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Be the first Storyteller. Ready, Set, Read!

Sarah Con • Mallory Jackson • Erin O’Brien • Jessica Pauletto • Ariana Rosales • Sheryl Rosenberg


table of contents page 2 3 5

Introduction Fact Sheet Executive Summary

7 8 10 11 12 16 18 21 22 24 26 28

CAMPAIGN PLAN

31 32 34 36 38 40 41 42 46 48 54 58 60 62 63

COMMUNICATION TOOLS

65 66 67 68 82

APPENDIX

Background Situation Analysis and Core Problem Goals and Objectives Key Publics Message Strategies Strategies and Tactics Recommended Logos Communication Confirmation Table Calendar Budget Evaluation Criteria and Tools

Press Release Media Pitch Letter Media Alert Feature Release Website Redesign Social Media Tools Brochure (English and Spanish) Direct Mail Piece Newsletter Poster/Fliers Executive Bio Press Kit Direct Mail Piece - Postcard Bookmark

Mission Statement Preliminary Publics Original Research Bibliography


introduction Ten rows of white fold-out chairs waited patiently on the lawn of University of Southern California’s (USC) Child Care Center. Parents with children shuffled around tables where hundreds of colorful books were displayed. From the covers waved Dora the Explorer, The Bear in the Big Blue House, and the friendly turtle, Franklin. Preschool-aged children chased each other around trees, over planter boxes, and through the rows of seats as time clicked towards 11 a.m. Parents took their seats and the gentle hum of conversation and high-pitched voices lowered to welcome the beginning of a Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) workshop. When our public relations campaign team was introduced to our client, RSR, we were excited to improve and promote the goal of the organization—to teach parents the importance of reading to their children, and to provide techniques on how to tell a story. We soon found out that RSR focuses on the first stages of language development. It is not about the content of the book as much as it is the conversation and bond created between the parent and child while reading. “It’s about holding the child in your lap, empowering, and letting them turn the pages,” explained Merrily Weiss, founder and executive director of RSR. The organization teaches parents to ask questions about different parts of the book. From the colors on the page to a description of the characters, reading with questions sparks imagination and curiosity. Words, vocabulary, sentences, stories—they are precursors to higher education. If language is our vehicle of communication then we must expand this knowledge beginning from birth. After meeting with Weiss and attending an RSR workshop, our team realized that this tiny nonprofit had a tremendous philosophy, yet it was lost among its competitors. It could benefit from increased attention, book donations, and differentiation from the plethora of competing literacy organizations in Los Angeles County. Our team was inspired to bring RSR to the surface. After witnessing the excitement, interest, and energy of the parents at the workshop, we were determined to let more parents, partner organizations , and pre-kindergarten programs know about RSR. Through our research we realized that RSR is the first step to creating literacy. RSR stresses the importance of vocabulary building. RSR instills the significant role of parents in their child’s learning. RSR empowers parents to Be the first Storyteller.

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Be the first Storyteller.


fact sheet Ready, Set, Read! 1000 N. Alameda Street #240, Los Angeles, CA 90012 Contact: Merrily Weiss (818) 986-9867 merrilyweiss@readysetread.org www.readysetread.org Mission

Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) strives to help parents in underserved communities build an early foundation for their child’s literacy development.

Organization

RSR’s direction and initiatives, including workshop structure and implementation, are overseen by an advisory board of 10. Executive Director Merrily Weiss runs the organization with assistance from Elaine Sowell, lead parent educator.

Programs

Currently partnering with the Los Angeles Unified School District, RSR provides lending libraries and instructional workshops to help parents read to their children. At the workshop, parents are taught the dialogic method, which is based on asking open-ended questions and expanding upon the child’s response. Workshops are split into two sessions: one for English-speaking parents and one for Spanish-speaking parents.

Results

According to a 2007 UCLA research study on RSR that surveyed both Englishand Spanish-speaking parents, after a workshop more than 90 percent of parents understood the connection between reading and their child’s future success. Parents’ confidence and mastery of techniques for reading to their children improved and parents left workshops with at least one or more valuable strategies or beliefs about reading to their child.

Cost

Clients Locations

All of RSR’s resources, including workshops and books, are provided free of charge to parents. The child’s school pays a nominal fee for the workshop and books. Since its inception in 2000, RSR has taught 20,000 parents to read to their children and worked with teachers in 130 schools in the Los Angeles area. Workshops are held at various pre-kindergarten programs including USC’s Head Start program, Hollywood Primary Center, El Sereno State Preschool, and Arlington Heights Elementary.

April 19, 2010

Ready, Set, Read!

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Be the first Storyteller.


executive summary About

Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) is a nonprofit organization that teaches parents in underserved Los Angeles communities the importance of early childhood literacy. The program encourages early learning through interactive reading, casual conversation, and vocabulary building. As the foundational step in a child’s education, RSR provides instructional bilingual workshops to parents, providing reading techniques and emphasizing their role as the first storyteller. Literacy development heeds ongoing academic success and overall self-confidence.

Campaign Goal

To increase in-kind donations, participation, and visibility for RSR in order to reach more parents in the Los Angeles area and deliver a high-quality educational program that promotes the value of early childhood literacy.

Primary Publics

Primary Objectives:

1) Parents of pre-kindergarten children in Los Angeles

1) To secure one prominent children’s book publisher for partnership in order to increase book donations by October 2011.

2) Teachers and site supervisors of pre-kindergarten programs in Los Angeles

3) To increase the number of new participating pre-kindergarten programs by at least 10% by October 2011.

3) Children’s book publishers and book-donating organizations

Strategies

2) To raise in-kind donations, specifically in the form of new books, with a value of $5000 through book donor organization partnerships by October 2011.

4) To increase the number of workshops by 15% by October 2011. 5) To increase the number of parent attendance at workshops by at least 15% by October 2011. 6) To increase the number of parent attendance at workshops by at least 15% by October 2011. 7) To increase website hits by 40% by October 2011.

To achieve the campaign goal and objectives, we have developed several specific strategies and interactive tactics that create RSR awareness, differentiate RSR from other child literacy organizations and spark participation. As we looked at the values of RSR, we noted the theme of interaction. RSR wants parents to engage with their children, ask them questions, kindle conversations and ultimately, read together. To emphasize the value of interaction, the majority of our tactics are interactive.

Tactics 1) Hosting the “Story in the Park” event for families in Los Angeles 2) Disseminating information about RSR workshops to both parents and pre-kindergarten teachers and site supervisors 3) Reaching out to children’s book publishers with a “popup” direct mail piece 4) Arranging for Merrily Weiss to attend and pitch RSR workshops to board and staff meetings at pre-kindergarten schools 5) Adding a social media plan to the RSR website 6) Creating collateral that is translated in both English and Spanish.

Budget: $7,048

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campaign plan

the story begins here...


background Many researchers have studied the impact of numerous techniques and programs established to increase children’s literecy. A study dating back to 1985 by Becoming a Nation of Readers noted that the most important activity for building the knowledge essential for the eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children (Wadsworth). Countless studies have shown the importance of parents and caregivers in the process of literacy development, noting that they are the main contributors in the acquisition of early literacy skills (Katz). Parents must begin the process of literacy in children by talking with their toddlers frequently and preparing a child to read from the day that the child is born (Early Lit). As research has noted, “a child who has not been read aloud to may have the limited vocabulary of a 2-year-old, while a child who has been read aloud to every day may have the vocabulary of a 10-year-old” (Katz). Further studies have noted that children in low-income families are read to an average of over 1,100 hours less than those in middle-income families (Katz). Without a major intervention, this literacy gap between socioeconomic classes grows wider every year (Hart). In Southern California fewer than 40 percent of third grade students read at or above the 50th percentile as shown through standardized testing, and in the Hispanic demographic it’s less than 25 percent (Parsavand). A report based on a 2003 survey of adult literacy showed that almost one in four adults in California have such poor literacy skills they cannot follow a simple newspaper article (Parsavand). The estimated 23 percent of adults with very low literacy in California is higher than any other state, according to the report from the U.S. Department Education (Parsavand). Numerous studies have shown that the most effective way to combat illiteracy is targeting children before they reach kindergarten and creating a habit of reading as a shared experience with parents (Snow). There are many programs nationally, as well as in the Los Angeles area, that focus on creating future readers. The national "Read Early, Read Aloud" campaign was created by First 5 LA to develop literacy at an early age and works to reach that goal by making books a part of pediatric care (Nadel). Because this program works with pediatricians, it has a wide reach and is easily accessible. Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), founded in 1966, is the nation’s oldest and largest children and family nonprofit literacy organization. RIF has several headquarters on the East Coast as well as a division in Los Angeles. This nonprofit has a strong foundation that has paved the way for many nonprofits focusing on child literacy today. Reading to Kids is a Los Angeles-based organization that works with underserved children to create a love of reading. It gathers approximately 1,156 children and 475 volunteers at reading clubs at eight Los Angeles elementary schools on the second Saturday of every month. At the monthly reading clubs, pairs of volunteers read aloud to small groups of children, while their parents receive training on how to encourage their children to read at home (Reading to Kids).

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Be the first Storyteller.


Founded in 2000 by Merrily Weiss, the nonprofit organization Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) was established to encourage parents in underserved communities to read to their pre-kindergarten children, in turn paving the way for future reading and educational success (Ready, Set, Read). Weiss became consumed with the idea to start RSR after she read an article about a similar program in another part of the country (Weiss). In its first 10 years of operation, the RSR program worked solely with participating preschools in the School Readiness and Language Development Program (SRLDP) in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The SRLDP schools have a unique requirement for parents to attend 10 educational meetings during the school year, allowing one to be a RSR workshop (Lasker). The workshops focus on educating parents on the importance of having daily dialogue with their children, explaining everyday things in their surrounding environments. The workshops emphasize the importance of reading books with children on a regular basis and using books as storytelling and vocabulary building devices. The simple act of turning the pages, explaining illustrations, and creating memories of reading together creates a foundation for a future love of reading. Research shows that shared book reading is the best way that parents can prepare their children to learn to read (Lasker). Changes have been made to the program since its initial stages. Weiss noted that when she began her program she distributed tattered and worn out books during workshops. After research showed that books should be new or lightly used to reinforce the message of their importance, she changed this dimension of her program by requiring books to be in pristine condition.

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situation analysis Today, Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) continues to implement instructional bilingual workshops focusing on the importance of parents reading to their children in the Los Angeles area. RSR offers these workshops to parents of pre-kindergarten students in Head Start programs or in School Readiness Language Development Programs (SLRDP) in Los Angeles. Currently, RSR has two sessions of the workshop. The first session is for English-speaking parents and the second session is for Spanish-speaking parents. The workshops stress the importance of a parent’s role in their child’s literacy development, ongoing academic success and overall self-confidence. In addition to these workshops, RSR provides classroom lending libraries. RSR’s key demographic is parents with young children who live in underserved communities in Los Angeles. Since its inception in 2000, the organization has reached a total of 22,000 parents. In addition, RSR has worked with teachers from 140 pre-kindergarten schools in Los Angeles and has also donated 10,000 books to classroom lending libraries. RSR does not charge parents for attending the workshops or the book they receive to read to their children. Instead, the average school is charged a nominal fee for each workshop and $3-4 per book. One of the largest struggles that RSR and every nonprofit that encourages early childhood literacy face is getting parents to understand the vital importance of the programs for their children. As Merrily Weiss, executive director of RSR, noted in an interview, all parents love their children and want them to succeed. The major battle is getting them to understand that this success begins with them giving their children the basic literacy skills they need to become literate adults. RSR gives these parents the tools they need to help their children. Due to budget cuts that resulted in the closing of 80 of the 556 SRLDPs in the summer of 2009, RSR looks to expand its program and work with additional school districts and preschool programs in Los Angeles (Newsletter 2009). A challenge this presents is keeping a high attendance at each workshop because some pre-kindergarten programs do not require their parents to attend the workshops.

core problem

If Ready, Set, Read! does not increase its visibility to attract participation and new book donations, then the organization will not be able to maintain and increase the number of workshops it hosts to meet the needs of underserved families in Los Angeles.

