"Let's Talk: Harvest" with Read Aloud

by Administrator 6. October 2015 16:09

Read Aloud 15 Minutes has launched their October “Let’s Talk: Harvest” campaign, reminding parents that the more one sows, the greater the harvest! Babies begin learning at birth, and the campaign emphasizes the fact that great things come from small beginnings.

Read Aloud 15 Minutes is a national non-profit organization that is working to make reading aloud every day for at least 15 minutes the new standard in child care. When every child is read aloud to for 15 minutes every day from birth, more children will be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten, more children will have the literacy skills needed to succeed in school, and more children will be prepared for a productive and meaningful life after school. Just 15 minutes a day of reading aloud from birth is more than 450 hours of reading time by kindergarten.

Visit www.readaloud.org for a variety of resources and tips for reading aloud, including a "Let's Talk: Harvest" toolkit. If you’re interested in reading to children in Durham as part of our Readers as Leaders program, please contact Davida Major, Operations & Volunteer Coordinator at the Partnership.

Vending machines offer free books instead of snacks

by Administrator 9. September 2015 10:35

This summer, thanks to JetBlue’s Soar with Reading program, children in Washington, D.C. discovered big blue vending machines full of brand new books in their community. 

The machines were stocked with free books, and children were allowed to take as many as they want, returning as often as they want – no strings attached. As the book selections rotated throughout the summer, parents could even opt in to getting text message alerts and updates about available books. 

The three vending machines were installed in Anacostia, one of the District neighborhoods with the lowest literacy rates. The company decided to fund the book vending machines after commissioning a survey on areas with limited access to books, known as “book deserts.”  In 2001, a study found that in underserved communities, there was only one age-appropriate book available for every 300 children.  JetBlue’s more recent survey determined that there was only one age-appropriate book for every 830 children in the area just outside our nation’s capital.

JetBlue’s pilot program provided approximately 100,000 books to children up to 14-years-old this summer. Detroit has just won the Soar with Reading Book Battle 2015 and will be the next city to receive 100,000 children’s books from the company. 

As we strive to improve early literacy here in Durham, we must continue to be innovative in how we find ways to get books into the hands of children who don’t have access to them. Book vending machines may not be a universal solution to this widespread problem, but it’s certainly a cool idea to get more children loving books as much as they love vending machine snacks! 


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Countdown to Kindergarten this Friday!

by Administrator 3. August 2015 11:33

Durham Public Schools’ annual Countdown to Kindergarten at the Museum of Life and Science (433 W Murray Ave.) is this Friday, August 7th from 6-8pm. This free event for all rising kindergarteners and their families provides important information and resources and helps to promote a smooth start to the school year!

Families will have a chance to tour the exhibits, ride a school bus and learn about school bus safety, learn about school lunch programs, meet UNC-TV characters, complete lunch, bus and other applications, check out the DPS before- and after-school programs, get school calendars, and much more!

The Partnership will be at the event representing the Transition to Kindergarten Initiative, providing school readiness tips and parent resources and providing free books to all children who attend. 


We are also gathering school supplies for 2 bookbags that will be donated to 2 young students at the event! If you would like to help provide supplies, please click here to sign up to purchase an item.

To download a bilingual flyer for Countdown to Kindergarten, please click here

Bring a Book Night with the Durham Bulls

by Administrator 16. July 2015 14:28

Mark your calendars! Wednesday, August 5th is Bring a Book Night with the Durham Bulls. Bring a new or gently used children’s book to donate to Book Harvest and get free admission to the game that night! This special evening is sponsored by Amundi Smith Breeden.

Don’t miss this fun opportunity to promote early literacy while cheering on the hometown favorites!  

Seize the Summer with Read Aloud

by Administrator 6. July 2015 15:52

Read Aloud 15 Minutes launched their “Seize the Summer” campaign today, reminding parents that children don’t stop growing during the summer, so they shouldn’t stop learning either! The campaign encourages parents to include books on their list of summer essentials and to use reading as a source of exploration and adventures this summer.

