, the National Medical Director of Reach Out and Read, and a professor of journalism and pediatrics at New York University.

What’s New: ClassroomsCare Fall 2010

13 Aug

Want to get involved in an easy way to help donate up to one million (yes, one million!) books to kids in need? Then this year’s ClassroomsCare program is perfect for you and your classroom.

ClassroomsCare is essentially a volunteer and motivational reading program all rolled up into one. That’s right, this year every student will have a personal reading goal of ten books. It’s our hope that this goal will encourage students to read in class and at home, because each child’s ten books will help classrooms across America trigger a one-million-book donation to amazing organizations like Reach Out and Read, Save the Children, and the Pajama Program. Plus, we’re here to help you, too. On the Web site, you’ll find FREE printables and resources to help motivate your students to read to give.

To get your classroom started, make sure to look out for the ClassroomsCare poster and bookmarks that will be included with your first order in September/October. What’s more, when you register online, we’ll send you 250 Bonus Points to help buy books for your students. We’ve also expanded the Web site to include a “Where the Books Go: See How Your Reading Makes a Difference!” page. This page is open to teachers, parents, and students. It will highlight how we work with our charity partners to get books to children who need them most so that students can really see how they are helping kids in need.

Join ClassroomsCare starting August 17, 2010.