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Be the first Storyteller.


goals & objectives Goal Objectives

To increase in-kind donations, participation, and visibility for Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) in order to reach more parents in the Los Angeles area and deliver a high-quality educational program that promotes the value of early childhood literacy. To secure one prominent children’s book publisher for partnership in order to increase book donations by October 2011. To raise in-kind donations, specifically in the form of new books, with a value of $5000 through book donor organization partnerships by October 2011. To increase the number of new participating pre-kindergarten programs by at least 10% by October 2011. To increase the number of workshops by 15% by October 2011. To increase the number of parent attendance at workshops by at least 15% by October 2011. To increase publicity efforts – aiming for 10 news articles or educational and parenting trade publication articles about RSR in Los Angeles by October 2011. To increase website hits by 40% by October 2011.

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key publics Key Public

Underserved Parents This public encompasses low-income and underserved families, of which a large percentage is Hispanic, that live in Los Angeles County with children attending a preschool program. This public is attracted to the Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) workshops because they are beneficial for setting their children up for success. Many of the preschool programs also require that parents attend a certain number of workshops, for a part of this public attendance at workshops are mandatory. Parents will benefit from the workshop by learning valuable parenting skills about not only reading with their children, but creating a dialogue in order to start building a healthy vocabulary. Underserved parents they might not have these skills because many were not read to as a child or did not grow up in a home were dialogue was emphasized. The workshop teaches these parents how they can put an emphasis on dialogue with their children in order to engage their children and set them up for academic success.

Self Interest

Receiving free books; helping their children; educational stimulation for their children; becoming better parents.

Influentials

Key Public

Self Interest

Influentials

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Pre-kindergarten program staff/teachers/administrators; other parents; extended family members.

Publishers of Children’s Books This public is very broad. There are hundreds of publishing companies with an emphasis on children’s books. Some of the most well known are HarperCollins, Randomhouse, McGraw Hill and Scholastic. Their role in the chain of production of a book is huge. Like a film, an author’s book must be acquired. Once acquired by a publisher they work on editing, design, and marketing. The publisher is also responsible for getting the book printed. This is where they become a significant player for RSR. Since they control the printing and manage the sales of the book, they have the power to donate books. They will be interested in donating because by exposing the children to a particular type of book, the kind they publish, they can reel them in at a young age in hopes that the child will continue to ask for their books. Visibility in the community; worthy return-on-investment; exposure to potential new customers; establishing leadership in the investment of children’s literacy; tax incentives. Authors; illustrators; competitors; parents; teachers; school board; school administrators.

Be the first Storyteller.


Key Public

Potential Pre-kindergarten Program Partners This public includes Head Start of Los Angeles and Reading is Fundamental (RIF). Both of these organizations have the same overall goal of increasing literacy of children in underserved communities and work nationally with specific branches in the Los Angeles area. Head Start’s main mission is to ensure that children’s pre-kindergarten success begins in a comfortable, clean, learning environment. RIF delivers free books and literary resources to children and their families. They host their activities to spark children’s interest in reading and deliver their books at schools, libraries, childcare centers, and parks. A partnership with RSR would allow RIF to give parents a better understanding of how to use the book and would give RSR more venues to host workshops. This public is vital to the RSR program. After the Los Angeles Unified School District began going through budget cuts, it has become imperative to seek out new programs to host RSR workshops. Since both of these programs have strong support and followings in Los Angeles, creating partnerships presents the opportunity for RSR to establish itself as a credible nonprofit as well as would create more venues for the workshops to take place.

Self Interest

Having a new program to add to those already existing; working together to achieve the goal of early childhood literacy; minimal preparation for the workshop because it is all handled by RSR; connect more individuals to their organization; more visibility within the Los Angeles community.

Influentials

Parents; community leaders; donors; teachers; principals; local government officials; executive directors and members of the board of potential partner organizations.

Key Public

Teen Parents Teen parents are an important public for RSR because it is based around educating parents who have young children and often young parents have limited knowledge of how to raise children. The majority of teen parents are single mothers. Their daily schedule is busy and their time dedicated to education is limited. Generally speaking, they are more likely to wait until kindergarten to send their children to school. This key public relies on information on how to raise their children and RSR can teach them about literacy and education for their children. Since RSR primarily works with low-income parents, this key public needs a little more “push” than parents who can find things easily on the web. Although RSR’s main mission is to improve child literacy before elementary school, parent literacy is closely connected. Therefore, this public relies on clear messages and approaches that will not overwhelm them to the point they are afraid to attend the workshops.

Self Interest

Teen parents, especially teen mothers, have cut their education to dedicate toward raising their children; want a better academic future of their children because they did get reach their own academic potential.

Influentials

Teachers who interact with parents on a daily basis; social service programs or any young parent programs; their parents that want their grandchildren to have a better future. Ready, Set, Read!

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(more)

key publics

Key Public

Potential Donors This public includes literacy-related businesses, such as Scholastic or publishing companies, non-related businesses who want to give money to a charitable cause, and citizens or groups who are passionate about child literacy and feel the need to promote the program. RSR is in need of in-kind donations, especially new books for parents. During its early years, RSR collected and gave out used books to its clients. They soon discovered that used materials are detrimental to participation and customer following. When a child receives a new book, he or she gains a feeling of self-worth and is more likely to enjoy reading. Therefore, the need for brand new, colorful literature is vital, and donors are a tremendous part in RSR’s success. There are a multitude of organizations that give away new books to children, including “First Book,” “Read to Grow,” and “Books for America.” Most businesses that are not related to literacy programs allocate a portion of their income for donations. If RSR positions itself as a unique and necessary organization, donors are more likely to contribute funds. The parents who attend the RSR workshops have two incentives: to improve their child’s knowledge and vocabulary, and to receive free books. After attending two workshops on March 13, our team discovered that many parents stayed until the end of the workshop in order to receive their free book. Due to the large turnout, RSR began to run out of books, and parents were disappointed when they did not receive a copy of “Dora the Explorer.”

Self Interest

Community recognition; moral correctness and satisfaction; the reward of helping out a child; publicity opportunity; display the good nature of the business; the ability to write off taxes.

Influentials

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Authors; children’s book publishing companies; citizens of Los Angeles; celebrities; businesses; literacy-related organizations.

Be the first Storyteller.


Key Public

Assistant Superintendent and other administrators of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Early Childhood branch This public drives the success of RSR because it encompasses six programs that can implement the workshops. The six programs are California School Age Families Education (Cal-SAFE) Program, Early Education, Ready For School (RFS), School Readiness Language Development Program (SRLDP), and State Preschool. Each program emphasizes a parent’s role in their child’s pre-kindergarten education and learning development. For example, SRLDP is an oral language program that prepares students for kindergarten. The program focuses on increasing the child’s ability to listen, speak effectively, use vocabulary appropriately and develop academic readiness skills. It also provides a parent involvement and education program to help facilitate their child’s educational development. In order to enroll their children in the program, parents must agree to attend mandatory monthly parent meetings and education sessions. In totality, there are 556 programs, 326 sites and 16,680 children enrolled in SRLDP. All of the pre-kindergarten programs have the power to adopt RSR’s workshops as their parent education sessions. Effectiveness of the workshops and cost are important to this public. Due to recent budget cuts, the program receives less money and the number of programs offered is decreasing. This public needs to know that the $200 spent on the workshops and the $3-4 per book is worth the investment. Nonetheless, this public would find it in their interest to use RSR’s workshops because it emphasizes the importance of building a foundation for a child, including the steps to take before even reading to a child such as asking questions, building a vocabulary and book manners. Currently, the SRLDP programs make up the majority of the workshops that RSR puts on.

Self Interest

A favorable perception from parents whose children are enrolled in the program; affordable alternative to their own education sessions for parents; best interest of the children enrolled; increased attendance at parent sessions.

Influentials

Los Angeles Unified School district leaders; directors of the Fiscal Unit Office of the Los Angeles Unified School District; parents; teachers.

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message strategies Campaign Theme

Be the first Storyteller.

Key Public

Children’s book publishers and book-donating organizations

Self Interest Present Issue

Present RSR as Solution Make Appeal

Theme

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Social responsibility; your company/organization loves reading, storytelling and using your imagination and you want to spread your passion with young children Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) does not have enough books to give away to all workshop attendants; RSR is so small and unique that it needs a well-known, such as Reading is Fundamental (RIF) to latch on to; many underserved families cannot afford books and look forward to the free book they receive at each workshop. Popular children’s book authors will act as celebrity endorsers to RSR, bringing it to surface above other competitors; through partnerships and book donations, RSR will have enough free give-aways, which will increase parent attendance. RSR does not have the funding or the public outreach to be successful on its own; RSR needs in-kind donations and a public incentive, such as an identifiable author, to further recognition within the community; RSR has the same mission as that of children’s authors and literacy organizations—to spread the importance and value of reading at a young age; together, we can strengthen this goal and expedite learning. Be the first to share your support for Storytelling.

Be the first Storyteller.


Key Public Self Interest Present Issue

Present RSR as Solution Make Appeal

Theme

Key Public Self Interest Present Issue

Pre-kindergarten site supervisors, administrators and teachers You want to inspire parents to help their children develop a love of reading and become successful in the classroom. Pre-kindergarten children are at the most essential age to grasp the complexities and rules of language. If you do not help and encourage parents to become involved in their child’s learning, then their child will not receive the full basic education they need to build upon. As someone of influence to parents, it is your duty to encourage and show parents as much as possible that it is beneficial to have an active role in their child’s education and instill into their child’s mind that reading is fun. You can work with parents to improve children’s attitudes towards reading and broaden their knowledge. Reading not only teaches words and sentence structure, it promotes diligence, imagination, and learning tactics that will help their child throughout their educational careers. Encourage parents to be the first Storyteller.

Parents You want your child to succeed, expand their vocabularies, broaden imagination, and spur curiosity; you want to spend time with your children You may be unaware that your involvement is vital to your child’s education; vocabulary building is as easy as everyday conversation between parent and child—pointing to objects, asking questions, and encouraging description.

Present RSR as Solution

RSR gives specific tactics that the parents can use and apply to reading time or to daily conversation in general; workshops teach how to ask questions about shapes, colors, thoughts, and behaviors of characters; it provides the opportunity for the parent to become the expert and to receive a free book.

Make Appeal

You are the first teachers and you need to build a strong foundation before your child reaches kindergarten; vocabulary building begins in the womb.

Theme

Be your child’s first Storyteller.

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strategies & tactics Strategy

Tactics

Demonstrate to potential partners, book donors, publishers and authors that their roles are important to the success of children’s literacy, and motivate them to make book donations. Create an interactive direct mail piece to send to strategic publics such as a community relations director of a publishing company or the program director of a book donating organizations like Reading is Fundamental (RIF). Idea for the direct mail piece: • Create a very simplified template of a children’s “pop-up” book, so the recipient can essentially pull out information with tabs and images pop out as he or she turns the page, etc. The information in the book describes key facts about Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) and why it is a worthy organization to partner with. • Create a package shaped in the form of a toy block filled with items such as a small blanket, a small pack of Oreos and milk, a child-decorated bookmark, and a book light and a coloring page with RSR facts. Deliver a “thank you for your support” letter to publishers. Inside would include a personal thank you/opportunity letter to donate with a reply envelope, and a bookmark made by children at the “Story in the Park” event. Include a DVD featuring children reading and parent testimonials as well as a nice letter touching on the key points of what differentiates RSR from other literary organizations • Executed to a larger pool of people compared to the strategic mailing of the more expensive “pop up” direct mail piece. Address potential partners such as RIF and publishers on Twitter by following their conversations and creating a call to action over Tweets.