Read Aloud 15 Minutes is a national non-profit organization that is working to make reading aloud every day for at least 15 minutes the new standard in child care. When every child is read aloud to for 15 minutes every day from birth, more children will be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten, more children will have the literacy skills needed to succeed in school, and more children will be prepared for a productive and meaningful life after school.

The summer campaign specifically seeks to combat what’s commonly known as the summer slide. “The National Summer Learning Association estimates that two months of learning may be lost over the summer months, and low-income children are especially vulnerable,” says Read Aloud 15 Minutes Executive Director, Bob Robbins. “We believe that reading aloud every day can not only stop learning loss, but actually build knowledge and skills.”

Visit www.readaloud.org for a variety of resources and tips for reading aloud. If you’re interested in reading to children in Durham as part of our Readers as Leaders program, please contact Davida Major, Operations & Volunteer Coordinator at the Partnership.

Books on Break combats summer learning loss

by Administrator 9. June 2015 16:13

To succeed in school and life, children need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. The summer months are almost here for students in Durham Public Schools, and we know that access to books in the summer is vital to every child’s academic success. 

How do students hold on to what they have learned as they enjoy the summer break, especially relatively new readers, like those who are just finishing kindergarten? When children aren’t in school, they forget crucial skills they learned during the year – at least a month of reading achievement, on average. This phenomenon, known as summer learning loss, is particularly detrimental for children from low-income families. With limited access to books and other academic opportunities in the summer, summer learning loss accounts for 80% of the income-based achievement gap.

Our friends at Book Harvest have developed a way to combat summer learning loss. Thanks to donations and volunteers, they are providing a new string backpack and 10 self-selected books to elementary school students on free or reduced lunch at the start of summer. This year, Books on Break is providing backpacks and books to 2,525 low-income elementary school students in Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro!

Books on Break is taking place at a number of elementary schools in Durham, including Y.E. Smith, Forest View, Lakewood and Glenn – all schools that have Transition to Kindergarten Transition Teams.

We are grateful to Book Harvest for their partnership and their efforts to support early literacy for children in Durham! For more information, please click here.

Celebrate early learning at the General Assembly

by Administrator 8. May 2015 08:40

Join MomsRising, the NC Early Childhood Foundation, the First 2000 Days, the NC Association for the Education of Young Children and the NC Child Care Coalition for a celebration of early learning and early literacy at the General Assembly!

On the morning of Thursday, May 14, kids, parents, early learning programs and supporters will gather on Halifax Mall behind the General Assembly in Raleigh to celebrate early learning and highlight the essential role these investments play in developing early literacy and ensuring every child in NC starts school ready to learn.  

There will be giant-sized ABC blocks for the kids to play with, story time with NC lawmakers, a story walk where kids and parents can share a giant-sized story book, reading-related crafts, snacks, and more!

Date: Thursday, May 14 

Time: 10am – 12:30pm, Story time with lawmakers starts at 10:15.

Place: Halifax Mall, the grassy area directly behind the General Assembly at 16 West Jones St in Raleigh. The General Assembly is across the street from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences downtown.

Questions:  Beth@MomsRising.org

Use the sign-up link or RSVP to Beth@MomsRising.org for information about parking, directions, and more.

Click here for an event flyer. Hope to see you there!

Celebrate Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros at Durham County Library this Saturday

by Administrator 28. April 2015 11:50

Visit Durham County Library for the annual Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros (Day of the Children/Day of the Books) Celebration from
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, May 2nd. A range of free, family-friendly events are planned at six library locations.

Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros is a celebration based on childhood and literacy that began in 1997. Borrowing from the traditional Mexican holiday “El día de los niños,” the U.S. version expanded to include literacy when author Pat Mora took up the cause. Congress officially designated April 30th as “Day of the Child” in 1998.