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Be the first Storyteller.


Strategy Help influential decision makers such as school district superintendents, principals, and pre-kindergarten teachers differentiate RSR from other early childhood literacy workshops and position it as the most important first step in a child’s educational program. Tactics Create a “Workshop Kit” to mail to pre-kindergarten programs. This will include workshop information, a fact sheet, any press releases, the latest newsletter, executive director’s bio, a set of testimonials, and a “Be the first Storyteller” poster. Arrange for Merrily Weiss to attend and pitch RSR workshops to board and staff meetings at the beginning of the school year. Create a YouTube video showing what a workshop is like and play it on the RSR website. Offer an of incentive for teachers that refer the program to others. Our research showed referrals were a main factor in getting schools to adopt the workshop. Mail personal invitations that ask decision makers to attend a RSR workshop and see how effective it is. Strategy Influence parents to attend workshops and understand the importance of setting a foundation for their children. Tactics Create mailer/flier/email, etc., that includes fact sheets about early child literacy (how RSR can improve your child’s vocabulary, imagination, etc.) and also mentions workshop details. Brand the children with RSR sticker reminders (that say “free book” or “save the date”) before event at their pre-kindergarten schools to increase attendence. Give labels to parents to label the house with words. The labels will include a small RSR logo for branding. Like the labels, give word magnets to create stories on the fridge.

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(more) Tactics continued

strategies & tactics Host a “Story in the Park” event. Pre-event tactics: • Send invites to pre-kindergarten teachers who have already implemented RSR workshops to volunteer at the event. • Send a packet to pre-kindergarten teachers with flyers to hand out to the parents and fun “save the date”/reminder stickers to put on their students. • E-mail media alerts and pitch letters to key media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times. • Send “pop-up” card invitations to key government officials and education beat reporters at media outlets. These invitations will ask them to join the event with their families and participate as attendees. During-event tactics: • In the first part of the event, RSR separates the parents and the children: The children and the child care volunteers interact at stations. Children can create sock puppets and other art pieces, including the bookmarks, forcing them to use their imagination. • Meanwhile, parents engage in the RSR workshop. • In the second part of the event, RSR brings both the parents and the children together for a group reading session with book and blanket while a popular author reads out loud. • Parents are encouraged to continue reading their received book to their child. • Throughout the entire event, there will be a library booth where parents are encouraged to sign up for library cards. • Provide brochures and press kits for anyone who would like more information about RSR. Post-event tactic: • Send thank you cards to all teacher volunteers, as well as children’s book author, any government officials and reporters who attended the event as attendees.

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Be the first Storyteller.


(recommended)

logo designs

With the goal to differentiate Read, Set, Read! from competing organizations, we suggest a logo change because of its current similarities. Visual Similarities: Image of an open book; person reading; solid block colors.

Ready, Set, Read! logo (left); Competing logos (above)

Our new logo suggestions incorporate vibrant colors and children’s scribbles, which symbolize creativity and imagination. The “hands” logo is representative of the parent-child bond, and compliments our theme of becoming the first Storyteller. While we are not graphic designers, we hope that these suggestions act as a spring board for a new logo that is current and unique to the organization.

Ready, Set,

! d a e R

Ready Set Read!

Ready, Set,

Read!

Ready, Set,

! d a e R Ready, Set, Read!

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communication Key Public

Underserved Parents

Self Interests

• Receive free books • Help their children • Stimulate their children educationally • Become better parents

• Increase visibility in the community • Return-on-investment Children’s • Expose company or Book author to potential new Publishers customers And Book • Establish leadership in the Donating investment of children’s Organizations literacy • Tax incentives

Teachers and Site Supervisors of Prekindergarten Programs

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• Gain a favorable perception from parents whose children are enrolled at the school or in the district • Utilize an affordable alternative to their own education sessions for parents • Consider the best interest of the children enrolled

Be the first Storyteller.

Primary Messages

“Be your child’s first Storyteller.”

“Be the first to share your support for Storytelling.”

“Encourage parents to be the first Storyteller.”

Influentials

• • • •

Preschool programs Teachers Extended Family PTA

• • • • • • •

Authors (for publishers) Agents (for authors) Publishers (for authors) Parents Teachers School Boards Administrators

• LAUSD • Directors of Fiscal Unit Office • Parents • Teachers • Other staff • PTA


confirmation table Objectives

Strategies

Increase the number of parents in attendance at workshops by at least 15% by October 2011.

Influence parents to attend workshops and understand the importance of setting a foundation for their children.

Secure one prominent publisher with a variety of authors in order to receive books as a donation from said publisher and/or author(s).

Demonstrate to potential partners, book donors, publishers and authors that their roles are important to the success of children’s literacy, and motivate them to make book donations.

Increase number of new participating pre-k programs by at least 10% by October 2011 and increase number of workshops by 15% by October 2011.

Help influential decision makers such as school districts, principals, and teachers differentiate RSR from other earlyliteracy workshops and position it as the most important first step in a child’s educational program.

Tactics • Host “Story in the Park” park event • Collateral about child literacy and workshop • Brand the kids with RSR sticker reminders (that say “free book” or “save the date”) before event at their prekindergarten schools • Branded labels for parents to label the house with words • Word magnets to create stories on the fridge • All written materials will also be provided in Spanish

• Interactive direct mail piece • Personalized “thank you for your support” letter to publishers, including a bookmark made by children • Testimonial DVD that demonstrates how RSR is different • Address potential publishers on Twitter by following their conversations and creating a call to action over Tweets

• Workshop Kit: information, a fact sheet, press releases, newsletter, Executive bio, a set of testimonials, and a poster • Pitch RSR workshops to a board meeting or staff meeting at the beginning of the school year • Youtube video of a workshop • Give incentive for teachers that refer the program to others • Ask decision makers to attend a RSR workshop and see how effective it really is • Utilize Flickr to visually show the successes of the RSR workshops

Ready, Set, Read!

23


calendar   Campaign Tactic

Oct-10 1 2

Story in the Park Event Create list of possible authors to read at event Contact author to read at event Sign contract, secure author Secure park venue Begin creating media contact list  

 

  All children activity items collected Start recruiting childcare volunteers Secure and follow up with childcare volunteers Follow up with author Design reminder stickers Order reminder stickers Order blankets Secure photographer Secure videographer Distribute media kits Follow up with media Send media alert Send personal invites to influentials Parent fliers delivered to classrooms Reminder stickers sent home on preschoolers Parent fliers sent home with children Host event Mail thank-yous Upload photos to flickr Upload video to youtube Send photos to media outlets   Campaign Strategy

1  

Re-brand Ready, Set, Read! Begin website redesign Launch new website

24

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X

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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Sep-10 1 2

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Dec-10 1 2

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Feburary 2011 1 2 3 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May-11

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Be the first Storyteller.

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Campaign Strategy

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Create YouTube account and upload videos Create Flickr account and upload picture Create Twitter Create/Set up technology for Skype feed Launch social media sites Design and order brand word magnets for families Create Ready, Set, Read! labels for families   Campaign Strategy

 

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Partner with publishers for books Begin writing direct mail piece Create publisher contact list Send direct mail piece Follow up with publishers Sign contracts with publishers to donator/ sponsor Send thank-you’s to participating publishers Begin sending RSR newsletters Follow up with sponsors to participate in SITP   Campaign Strategy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Partner with pre-k programs Begin writing direct mail piece Create influentiatls/ directors contact list Send out direct mail piece Follow up with contacts Set up pitch meetings with directors/ influentials Sign contracts with programs Send thank-you’s to contacts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ready, Set, Read!

25


budget

Item Description

Quantity

Cost Per Unit $

Total Cost Estimate $

800 800

$ n/a .95 .44

$0 760 352

500 500

n/a .85 0

0 425 0

200 200 100

.59 .44 .09

118 88 9

150 150

.09 .44

14 66

400 100 100

.09 .44 .27

36 44 27

1

n/a 500

Newsletter – four pages, two color, 4 a year  Graphic designer’s fee (in-house)  Printing  Postage Brochure – two pages, two color  Graphic designer’s fee (in-house)  Printing  Distribution (handed out) Direct Mail Piece  Printing  Postage  Bookmark Publishers’ Thank You Letter  Printing  Postage Workshop Kit  Printing 4 pgs  Postage  DVD Website (upgraded)  Writer’s fee (written in-house)  Graphic designer’s fee (Student) News Release (written in-house)  Wire service fee (wide distribution)  Feature Story – 1,000-2,000 words (written in-house) Print Advertisement - Flyers  Printing .49 x 1000  Distribution (handed out) Print Advertisement - Posters  Printing  Distribution (handed out) YouTube Video  Videographer fee (donated service) Launch of Social Media (in-house)  Twitter, Flickr,YouTube Translation Services (in-house)

1

500 n/a

0 500 0 500 0

1000 1000

.49 0

490 0

150

2.99 0

449 0

n/a

0

0 n/a

0 0


Item Description

Quantity

Cost per Unit $

Total Cost Estimate $

1500 1500 1500 1500 150 Guests

$0.08 .11 .35 .25

$120 165 525 375

300 75

1 9

300 675

300

1 0

300 0

1

500 0 0

500 0 0

5 20 5 5

10 3 10 10

50 60 50 50

200 200

0 0

0 0

Promotional Items  Magnets  Pencils  Stickers  Labels Special Event - “Story in the Park” Invitations (sent to 375) ��� Simple  “Pop-up”invitations “Save the Date” card  Postcard (including postage)  Email Rent sound system – half day  Microphone, speakers Videographer (two hours donated service) Photographer (two hours donated service) Rental Equipment  Rectangle tables  Chairs  Linens  Canopy Gift - Swag  Blankets (donated)  Books (donated)

Grand Total: $7,048

Ready, Set, Read!

27


evaluation criteria & tools Objective 1

To secure one prominent children’s book publisher for partnership to increase book donations by October 2011.

Evaluation Tools

• Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) will compile a list of children’s book publishers they have partnered with prior to September 2010. • RSR will then compile a list of publishing partners after September 2011. • RSR will keep an inventory of book donations they have received prior to September 2010. • RSR will then count the number of donations they have received after September 2011.

Ojbective 2

To raise in-kind donations, specifically in the form of new books, with a value of $5000 through book donor organization partnerships by October 2011.

Evaluation Tools

• RSR will keep an inventory of in-kind donations prior to September 2010. • RSR will then evaluate their new inventory sheet after September 2011 to see how many donations they received in one year’s time. • RSR will list the number of book donor organization partnerships prior to September 2010. • RSR will then compile the number of book donor partnerships received between September 2010 and September 2011, and compare this number to the previous year’s partnerships.

Objective 3 Evaluation Tools

28

To increase the number of new participating pre-kindergarten programs by at least 10% by October 2011. • RSR will compile a list of pre-kindergarten programs prior to September 2010. • RSR will then list the number of pre-kindergarten programs after September 2011. • RSR will evaluate the number of direct mail pieces, flyers, and posters they used to attract pre-kindergarten programs prior to September 2010. • RSR will keep track of the amount of collateral pieces they send out between September 2010 and September 2011. This will prove how many impressions were made and how many new pre-kindergarten programs were adopted be cause of the collateral pieces.

Be the first Storyteller.


Objective 4 Evaluation Tools

To increase the number of workshops by 15% by October 2011. • RSR will track the number of workshops given prior to September 2010. • RSR will then count the number of new workshops that were gained after September 2011.

Objective 5

To increase the number of parent attendance at workshops by at least 15% by October 2011.

Evaluation Tools

• RSR will track the number of parents at each workshop prior to September 2010. • RSR will survey parents prior to September 2010 to ask what they liked about the workshops and how the workshops can be improved. • RSR will list the new activities added to workshops between September 2010 and September 2011. • RSR will then list the number of parents who attended each workshop after September 2011. • RSR will conduct the same survey and compare the parents’ number rankings and responses to the overall experience.

Objective 6

To increase publicity efforts - aiming for 10 news articles or educational and parenting trade publication articles about RSR in Los Angeles by October 2011.

Evaluation Tools

Objective 7 Evaluation Tools

• RSR will track the number of articles that mention RSR in both newspaper and trade publications throughout the year, paying specific attention after RSR events, such as the “Story in the Park.” To increase website hits by 40% by October 2011. • RSR will track the number of website hits to their existing website for three months prior to October 2010. • RSR will then track the number of website hits to the new website for three months after launching the new website in October 2010. • RSR will track the number of inquiries made by donors, partnering organizations, and pre-kindergarten programs for three months during the existence of the old website, prior to October 2010. • RSR will then track the number of inquiries made for three months after the launch of the new website in October 2010.

Ready, Set, Read!

29


communication tools

let’s get talkin’...


PRESS RELEASE Details: Key public: Families in the Los Angeles area Secondary publics: Pre-kindergarten program decision makers (such as teachers, principals, and site supervisors) Action desired from publics: Attend “Story in the Park” to increase awareness of Ready, Set, Read!’s (RSR) mission and workshop, and position RSR as the first step in creating a foundation for literacy. How does this action tie to the key public’s self interest? Attending “Story in the Park” will give parents a day of bonding with their child while learning about how to help them become future readers. Hands-on activities for the children and parents will simultaneously take place to get everyone involved in laying the foundation for early childhood literacy. Overriding message/theme: Be your child’s first storyteller. Primary Message #1: “Story in the Park” is a fun event that celebrates parents’ ability to bond with their child through storytelling. Support for primary message: Details of the event and the interactive activities both chil dren and parents will be a part of; Quote from Eric Carle.

Primary Message #2: RSR provides tools parents need to create literate children. Support for primary message: All attendees will receive a free book and blanket at the event. Parents can hear Merrily Weiss, RSR’s executive director, discuss techniques for story telling while children make crafts with volunteer teachers. A booth to sign up for a Los Angeles Public Library card will be available.

Primary Message #3: RSR is a reputable non-profit organization with a message that is imperative for parents to hear. Support for primary message: Third party endorsements from children’s book author Eric Carle lends RSR credibility and standing as a premier organization. Partnering with the Los Angeles Public Library for library card sign-ups shows community support of the program.

Describe photos/graphics: A photo of author Eric Carle with his book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” a picture taken from a RSR workshop, and RSR logo will be attached to be used at the journalist’s discretion. Specific media to receive information: Los Angles newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times and LA Daily News, teachers trade publication, such as the United Teachers of Los Angeles and event calendar publications. Proposed follow-up with media: E-mail follow-up.

32

Be the first Storyteller.


PRESS RELEASE READY, SET, READ! BRINGS FAMILIES TOGETHER WITH A “STORY IN THE PARK” LOS ANGELES — SEPT. 1 – Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) will host its first “Story in the Park” event featuring bestselling children’s book author Eric Carle on Saturday, Sept.17. The event will encourage parents to be their child’s first storyteller with hands-on activities for the entire family. “Story in the Park” will take place at Griffith Park in Los Angeles from noon to 4 p.m. Parents will have the opportunity to listen to Merrily Weiss, executive director of RSR, give techniques for creating early childhood literacy by instilling a love of story time in children at a young age. Children will be paired with teacher volunteers to visit interactive stations to craft sock puppets and bookmarks. A costume station will allow children to dress up as their favorite story characters. “It is beautiful when parents learn that the first step in literacy isn’t simply reading to their children, but creating a shared experience of imagination and bonding,” said Weiss. Families who attend will receive a free book provided by Penguin Books and blanket donated by Target. The event will conclude with the children joining their parents on the blanket for a reading by author Eric Carle of his book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” “I became a storyteller when my first son was born, not when my first book was published. Given the right tools, all parents have the ability to be the first storyteller,” said Carle. “Story in the Park” is free and open to the public. The Los Angeles Public Library will be available to sign up families with library cards. For more information, please visit www.readysetread.org or contact Weiss at merrilyweiss@ readysetread.org. About Ready, Set, Read! Ready, Set, Read! is a non-profit organization that teaches parents in underserved communities the importance of children’s literacy. The program encourages early learning through interactive reading, casual conversation, and vocabulary building. As the foundational step in a child’s education, Ready, Set, Read! provides instructional bilingual workshops to parents, providing reading techniques and emphasizing their role as the first storyteller. Literacy development heeds ongoing academic success and overall self-confidence. ###

Ready, Set, Read!

33


MEDIA PITCH LETTER Details: Key public: Carolyn Kellog, Los Angeles Times reporter Secondary publics: Her fellow reporters should she choose to pass the opportunity along Action desired from publics: To attend “Story in the Park” and write a story about it for the Los Angeles Times How does this action tie to the key public’s self interest? Our event is similar to events she has covered in the past such as local “book-mobiles,” events with children, and topics concerning reading and literacy. Overriding message/theme: Help us share a story about storytelling.

Primary Message #1: Defines RSR. Support for primary message: Explain what the organization does through supplemental information such as a link to a video of a workshop, fact sheet, and press release.

Primary Message #2: Explain “Story in a Park”. Support for primary message: Give details about who, what, where, when, and why and share exciting news that famous children’s author Eric Carle will be in attendance.

Primary Message #3: Come join us! Support for primary message: Prove that the event is relevant to Kellog’s niche of journalism and offer photo opportunities.

Describe photos/graphics. The logo will be attached under Weiss’ name. Third-party influentials and how they will be used: A mother from a past workshop is quoted as a testimonial. Contact Information: Carolyn Kellog, LA Times carolyn.kellog@latimes.com

34

Be the first Storyteller.


MEDIA PITCH LETTER Dear Carolyn Kellog, Ready, Set, Read! (RSR), a non-profit organization that teaches parents in underserved communities the importance of children’s literacy, is planning an exciting event for parents and children to kick off the school year, and we invite you to attend. “Story in the Park” will take place on Saturday, September 17, at Griffith Park. The event will begin at noon, when parents will partake in a RSR workshop while children are supervised by teacher volunteers, who will help with sock puppet making and bookmark decorating. At 2 p.m. children’s author Eric Carle will read his most famous book, “The Very Hungry Catepillar.” All families will receive a RSR blanket and book to take home and read to their child. The program encourages early learning through interactive reading, casual conversation, and vocabulary building. As the foundational step in a child’s education, RSR provides instructional bilingual workshops to parents, providing reading techniques and emphasizing their role as the first storyteller. Literacy development heeds ongoing academic success and overall self-confidence. When surveyed after a RSR workshop held at University of Southern California, one parent said, “I really enjoyed it. I had no idea that reading broadens vocabulary so much. I couldn’t believe that children are supposed to know 1,500 words or more.” Our intentions are to enlighten parents about the importance of reading and vocabulary and to motivate families to read together throughout the entire school year. I hope that you are interested in this story and are able to cover “Story in the Park.” For your convenience, I have attached an RSR fact sheet, “Story in the Park” press release, a link to a video of a workshop, and some interesting statistics about literacy. There will be many valuable photo opportunities such as children doing crafts and families reading together on a beautiful day in Griffith Park. Please feel free to contact me for more information. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Merrily Weiss Founder and Executive Director

Ready, Set, Read!

35


MEDIA ALERT Details: Key public: Los Angeles newspaper media including Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News; Los Angeles educational trade publications Secondary publics: Hispanic media including La Opinion and KVEA TV 52 (Telemundo) Action desired from publics: Send a reporter or photographer to cover the event How does this action tie to the key public’s self interest? It is the media’s job to cover events that seem important or relevant to their readers. Covering this event would create a large community interest in their publication because it covers family and education in a local area. Overriding message/theme: Cover RSR’s “Story in the Park” event

Primary Message #1: This event features popular author Eric Carle. As a worldacclaimed writer and illustrator, his name will interest readers in not only Los Angeles but across the nation. Support for primary message: His biography is included in the media alert. It describes his popularity and impact on children around the world.

Primary Message #2: This event celebrates parents and children reading together. Support for primary message: This will be stated in the “what” section of the media alert.

Primary Message #3: Imagine the sight of a large group of parents and children reading together on blankets in one of the most beautiful parks in Los Angeles. Support for primary message: The event predicts a beautiful visual of a large group of parents and children reading together on blankets.

Describe photos/graphics: The only graphic used in the media alert is the RSR logo. Third-party influentials and how they will be used: The alert mentions Eric Carle as a person of importance and status to attract media. Production deadline: This alert will be sent out a month in advance of the event. More specifically the due date would be Aug. 17, 2011. Specific media to receive information: Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, La Opinion and KVEA TV 52 (Telemundo) Proposed follow-up with media: Media should be followed up with an e-mail a week prior to the event.

36

Be the first Storyteller.


MEDIA ALERT READY, SET, READ! TO HOST “STORY IN THE PARK” WITH AUTHOR ERIC CARLE FOR LOS ANGELES FAMILIES Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 Griffith Park, Los Angeles 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. WHAT:

READY, SET, READ! (RSR) will host its first “Story in the Park” event for underserved families in the Los Angeles community with popular children’s author Eric Carle. To kick-off the school year on the right foot, the event celebrates the importance of parents and their children reading together. Each family will receive a free book, donated by Reading is Fundamental (RIF), and a free blanket, donated by Target, to read on in the park. The event will begin with a workshop for parents to teach the fundamentals of reading to their children. Meanwhile, their children will participate at stations where they can make sock puppets or dress like their favorite story character under the supervision of pre-kindergarten teachers. At 2 p.m., children will join their parents to listen to Eric Carle read his book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

There will also be a Los Angeles Public Library booth that encourages families to sign up for a library card throughout the entire event.

WHERE:

Griffith Park 4730 Crystal Springs Drive Los Angeles, CA 90027

WHEN:

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 12 p.m. Welcome by RSR executive director, Merrily Weiss. 12:15 p.m. Parents attend the workshop. Children participate at stations. 2 p.m. Eric Carle reads to the families.

WHO:

RSR is a non-profit organization that encourages parents in underserved Los Angeles communities to not only read to their pre-kindergarten children, but to stress the importance of building a vocabulary. Founded in 2000, RSR is the foundational step in a child’s education. Providing instructional bilingual workshops to help parents read to their kids, RSR emphasizes the importance of a parent’s role in a child’s literacy development, ongoing academic success and overall self-confidence.

ERIC CARLE is an acclaimed author and illustrator of books for very young children. Selling over 30 million copies and translated in over 45 languages, his best-known work, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” has captured the hearts and imaginations of children all over the world.

CONTACT: Merrily Weiss at (818) 986-9867 or merrilyweiss@readysetread.org ###

Ready, Set, Read!

37


FEATURE RELEASE Details: Key public: Publishers/ Organization partnerships Secondary publics: Parents of underserved families Action desired from publics: Donate books and bring awareness to Ready, Set, Read! How does this action tie to the key public’s self interest? Publishers and head start programs gain publicity through partnerships with programs such as Ready, Set, Read!. Since the nonprofit organization deals with children, and children foster thoughts of innocence and goodness, then any donor who contributes to these ideas will expand their reverence within the community. Even the simple donation of time, such as the act of Eric Carle reading to children, is appreciated and powerful. Overriding message/theme: Be the first storyteller.