Activities at Durham county Library locations will include crafts, storytimes, tours, visits with community organizations and more!

Click here for the complete schedule of events.

Click here to download a flyer

NC Lawmakers learn that getting children ready to read starts in the first 2,000 days

by Administrator 5. March 2015 15:27

 “To increase economic growth and ensure the prosperity of all North Carolinians, we must cultivate a future workforce that is highly literate, knowledgeable, and skilled.  This will only happen when we give each child a fair chance to fulfill his or her potential from the start," said James Maynard, Co-Founder and Chairman of Golden Corral Corporation, at a legislative breakfast on Grade-Level Reading held this week.

The event was hosted by the N.C. Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF) and BEST NC, a group of business leaders focused on improving state education. It was attended by more than 45 members of the NC General Assembly; representatives from the Governor’s Office, Department of Public Instruction and Superintendent’s staff; and leaders from early learning and education organizations.

The message of the morning was simple: getting children to read at grade level by third grade is critically important, but making sure children reach that stage starts at birth.

 “Attention is focused on the achievement gap among school-aged students, but the gap is evident at nine months old,” said Tracy Zimmerman, executive director of NCECF.

The most rapid period of development in human life occurs during a child’s first 2,000 days. What happens during this critical window sets the foundation for all of the years that follow.

Early literacy is a crucial part of a child’s development. It enhances vocabulary, builds important communication skills, and gives them the tools they need to be successful in school and in life. Children who aren’t reading well by the end of third grade, are four times more likely to drop out of high school. In North Carolina, 31% of all fourth graders could not read at a basic level according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress 2013.

Along with our partners in early childhood across the state, like NCECF, we are working to improve outcomes for children by continuing to educate our legislators about the importance of early learning . Please click here to sign up for our advocacy e-alerts, get more involved in our legislative efforts, and find out how you can be a champion for young children in Durham!

Support children in Durham on MLK Day

by Administrator 16. January 2015 12:20

This Monday, January 19th, celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's vision of a world in which every child has the chance to realize his or her full potential. Here are a couple of great local events where you can support young children in Durham!

NC MomsRising.org's annual MLK Birthday Party is on Monday, January 19th. This free family-friendly event will take place from 10:30am - 12:30pm at the Center Court at Northgate Mall (1058 West Club Boulevard) and will feature English/Spanish story times, songs, crafts, activities, performances, and birthday cake as people celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy in a way that children can understand. In continuing Dr. King’s commitment to service, participants are asked to donate nonperishable food (especially peanut butter, canned meat, and pasta), new packaged toiletries (soap, toothbrushes, diapers, etc.), or new underwear/ socks for children and adults for local families in need served by Urban Ministries of Durham.

At noon, attendees will sing Happy Birthday to Dr. King, learn freedom songs, share cake, and enjoy music and dance performances by special guests.

Click here for more details.

Book Harvest, a nonprofit which provides books to low-income children, will host the Dream Big Book Drive at the Carolina Theatre of Durham (309 West Morgan Street) on the afternoon of MLK Day, January 19th. From 1:00 to 4:00 that day, community members are invited to bring their book donations to the Carolina Theatre and to celebrate Dr. King’s 86th birthday by joining in service with Book Harvest’s volunteers and more than three dozen members of the North Carolina Literacy Corps.

Master of Ceremonies Tisha Powell of WTVD/ABC-11 will kick off the festivities at 1:00 pm. The event will also feature comments from Durham Mayor Bill Bell and other special guests, live music, food trucks, the Scrap Exchange, a photo booth, and a chance to tour the “Confronting Change” exhibit on the third floor of the Carolina Theatre. Last year's Dream Big Book Drive resulted in 33,677 donated books, and they hope to collect even more this year to spread the gift of literacy to children in Durham.

Click here for more details.

Make this day off a day on by giving back and supporting these great organizations in our community!

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