Primary Message #1: Use visual images to entice readers and encourage participation. Support for primary message: Offering a creative perspective to Ready, Set, Read!’s first outdoor reading workshop, Story in the Park, the feature describes the setting of the park and the liveliness of the families as they join together on the tops of blankets. It brings the reader to the actual scene with an anecdotal story.

Primary Message #3: Use a celebrity endorsement to influence others authors and publishing companies to donate their time and books. Support for primary message: Eric Carle is a children’s author of many recognizable family favorites, including “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” His fame and public recognition made his name newsworthy; therefore, he came at the forefront in the feature article.

Primary Message #2: Connect readers to the workshop attendants, and use the parents as spokespeople to promote Ready, Set, Read!. Support for primary message: The message is supported strongly through testimonials of parents and workshop coordinators. They explain their overwhelming enthusiasm and positive responses to the outdoor workshop. There is nothing more powerful than the excitement of the primary audience. If we can use this excitement to influence others to join, then Ready, Set, Read! will gain the publicity and book contributions that it needs to thrive.

Describe photos/graphics: Photos will capture the parents and children reading together on their blankets. This will prove the human interaction, fun, and success of the outdoor event. A second graphic will feature Eric Carle surrounded by children and their sock puppets. This will cater directly to other book publishers and authors. Third-party influentials and how they will be used: School board administrators of the Los Angeles School system will be invited to observe the event. Their first-hand experience will show them the importance of Ready, Set, Read!, and cause them to adopt the organization into their schools. Production deadline: September 18, 2011, a day after the workshop event.

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FEATURE RELEASE Families Bring Books to the Great Outdoors LOS ANGELES—Beneath the shade of giant Oak trees, outstretched blankets nestle themselves among fallen acorns and pink, mariposa lilies. It is a warm Saturday afternoon in Griffith Park and families have joined together for Ready, Set, Read!’s (RSR) first “Story in a Park” event. “My daughter loved to be outside with her new ‘The Very Hungry Catepillar’ book,” said Maria Delgado, mother of three. “It was a great environment to learn, share time with each other and enjoy the sun.” Delgado was one of 100 parents who attended RSR’s outdoor reading workshop on September 17. RSR promotes children’s literacy through interactive reading, question formation, and vocabulary building. It teaches the importance of the parent’s role in their child’s success, and provides techniques on how to become their child’s first storyteller. The organization targets underserved families. “Story in a Park” invited families to learn, play, and interact in an unconventional classroom setting. Desks and indoor daycare centers were replaced by blankets and craft-making. Children’s author, Eric Carle, hosted story time with the children and parents and donated one of his most popular works, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” “The goal of the park event was to create a casual and intimate atmosphere where families could pack lunches and enjoy an outdoor setting,” said Merrily Weiss, executive director of RSR. The day began with two parent workshops in both English and Spanish. Weiss conducted each hourlong session as the children were entertained at craft stations supervised by volunteer teachers. When the parent workshop was over, the children were invited to join their families—along with their newly made sock puppets—to listen to Carle read his story. After, the families read their book together. “We sat on our blanket and read the entire book together,” said Andy Ramirez, father of two. “I asked questions about colors, sounds, and shapes, and was impressed by my son’s enthusiasm.” At the end of the day, each family was thrilled by a free book and a blanket to take home with them. “Story in the Park” acquired more people than RSR has seen in past workshops. Its overwhelming response has inspired Weiss and Sowell to design similar workshops of this nature. “That’s the beauty of reading,” said Weiss. “It can be done almost anywhere. Grab a blanket, find a park, and don’t forget your book!” For more information regarding parent workshops, please visit the website at www.readysetread.org. ###

Ready, Set, Read!

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WEBSITE REDESIGN Details:

Key public: Parents, Book Authors and Publishers, Pre-K Program Influentials Action desired from public: Learn more about Ready, Set, Read! and be persuaded to want to learn more or get involved with the organization How does this action tie to the key public’s self interest? Parents: provides information about workshops and more recourses to continue helping their children Book Authors and Publishers: Easily log onto the website and learn the effectiveness of Ready, Set, Read! Pre-K Program Influentials: Easily log onto the website and learn the effectiveness of Ready, Set, Read! Overriding message/theme: Be your child’s first storyteller

Primary Message #1: Get Involved Support for primary message: The website should provide many persuasive elements drawing attention top the success of Ready, Set, Read! An entire page will be dedicated to research and results, pictures and statistics will be featured through out the website as well.

Describe photos/graphics: Include new colors and new logo. Include photos from workshops of parents reading with children. Third-party influentials and how they will be used: Website page dedicated to testimonials from teachers, and parents Production deadline: October 2010

Ready, Set, Read!

Be the first storyteller.

Home Our Story

Save the date for…

You
Tube


“Story in the Park” with Eric Carle!

Resources for Teachers

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

FAQ

Click here for more info.

Donate Links

Reading activities: games, puzzles and printable coloring pages

Research and Results

Discussion board: feedback, ideas, and more!

Contact Us

Your stories: testimonials, feedback and success stories Upcoming Ready, Set, Read! workshops:

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Be the first Storyteller.

Check out our current workshop! Follow us on Twitter!


SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

For Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) we’d like implement three social media tools. They are Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr. These social media outlets will be most effective with our key publics. Some popular social media sites like Facebook are not targeted toward, and will not be as effective with our key publics of underserved parents, school professionals, and children’s books authors and publishers. Utilizing sites like Flickr and Youtube can help key publics become more involved and connected with the organization. A Youtube account can be created by RSR and videos of workshops can be added to the profile. These videos can be directly linked to the RSR’s website. Parents can get a taste of what the workshop is about before they attend (to increase attendance). Book authors and publishers as well as decision makers in schools and pre-kindergarten programs can see exactly what the organization provides before they make the decision to get involved, partner, or donate.

A Flickr account can also be directly linked to the website. The organization can create galleries where photos can be uploaded from various workshops and events held by RSR. Flickr also has a fun “Maps” feature where photos can be mapped from the various locations they were taken. This can be used to display all the various locations workshops are being held – along with the fun photos taken at them. This tool can be used to keep parents involved. They’ll want to log online to view the photos taken of them reading with their child at a recent workshop. This can also be used as a tool to reach out to other key publics as a form of persuasion. Providing a link to RSR’s flickr page to potential book partners and pre-kindergarten program directors will add a personal touch by encouraging them to view adorable photos from workshops of families reading together.

A Twitter can be linked to the website. Through twitter conversations, RSR can reach and address potential partners and publishers and create call to actions via Tweets.

Ready, Set, Read!

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BROCHURE Details: Key public: English-speaking parents of children enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs in Los Angeles. There will be a separate brochure for Spanish-speaking parents with the same information and template. Action desired from public: Attend the Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) workshop. How does this action tie to the key public’s self interest? The workshop benefits parents by providing helpful tools to build a solid educational foundation for their child. Parents want their child to be the best he or she can be and by attending the workshop, they can help facilitate the growth of their child’s learning abilities. Overriding message/theme: Attending a RSR workshop can help and motivate parents to become their child’s first storyteller.

Primary Message #1: RSR is an organization that promotes early childhood education. How will you support the primary message? The “Our Story” section talks about our vision and mission, which centers around parents building an early foundation for their child.

Primary Message #2: RSR’s workshops are successful. How will you support the primary message? The brochure includes the UCLA research study that proves the success of the workshops, which includes parent response data.

Primary Message #3: Parents enjoy the workshops and find them useful. How will you support the primary message? The brochure includes testimonials from parents who have attended a workshop.

Describe photos/graphics: The graphics are of parents and their child reading together and of the parent workshops. Third-party influentials and how they will be used: Parent testimonials are used to show the success of the workshops. They specify why the workshop helped them or why they found it important. Production deadline: This brochure will be given to the teachers of the programs that implement the workshops. The teachers will give the brochures to the parents along with a reminder sticker that is given to the child.

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Be the first Storyteller.


BROCHURE (English)

(Outside Cover)

(Inside)

Ready, Set, Read!

43


BROCHURE (Spanish)

(Outside Cover)

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Be the first Storyteller.


Padres aplican el técnicas dialogales de la lectura que han aprendido.

READ! Padres aprenden que el tiempo que pasan con sus niños mirando libros y discutiendolos es inestimable, sin importar sus habilidades de leer.

SET

- La confianza de padres y maestría de técnicas de leer a sus niños mejoraron.

- Más de 90% de padres comprende la conexión entre leyendo y éxito futuro de sus niños.

- Los padres salieron de los talleres con por lo menos una o más estrategias valiosas o creencias sobre leyendo a sus niños. -El 97% de 221 encuetas comentaron que aprendieron algo nuevo durante el taller para padres

Como un 2007 estudio de investigación de UCLA sobre Ready, Set, Read! ha demostrado, nuestro

Despues de un taller de Ready, Set, Read!

Prueba del exito:

La lectura dialogal se basa sobre tres técnicas principales, haciendo “qué” preguntas, haciendo preguntas abiertas, y expandiendo sobre lo que el niño dice.

El taller de Ready, Set, Read! es la culminación de años de investigación y experiencia. Enseñamos a padres son enseñados el método dialogic para leer a sus niños.

Nuestros Talleres.

READY Los padres se preparan para ser una pareja activa en el desarrollo de su niño.

“Me gustaria que mi madre supiera estas técnicas cuando estaba creciendo.” - Alice N.

“Ahora sé que puedo ‘leer’ los dibujos aunque no pueda leer en inglés.” - Jose F.

“Deseo que hubiera sabido de estos pistas mucho antes ” - Nancy P.

“Pienso que fue excelente y me di cuenta que importante es leer a nuestro niños. Y ahora dedico más tiempo con mi hijo.” - Paul J.

“Disfruté la junta de padres. Me mostró cómo leer a mi niño mejor. Ahora, hago preguntas y él también hace preguntas. El lo disfruta mucho mas ” - Maria M.

Nuestro testimoniales

BROCHURE (Spanish)

(Inside)

Ready, Set, Read!

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DIRECT MAIL PIECE Details: Key public: Potential pre-kindergarten program partners Secondary publics: School District officials Action desired from publics: Contact Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) to set up to host a workshop. How does this action tie to the key public’s self interest? The workshops benefit the key public’s clients. Overriding message/theme: Workshops benefit parents and their children and offers long-term.

Primary Message #1: Host a workshop. Parents need to the know the importance of reading to their child. Support forprimary message: Facts and testimonials of parents and teachers as well as data of how RSR methods are proved to work.

Describe photos/graphics: Photos will be of parents attending the workshop. There will also be a picture of a parent and child reading together. Third-party influentials and how they will be used: Quote testimonials by parents and teachers will be used to provide proof that workshops are beneficial to the literacy of children. Photos of the workshops will also show the key publics of what to expect when they host a workshop. Production deadline: December 2010 Production quantity: 1000 Means of distribution: Postal service

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DIRECT MAIL PIECE

(Outside Cover)

(Inside)

Ready, Set, Read!

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NEWSLETTER Details:

Key public: Pre-kindergarten teachers, principals, and site supervisors in Los Angeles Action desired from publics: Implement the Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) workshop at their school and recommend the workshop to colleagues How does this action tie to the key public’s self interest? RSR allows pre-kindergarten teachers to give their student’s parents another tool to create a foundation for early childhood literacy. Overriding message/theme: RSR is the premier literacy program to implement at your school, giving you access to the tools needed to create literacy in your students. Primary Message #1: Invite Ready, Set, Read! to implement its workshop at your school. Support for primary message: Article offering tips to raise money for the workshop during tough budget cuts, including easy steps to contact the programs to bring it to your school; Parent testimonials of how they found the workshop to be beneficial.

Primary Message #2: Volunteer to be a teacher supervisor at the “Story in a Park” event featuring children’s book author Eric Carle. Support for primary message: Article written about partnership with Eric Carle; Volunteer sign up request.

Primary Message #3: Encourage your colleagues to host RSR workshops at their schools. Support for primary message: Teacher Spotlight will show that RSR values and takes notices to stand out teachers who have helped the program.

Describe photos/graphics: The RSR newsletter will adhere to the same fonts and colors palete that are used throughout our communication tools to create a consistent brand image for the nonprofit.Vibrant photos from the workshops, of children reading with their parents, and the RSR logo will always be included. Third-party influentials and how they will be used: Testimonials from parents that have attended workshops, photos from events and workshops put on by RSR; author Eric Carle teaming up with RSR; Teacher Spotlight. Slogan or tagline if any: Encourage them to be the first storyteller. Production quantity: 100 Means of distribution: Direct mail to pre-kindergarten schools and programs in the Los Angeles area.

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NEWSLETTER Details Continued:

Articles to be included in every newsletter:

Teacher Spotlight- Highlighting stand-out teachers that have implemented the workshop with high attendance and recommended the workshop to other teachers.

Words from the Director- A brief overview from executive director, Merrily Weiss, about RSR’s plans for the upcoming months and the programs accomplishments.

Bring RSR to Your School- Information on how to coordinated and host a RSR workshop.

Tips for Teachers- A list of tips teachers can use to get more parents engaged and eager to attend the RSR workshop

Articles included in this edition:

Author Eric Carle teams up with RSR- Article highlighting the partnership with author of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” Eric Carle.

Volunteer to be an educational supervisor at “Story in the Park.”

Finding the Funds During Tough Budget Times- Tips for teachers that are having trouble gaining the funds to host a RSR workshop.

Parents Say “Thank You” to Host of RSR- testimonials from parents thanking specific teachers for inviting RSR to educate them about the importance of early childhood literacy.

Ready, Set, Read!

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NEWSLETTER

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NEWSLETTER

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Parents Say “Thank You” to Hosts of Ready, Set, Read! Workshops “I am so thankful to that my child’s school was able to be a part of the workshop.”

“I learned so much from the workshops! Thank you for hosting it.”

“It was the first new book my child has ever had! Thank you isn’t enough!”

“I wish my mother knew these techniques when I was growing up!”

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NEWSLETTER

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Be the first Storyteller.

Page 3


NEWSLETTER

Invite Ready, Set, Read! to Host a Workshop Today! Please call our office at 818-986-9867 for information on upcoming workshops. E-mail: merrilyweiss@readysetread.org Visit our website: readysetread.org

Encourage parents to be the first Storyteller .

PAID POSTAGE

Ready, Set, Read! 4235 Kester Ave Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Recipient Name Street Address City, State 00000

www.readysetread.org Ready, Set, Read!

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POSTER/FLIER Details:

Key public: Publishers Secondary publics: Pre-kindergarten programs and parents of underserved families Action desired from publics: Donate books, adopt the Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) program in schools, and spread awareness of the organization. How does this action tie to the key public’s self interest? Publishers want to donate books to gain publicity for their authors and for their business. Pre-kindergarten programs want to adopt the program into their schools because it will ultimately result in higher reading scores and happy parents. Parents are interested because they seek the very best for their child

Primary Message #1: “Calling all Publishers” flier - The goal is to persuade publishers to donate their books through the advocacy of a well-known author’s illustrations. Support for the primary message: It incorporated familiar characters from author Eric Carle, who is most well known for “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” These images will resonate with the publishers and authors, and ultimately convince them to donate their literature as well.

Primary Message #2: “Alphabet flier” - This flier is aimed at pre-kindergarten programs and teachers. Its goal is to place RSR as an essential precursor to all literary education and vocabulary building. Support for the primary message: It is outlined with the letters of the alphabet which add both color and educational value to the piece. The copy is simple and straightforward, and urges the schools to help create the first storytellers, which are parents.

Primary Message #3: “Story in the Park” poster - There are many feelings, actions, and successes that are gained through parent-child reading. Aside from vocabulary enhancement, reading creates a bond between family members. A story in the park is a fun atmosphere that will foster learning and provide entertainment for all parties. Support for primary message: It used actual words to build the outline of a tree and grass and a scribbled blue sky to replicate the art of a child. The poster caters to the wants of the parents and also reaches out to the child’s creativity.

Slogan or tagline if any: Be the first Storyteller. Production deadline: August 1, 2011 Production quantity: 100 posters Means of distribution: Window displays in publishing offices, schools, and classrooms. Specific media to receive information: Scholastic magazine, local periodicals, publisher and school newsletters, LA times and other local newspapers

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POSTER FOR PARENTS/TEACHERS

Ready, Set, Read! Be the First Storyteller

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Sept. 17, 2011

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Parent Workshops • Crafts • Storytime with Eric Carle • Dress-up

For more information, visit our website at www.readysetread.org

Ready, Set, Read!

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FLIER FOR PUBLISHERS

Calling All Publishers! Read, Set, Read! needs your help to supply books to underserved families. Our mision is to encourage child literacy through parent education workshops and interactive reading. Families and children rely on your assistance to provide the literature they need to grow. Help our parents become the first storytellers. Donate now! For more information, visit our website at www.readysetread.org

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FLIER FOR TEACHERS

Ready, Set, Read! is a nonprofit early children’s literacy organization that encourages interactive reading between the parent and child prior to kindergarten. Our parent workshops offer reading techniques and supply free books to underserved families. Adopt our program today and help parents become their child’s first storyteller! For more information, visit our website at www.readysetread.org

Ready, Set, Read!

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EXECUTIVE BIO Details:

Key public: Media reporters Secondary publics: Parents, school officials, teachers, publishers, authors Action desired from publics: Contact Merrily Weiss for further information on Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) as a source of news. How does this action tie to the key public’s self interest? Weiss will be positioned as the face of the organization and will be easier to have one person be the focus in order to not confuse reporters as to who to contact. Overriding message/theme: As a parent, Weiss understands how important a parent is to their child’s education and their primary role as a teacher in their child’s life.

Primary Message #1: Parent’s role as their child’s first teacher. Support for primary message: Testimonial from a parent conversation after a workshop.

Primary Message #2: How RSR has grown. Support for primary message: Explain how RSR began and where it is now.

Describe photos/graphics: The logo and a picture of Weiss. Third-party influentials and how they will be used: Quote from a educator as the motive for Weiss starting RSR.

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EXECUTIVE BIO

Merrily Weiss Executive Director Ready, Set, Read!

As a mother of two, Merrily Weiss understands the importance of a parent’s role as a first teacher. Reading aloud to her children is something she has always loved to do. “If no one read to you, chances are you will not read to your children. If you were not spoken to, chances are you do not converse with your children,” Weiss said. In 1999, Weiss read an article of a project in Philadelphia where parents were taught how to effectively use books to encourage vocabulary building and develop independent readers. It was not until later that year that Weiss brainstormed with a friend, who had a doctorate in education, that the idea for Ready, Set, Read! came to life. Their combination of unique backgrounds lead the start of the campaign for early childhood literacy through informational parent workshops. Weiss left her career in media production and development to dedicate herself full-time as founder, executive director, and parent educator for Ready, Set, Read! in Los Angeles. “When I began, my advisory board consisted of six friends,” said Weiss. “Now I am able to recruit working professionals who do not know me. They work with us because they share our belief that if you explain to parents how to read to their child and why it's so important, they will do it.” Through extensive research, Weiss created the hour-long workshop that teaches the dialogic method for reading. Parents are taught how to use the dialogic technique by asking open-ended questions while reading aloud with their children. The workshop’s message is to set high expectations for a child’s academic and reading success by setting a strong foundation at a young age. “I love what I do,” said Weiss. “I've given hundreds of presentations and it's never boring. The children have wanted to meet the lady who has given them a book. Who wouldn't love a job that included a benefit package like that?”

Weiss currently resides in Sherman Oaks with her husband. Her two children are in college.

Ready, Set, Read!

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PRESS KIT Details:

Key public: Members of the media (newspapers, trade publications, talk shows, radio, news broadcasts, etc.), especially those with young children Action desired from public: To cover “Story in the Park.” How does this action tie to the key public’s self interest? Our event will be visually stimulating with a lot of photo and video opportunities, which will help the members of the media tell their story and engage their audiences. Overriding message/theme: Help us share our story about storytelling.

Primary Message #1: Defines Ready, Set, Read! (RSR). Support for primary message: Explain what the organization does through supplemental information such as a link to a video of a workshop, fact sheet, and press release.

Primary Message #2: Explain “Story in a Park.” Support for primary message: Give details about who, what, where, when, and why and share exciting news that famous children’s author Eric Carle will be in attendance.

Primary Message #3: Come join us! Support for primary message: Prove that the event is relevant to the Los Angeles and nonprofit communities and offer photo opportunities.

Describe photos/graphics. All of the documents will be branded with the RSR logo. Third-party influentials and how they will be used: A mother from a past workshop is quoted as a testimonial in a DVD of a workshop.

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PRESS KIT

While we aim to reach as many members of the media as possible, we believe it will be effective to reach members that have young children when possible so as to make a personal connection with them. Many journalists have personal blogs or at least biographical websites, so we will research their personal lives and make the ones with children our priority. This will not limit our reach because we will still pitch to members of the media without young children, but we hope this tactic strengthens our connection with the media. Our press kit will arrive in a branded box and the documents will be on branded stationary in a branded presentation folder that fits into our color scheme. Contents: • In Presentation Folder: • Cover pitch letter • Press release about “Story in the Park” • Fact sheet about Ready, Set, Read! • List of statistics about literacy from UCLA research • Bio - Merrily Weiss, Founder and Executive Director • DVD with workshop footage, followed by testimonials from teachers and parents • A bookmark made by a child

Ready, Set, Read!

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DIRECT MAIL PIECE - Postcard

What do teachers and parents say? Teachers Say…

PAID POSTAGE

“The children loved to take home the books and enjoyed talking about them. They also liked to pretend to read them.” - Linda Paquette, Park Avenue Elementary “Your workshop reinforced everything I had shared with the parents about the importance of reading to their children. Parents and children enjoyed all of the books and were anxious to check out additional books! They followed our instructions and took care of all of the books.” - Olivia Baucom, 99th Street School

Parents Say…

“I wish I would have known these pointers a long time ago.” “I enjoyed the parent meeting. It showed me how to read to my child differently. Now, I ask him questions and he also asks questions. He enjoys it more.” “I wish my mother knew these techniques when I was growing up.”

Be the first Storyteller.

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BOOKMARK

This will be decorated by children while their parents are participating in the Ready, Set, Read! workshop.

Ready, Set, Read!

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appendix

author’s notes


mission statement Original Mission Statement: Ready, Set, Read! encourages parents in underserved communities to read to their pre-kindergarten children. We donate classroom lending libraries and teach parents how to share books with their children at home. By involving parents in their children’s literacy development, we pave the way for future reading and educational success. New Mission Statement: Ready, Set, Read! strives to help parents in underserved communities build an early foundation for their child’s literacy development. Analysis: Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) does not have a clearly stated mission statement. The paragraph above (under “original mission statement”) is their blurb to describe their organization. Though it partially serves as a mission statement, the blurb is phrased differently on their website and collateral. It is important that RSR has a clear and consistent mission statement that can be used on all RSR materials as to brand the organization. It must be shortened and to the point. Strategically crafting the new mission statement, we found words that described RSR’s goals and vision. Our new mission statement differentiates RSR from competing literacy organizations. Instead of merely encouraging, RSR helps parents by giving them the tools they need in the early stages of literacy development while encouraging parent-child involvement.

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preliminary publics 1. Los Angeles County low-income families with pre-kindergarten children 2. Current donors 3. Donors 4. Local early childhood development centers 5. Early development social programs and organizations 6. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) 7. Neighboring school districts 8. LAUSD teachers 9. LAUSD principals 10. Hispanic parent community 11. Head Start 12. Bookstores/Libraries 13. Government literacy programs 14. Board of Directors in schools 15.Young couples hoping to have children soon 16. Preschools in Los Angeles 17. Book Publishers 18.Volunteers 19. City of Los Angeles 20. Government officials with the power to approve budget raises 21. Public libraries

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original research The information we learned from conducting interviews, holding focus groups, distributing a survey, and attending the Ready, Set, Read! (RSR) workshop helped our team better understand what Merrily Weiss, executive director, needs from our team. We understand the purpose of the organization, the people it serves, the way it is run, and its competitors. We also understand how RSR communicates with our key publics and how it needs to improve that aspect so as to gain a larger niche in the industry. Weiss wants our assistance finding a way to communicate the benefits of RSR to decision makers such as school districts and principals. From there she needs us to determine tactics to increase parental attendance. While Weiss and the advisory board did not stress the importance of fundraising, it is something that we should keep in mind. RSR is too small to orchestrate a large fundraiser now, especially since it is not their main priority, but it could be beneficial to having extra assets in the future to help alleviate the cost of programming since schools have a difficult time paying. From the interviews we learned that the advisory board is slowly taking shape. It could be beneficial to strategize a way to expedite this process. Since RSR is such a small organization, it cannot afford to waste time getting the advisory board all on the same page. Cohesiveness among the board will help with the success of the program. The parents from the workshops gained a lot from the information Elaine Sol, lead parent educator, provided, but were also able to make some suggestions that have a potential impact if implemented. Attending the workshop was very beneficial because it provided first-hand knowledge of what we will be promoting. All of the information combined gave great insight into what we need to do for RSR and the best ways to go about it. With the research we gathered and brainstorming ahead of us, we are excited to help Weiss reach decision makers, increase parental attendance, and promote the cause of RSR.

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INTERVIEW: MERRILY WEISS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Interviewing Merrily Weiss set an excellent foundation for our team. Had we not met with her when we did, we would not have had the proper direction. She clearly explained the purpose of RSR and explained how it’s different from other reading programs: her organization seeks to set a foundation for parents to teach their children how to read. It is not necessarily about literacy directly, but rather, taking the first steps towards literacy, for example, by understanding the “geography” of a book. One fact that our group was surprised to learn was that RSR is essentially run by two people –Merrily Weiss and Elaine Sol. Sol has the credentials to lead the workshops, while Weiss runs the entire organization. She also has an advisory board consisting of 10 members, but they do not take part in the daily operations. This presents a challenge, as we must consider what we plan and the reality of it being implemented by so few people. After giving us some background about her organization, Weiss described what she needed from us. While we thought she wanted to promote the organization and fundraise, what she really wants is help contacting influential decision makers such as school districts, other reading programs, publishers, principals, and teachers. She also needs a plan to help teachers encourage parents to attend workshops. Only programs that get 80 percent parental attendance at workshops receive lending libraries. It was particularly helpful to learn about the different entities of literacy, education, programming, and school districts. Some programs, such as Head Start, require that parents attend events or meetings such as RSR workshops, whereas other organizations do not, which creates an issue of attendance. Weiss also informed us that schools pay only $200 for the workshop, and this fee is not mandatory, but rather a donation. Out of the 75-80 workshops only 60-65 are paid for. Weiss is not interested in fundraising. Weiss’ passion is obvious, which will be extremely helpful in implementing anything we create. She is very knowledgeable about everything pertaining to her cause –the economy, budget cuts, literacy rates, vocabulary, etc. She will continue to be a vital resource for our team in determining the direction of our campaign.

What she really wants is help contacting influential decision makers such as school districts, other reading programs, publishers, principals, and teachers. She also needs a plan to help teachers encourage parents to attend workshops.

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INTERVIEWS: ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS We interviewed four advisory board members. With various backgrounds from a retired teacher who used the RSR workshops to a marketing consultant, the board members helped us understand RSR’s current situation and goals for the future. Overall, the people we interviewed stressed the importance of funds and finding new schools to penetrate. However there were mixed opinions of how and when to reach these goals. Nonetheless, all four seemed very enthusiastic that we were creating a public relations campaign, as they saw a great need for awareness for their organization.  Madelyn Katz (Board Chair) – Director of Student Life, Hebrew Union College Speaking with the board chair of the advisory board gave us a good internal perspective on both the leadership and direction of the organization. Meeting Executive Director Merrily Weiss as a doctoral student at UCLA a few years ago, Katz became quickly and heavily involved with the organization. Katz worked on a heavy research project about RSR, which can be found on the RSR website. Katz’s extensive research background and involvement with the UCLA study carries to the organization’s principles and operations, showing that they are built on a solid foundation. The study indicated great areas of need and the biggest barriers for the organization. Katz said that the greatest challenges the organization faces are funding and getting the word out. She stressed that it was often difficult to know the right place and the right people to talk to when promoting the workshops. When we asked her how they typically receive funding, she said that a lot of donations come from personal connections. Weiss was great at selling the product on a one-on-one basis. A major benefit of interviewing the board chair of the advisory board was hearing how the leadership of the organization was taking shape. Since the entire organization is run by Weiss, the only other internal people are the advisory board and the workshop leaders. Katz said that the advisory board is starting to take shape, define tasks for individuals and group into subcommittees. Perhaps in our campaign plan we can use the growth and involvement of the board to create executions that need more man power and internal participation.   Nan Halperin (board member) – Marketing Consultant Nan Halperin’s interview was short. We could tell she was on the go. Although we cannot assume that she’s always busy, our conversation with her paralleled some of the issues that other board members mentioned: lack of involvement within the organization. She had the most unique take on RSR. She has a background in children’s media and now works with education online.  She hopes to see the organization as self-sustaining in the future. The biggest obstacle is the Los Angeles United School District’s budget calendar according to Halperin. The second obstacle is getting responses from teachers and fundraising. Their current way of obtaining money is through grants and applications.

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Candace Dardarian (board member) – Retired SRLDP teacher, LAUSD Candace Dardarian was a pre-kindergarten teacher who used the program and loved it so much that when she retired she wanted to become more involved with the organization. As someone who transitioned from being a client of the organization to being an advisory board member gives us a good perspective on the successes of the program. Dardarian said that Weiss sent out fliers to her school. The concept was intriguing so she called Weiss to set up a workshop. Weiss came out and the workshop was such a success that Dardarian participated in a second workshop with her program’s parents. After retirement she wanted to do something that would fit her interest in education so she called Weiss and said she wanted to be a workshop educator. At the time Weiss didn’t need more educators but said she’d keep in contact. Not long after, one of the educators became ill and Dardarian took her spot. Afterward, Weiss asked her to join the board. Dardarian is an example of someone who felt so motivated from her experience using the program as a teacher to take the initiative to join the organization, not as a client, but rather as an internal worker. Dardarian explained that a major internal hurdle of the organization is the lack of participation on the board. She said that people do the minimum, not too many people are stepping up and there were way too many followers. She wanted to see more vision on the leadership level. Secondly, she felt like another problem was that they didn’t have consistent funding. By the sound of her tone, we could tell she was a little reluctant on fundraising, herself, but she said it was an “obvious hole that needs to be filled.” As for a major external hurdle, she said the organization needed more access to schools and more parents who are appropriate for the programs. She said that the program can really sell itself since it has proven time and time again to be successful. She has seen the workshop being implemented and sees a positive response from the parents. The problem was just getting the word out to the schools that this workshop is beneficial to their parents.   Jennifer Forman (board member) – Literacy Consultant After a good 10-minute conversation with Jennifer Forman, we found some insights about the future vision of the organization. Forman got connected to RSR through Madelyn Katz, board chair, since they both went to UCLA. Forman said her doctoral was all about parent involvement in education and so it seemed like a natural fit to be a part of RSR. As a mom with two young children, Forman says she has more compassion for parents. She knows that she is not in the same socio-economic situation and doesn’t have a language barrier like many of the parents who use the workshops but she wants to see them receive more resources and help. Her role on the advisory board is more focused on the planning of the workshops. Forman believes that getting the word out about RSR should be the focus of our campaign and then funding should be our secondary focus. Fundraising would be great in the future but she worries that they don’t have the man power yet. She understands that fundraising needs a lot of people to run the event, the organization is still in its beginning stages and the amount of dependable people are slim. Using volunteers would be further down the road but she suggests getting people who are more reliable. To tap into this group she suggests college students who want to get exposed to nonprofit organizations. She says that further down the road they can also look into high school volunteer kids who need things to put on their resumes.  

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TWO FOCUS GROUPS: PARENTS Location: University of Southern California Participants: 35 English-speaking Hispanic parents Ages: 26-45 years Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif. Familiarity with children’s literacy: Somewhat; gained knowledge after workshop Interest Level:Ten people gave helpful suggestions and engaged in conversation We held a conversation with a group of parents immediately following a RSR workshop. The parents were enthusiastic, asked questions, and were sincerely invested in the success of their children. The workshop was held outside in a lawn area. Most of the children were watched by the neighboring preschool program while the parents attended the workshop, but there were several children that stayed next to their parents. After the workshop was over, we spoke to the parents and opened up a live discourse as to what they liked and what they did not like. We also asked how they found out about the workshop and how RSR could get more parents to come. After the discussion, we realized that the parents are more enthusiastic about the program than we had initially thought. They are willing to learn and are appreciative of free books. The problem lies in the acceptance of schools to pay for regular RSR workshops. If schools promote the workshops, then parents will come. Parents liked the idea of incorporating the child into the workshops and making them centered on the family and not just the parent. Additionally, they were fond of any type of crafts or hands-on activity that allows interaction between the parent and the child. The success and strength of our campaign will rely on our ability to infiltrate pre-kindergarten programs, and relay the importance of child literacy. If we can show video tapes, pictures, parent testimonials, and success stories of RSR’s workshops, then schools will be more likely to adopt the program. Our team must supply visual proof in order to make a change. After we held our focus group, we had the opportunity to speak to one of the Head Start workers at USC. He told us that their school program is geared towards low-income families of $30,000. When we asked him how often they support programs like RSR, he told us that it depends on the amount of children enrolled. The more students, the more money the government will supply to utilize literacy programs. Focus Group Questions: 1) How did you find out about the RSR workshop? “I heard about it through my child’s school teacher. She told us at least several times a week that there was a workshop coming up, and that we should attend.” 2) Which type of news medium would gain your interest? Flier, e-mail, etc.? “My kids bring home flyers and papers to sign all the time. Some of the stuff I end up tossing out because I don’t think it’s important. Prior to this workshop, I was constantly reminded by my children’s teachers. Personal announcements are a much better way of communication than printed material.”

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Focus Group Questions continued: 3) Prior to the workshop, were you aware of the importance of children’s literacy? “I really enjoyed it. I had no idea that reading broadens vocabulary so much. I couldn’t believe that children are supposed to know 1,500 words or more.” “I didn’t realize that reading is about the parent/child bond. I liked when we talked about holding the child in your lap and letting them hold the book. This gives the child power and makes them more likely to enjoy the book. “I’m going to start pointing to everything in my household from now on—clock, refrigerator, television, etc. I will ask my daughter questions and broaden her vocabulary while she doesn’t even know it!” 4) What did you like/dislike about the workshop, and what would you do to change it? Are there any specific tactics that you would like to see? “I liked the animation that Elaine Sowell used when she described to us how to read a children’s book. I never realized that there was a technique to such a basic level of reading. Usually I just focus on the words as my son listens and looks at the pictures. I have never engaged in conversation beyond what is written on the page. The examples that Elaine showed us were very helpful.” “I would have liked an inside setting better than an outside one. It got a little noisy with cars going by and kids running around.” “I saw that you have a puppet up there, but you never used it. I think more puppets would benefit the workshop. The puppet could turn the pages of the book. “Instead of chairs, it would be fun if we could bring blankets and sit on the ground. We could split the workshop up into two parts. The first half would be for adults only—the children can be distracting—and the second half would invite the children out. We could sit on the blankets as families, read to our kids, and practice the same techniques we had just learned. Then the facilitator could walk around and observe. “I would suggest more decorations—balloons, pictures, maybe some music. It would make the atmosphere more fun.” “I always teach my children to respect books. They draw on the pages and I tell them not to. But then I thought about it and realized that they like doing it, so why stop them? Any kind of craft or hands-on activity would be nice for the workshop to have. My kids love doing crafts, and creativity is an important part of literature.” 5) It is our goal to spread the importance of children’s literacy through the RSR name. How can we as public relations practitioners get more people to come? “How often does Ready Set Read come? I would like to do this workshop at least twice a month. If you offered it more regularly, then I’m sure more people would begin to show.” “We are Chinese and bilingual. I would like to learn what is appropriate when reading to my child. Do I teach in Chinese or do I teach in English? Ready Set Read should cater more towards bilingual and foreign citizens like myself.” “Continue dialogue with teachers and school boards. Like I said, I heard about this workshop though my child’s teacher. If the teachers can promote RSR, then parents will listen.” “Offer more free books! I am so excited to go home and read this one. Everyone loves free material; especially ones that benefit the child. I don’t have time to go out and buy books, and a lot of people can’t afford them.” Ready, Set, Read!

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Location: University of Southern California, Los Angeles Participants: 50 Spanish-speaking Hispanic parents Ages: 16-45 years Hometown: Los Angeles County Reason for attendance: RSR Workshop The focus group was performed right after the noted workshop took place. The following questions were asked out loud in Spanish and audience members were encouraged to answer. After observing the workshop and speaking with the parents, I found out that the free book after the workshop an extremely important element in the program. Parents were somewhat upset when they did not receive their choice of free book, “Dora, The Explorer,” because the focus group ran out and they received a different title. They mentioned their children loved Dora. When it comes to the free book, it is definitely something the parents would want to know right away. We found that influencers, such as a classroom teacher, created the most awareness for the RSR workshops. Direct communication with teachers about the workshop was a commonality with the group. All parents agreed that reminders from the teachers when they picked up their children helped them remember the workshop and made more effort to come. Focus Group Questions: 1) How did you hear about this workshop? “Child’s preschool classroom teacher, Head Start office, School’s front office.” 2) How was the information given to you? “Flyer at school,Verbal announcements from teacher.” 3) In your opinion, what is the most effective way to give out the information about an upcoming workshop? “Verbal announcements by the teacher because teachers would tell parents everyday when parents would pick up their kids at preschool. It was hard to forget when teachers were al ways reminding parents.” “Objects like a magnet to put on the refrigerator would be a great reminder of the organization and workshop.” “Providing a sign-up sheet in the school’s front office.” 4) What can we do to motivate more parents to attend the workshops? “Make sure the flyer/announcement notes that there is a free book.” “Some parents can afford to buy books, if they knew they get a book like from “Dora, the Explorer,” more parents would come.” “If teachers told them more to come.” Preliminary Campaign Ideas: The one parent who suggested the word magnet idea made a great point. If RSR would give out magnets to parents, this little object would always be seen and would continue to remind them not only about the workshop but of the organization. All parents agreed that the teachers were a huge help to remind them about the workshop. I think it would be beneficial is teachers had more resources to place in their classrooms to let parents know about RSR and upcoming workshops.

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FIELD TRIP: READY, SET, READ! WORKSHOP March 13, 2010

On Saturday, March 13, 2010, we attended a RSR workshop which was held through a partnership with USC’s Head Start preschool program. It was held outside on a lawn. This was a very distracting setting as loud cars and planes went by creating a lot of noise. The facilitator said that in many years this was the first workshop she’d ever done outside, which was reconfirming that this distracting isn’t the usual setting. There were many chairs set up, the expectation was for about 50 parents to attend each workshop. The first workshop was an English-speaking workshop and the attendance turned out to be around 15 families. For many families both parents came. The parents did not look particularly engaged in the workshop however talking with them after proved that they were indeed paying attention and took some good lessons away from the workshop. The second workshop was for Spanish-speaking families. For this workshop the seats were filled. I estimated about 25 families. I could not tell the difference between the two groups of parents. There were a few Asian-American families in the first English speaking group but besides that everyone appeared to be Hispanic. Each workshop lasted about 45 minutes which seemed to be perfect length. It was long enough for the facilitator to get across her key messages and give the parents some practice and interactive time, but not too long that it dragged on. Because this workshop was paired with the Head Start program, Head Start provided childcare for children during the actual workshop. I could see how helpful this would be in all settings because many parents brought their children and the children who did not go over to the playground area were very distracting during the workshop and prohibited the parents from giving their full attention to the workshop. The parents were most excited during the workshops when they received a free book. This is important for these low income families and might increase parent attendance if they were told in advance. We felt the workshop was successful because there was a good amount of parents who took away valuable lessons to help their children. Public relations were not used prior to the workshop to promote the event. The Head Start staff reminded their parents daily of the upcoming workshop for them to attend. If public relations are used in the future to promote the workshops to parents and also to work with school districts, pre-kindergarten programs, and other partnerships to have more workshops, than more parents can be affected with positive lessons for their families.

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SURVEYS: PRE-KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM DECISION MAKERS The RSR Workshop survey was administered with the goal of gaining insights from pre-kindergarten program decision makers who have worked with RSR to host workshops. It aimed to gather information on how these individuals were made aware of the RSR organization, what can be done to make the workshops more appealing and convenient to host, and to receive feedback about their overall experience with RSR. The survey was sent out via e-mail to 45 pre-kindergarten decision makers that have implemented the RSR Workshop. We received 21 total responses.

66.6% of participants responded that they were introduced to the workshop through a referral of some kind. This insight shows that we should continue to encourage teachers that have hosted the workshop to recommend it to their colleagues. Offering an incentive would be useful.

90% of participants used fliers to encourage parents to attend workshops, which leads us to see a large value in creating a powerful flier in our communication tools that could be given to teachers, instead of them having to make their own. This would also help brand RSR. One barrier that was mentioned four times throughout our survey comments was not having childcare during the workshops. While we cannot change this for every workshop, when creating our promotional event for RSR, it is something we can consider offering while parents learn more about the program. Some of the most beneficial insights gained from this survey were found in the “recommendations� section. Nearly all of the participants offered ideas to help build awareness about the RSR program. Some of the ideas included to creating a YouTube video of the workshop, having Merrily Weiss speak at school staff meetings, and connecting with Reading is Fundamental, which we have already discussed doing.

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Other responses: • Literacy coordinator • Parent representative • Director • Site supervisor (2)

Other Replies: • Referral from Reading is Fundamental (2) • Referral from Program Director (2)

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Other Replies: • All of the above! • Word of mouth during parent meetings • Free book • Mandatory part of preschool program (2) • Reminder letter with tear off saying they were coming • Posters, invitations

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• • • • • • • •

“Stress to teachers the importance of early literacy exposure plus teachers with 90% or more attendance will receive free books for the classroom.” “I haven't had any problems getting parents to attend. Even though it is required, parents enjoy coming to the presentation and getting a free book. Some of my parents have attended the workshop every year it is presented. Sorry I couldn't provide you with any practical suggestions.” “Personal phone calls usually work pretty well.” “More flier information.” “Some how make it kid friendly.” “More visuals and interactive presentation.” “Offer childcare.” “Provide information in Chinese and Vietnamese.”

Other Replies: • Childcare (2) • Weather (3) • Need for a bilingual presenter

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Other Replies: • Family Service Director • Parent Representative • Parent Board • Program Director (2)

Why or why not replies: • “I think it is an important program to offer parents of young children.” • “Great information... Parents need to be continually reminded about the importance of reading to their children.” • “The parents found the training to be very informative.” • “Great benefit to parents on how and why to read with their children.” • “It's another way to have parents hear the importance of reading to their children other than the teacher.” • “It is SO valuable for these parents to understand and not be intimidated to read and interact w/ their children. Many of these parents cannot read, and therefore are uncomfortable. They think only the teachers should work w/ their children that it is not their job.” • “Parent enjoyed the class.”

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• • • • • • • • • • • •

“Ready, Set, Read! should send flyers directly to early educational teachers in September informing them of the program and its benefits.” “Use of a power point presentation will keep parents focused and give a greater appearance of professionalism.” “I would continue to send fliers to let schools know about the program. If there is no response I think a follow up phone call to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten staff members would be helpful. I would also ask teachers who utilize the program to spread the word to their fellow educators at other schools.” “By connecting with the RIF program Ready, Set, Read! will have a wide range of schools to pick from.” “Fax fliers to schools.” “Send a newsletter to all the pre-Kindergarten teachers at the LAUSD sites. I found out about Ready, Set, Read! from another SRLDP teacher at a training class.” “Invite other teachers to attend a hosting school to observe RSR.” “Mail advertisements and quick visit to schools (staff meetings) at the beginning of the year.” “Put an advertisement in the UTLA newspaper and on school websites. Ask each local district to send out a fax to put in teacher boxes notifying them of the program.” “Host a workshop so that the program can be exposed to a lot of professionals at one time.” “Maybe a YouTube video?” “Advertise and make affordable workshops. Originally the workshop was free for schools. Parents got free books and it was a win-win. Now the program must charge, understandably, but funding may present a problem. It is so worth it. Every parent needs to hear it.”

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Ready, Set, Read! Newsletter. Summer 2009. Reimagining learning. (2009). Retrieved from http://dmlcompetition.net/pligg/story.php?title=872 Rolling Readers. (2010) Retrieved from http://www.rollingreaders.org/ Ricard, Martin. “San Leandro Library Promotes Family Reading.” Oakland Tribune 27 June 2007, Print. Schon, I. Center for the study of books in Spanish. (2009). Retrieved from http://www2.csusm.edu/csb/ Shonkoff, Jack & Meisels, Samuel (2000). Handbook of early childhood intervention (2nd ed.). New York, NY, US: Cambridge University Press. Snow, Catherine. (2004) What counts as literacy in early childhood? Handbook of early child development. Oxford: Blackwell. The Maine Family Literacy Initiative. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.barbarabushfoundation.com/site/c.jhLSK2PALmF/b.4425707/k.6AE9/The_Maine_Family_Literacy_Initiative.htm U.S. Department of Education. Reading Rockets. (1999). Retrieved from http://www.readingrockets.org/articles/116 Voltolina,Vanessa. “Help your kids learn their letters before kindergarten.” CBS 8 - San Diego n. pag. Web. 12 Feb 2010. <http://www.cbs8.com/Global/story.asp?S=11599675>. Wadsworth, Reba. (2001). The importance of reading aloud for all children. Literacy Connections. Retrieved from http:// www.literacyconnections.com/ImportanceOfReadingAloud.php. Walters, Dan. “California Lowest in Adult Literacy.” Sacremento Bee 09 Jan 2009, Print. Welborn, Larry. “He wants children to turn the page”. Orange County Register. 10 Dec. 2006. < http://www.ocregister. com/articles/books-188397-geller-book.html>. Weiss, Merrily. Personal Interview conducted March 6, 2010. “You can read a lot into this event.” Orange County Register. 1 Oct. 2008. Web. <http://www.ocregister.com/articles/ reading-114937-record-children.html>.

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