Racquets for Reading!!!
Want to be a great adult?
Play tennis! Read books! Eat healthy! Have FUN!!!
Be a QuickStart kid!
We've expanded Racquets for Reading!!! from our home base in Albemarle County to additional counties in our Service Area where school readiness and reading scores could use a boost. Take a look at third grade reading scores in Virginia and you'll see why Racquets for Reading!!! is good thing for early learners. We are very serious about wanting that map to look very different when today's preschoolers and kindergartners finish third grade.
UPDATE (7/7/2021): We keep score!!! There are 2,530 happy kids (so far) who have received books and FUN giveaways to keep at home and who hopefully will learn to love reading, healthy eating and tennis.
Scholastic Book Club Grants
In addition to the BrightSTARS preschoolers in Albemarle County (see below), who have received Scholastic Book Club books and FUN giveaways (rubber duckies, banana-scented bookmarks, mini beachballs), preschool and/or kindergarten kids in Appomattox, Buckingham, Brunswick, Culpeper, Cumberland, Greene, Greensville, Madison, Nelson, Patrick and Prince Edward counties and the City of Martinsville have received books from literacy grants for Scholastic Book Club books too. They have also received an assortment of Go Bananas! cards and other FUN giveaways.
We have partial funding for the 130 preschoolers in Louisa. We're a little better than halfway to our goal! We have just received and committed funding for 70 preschoolers in Amelia County and have funding for another 55 kids TBD.
We have applied for funding for 280+ preschoolers in 12 schools in Franklin County, 252 kindergartners in three Title I schools in Culpeper County, 120 kindergartners in Amelia County, 110 kids in Brunswick County and 130 kindergartners in Greensville County. WHEW!!!
In partnership with the Southside Area Tennis Association, we have provided books and giveaways for 570 kids in eight public schools in the City of Danville thanks to a grant from the Danville Regional Foundation.
We are partnering with the Cumberland County Public Library to promote and find funding for Read Ourselves GREEN in Cumberland County which will provide books for kids from birth through kindergarten. Read Ourselves GREEN is a combination of Racquets for Reading!!! and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL).
We are also partnering with the Nelson County Memorial Library and other organizations in Nelson County to launch Read Ourselves GREEN in Nelson County.
Central Virginia Regional Library (CVRL) in Prince Edward County is our partner in establishing Dolly's Imagination Library for the 1,000+ kids under age five who reside there. We are also partnering with the CVRL branch in Buckingham County to start DPIL for the 755 kids there.
We partnered with the Heights Family Foundation to launch a DPIL chapter for Madison and Culpeper counties. We helped enroll 297 kids in only fours days! Now it's up to 528 kids.
And the Rotary Club of Charlottesville has just expanded its DPIL chapter to include all zip codes in Albemarle County.
Here's what we're doing in Albemarle County . . .
Even though COVID-19 derailed our initial plans for the 2020/2021 school year, we can still help young kids through these tough times. We can't teach them tennis in person right now, but we can still promote healthy eating, early childhood literacy and school readiness. Tennis players STEP UP for their community to help out in any way they can. That's why we created Racquets for Reading!!! for preschoolers and kindergartners in Albemarle County Public Schools.
** 222 preschoolers who participate in the free Pre-K programs for disadvantaged and at-risk four-year-olds in Albemarle County received copies of Little Joe Chickapig books that were generously donated by the author, Brian Calhoun. They will also receive pajamas and books from the Pajama Program. As funding permits, QCV will give these kids six Scholastic Book Club books over six months. QCV will also give them mini rubber ducks reading books and banana-scented bookmarks. Geisha Goodman, Preschool Teacher at Stone-Robinson Elementary and QCV Board member, will select the Scholastic books to be purchased, develop lesson plans for the books and coordinate distribution of books to kids in 13 classrooms in seven schools.
October -- Book: Little Acorn Go Bananas! giveaways: Poster card, Bananas and Apples cards, mini rubber reading ducks
November -- Book: The Kissing Hand Go Bananas! giveaways: Carrots, Whole-grain Pasta and Warm Up/Cool Down cards, mini beach balls
December -- Book: Last Stop on Market Street Go Bananas! giveaways: Milk, Whole Grains, and Sleep cards and banana-scented bookmarks
January -- Soho Center provided "surprise" giveaways from Priddy Books, "wipe clean" activity books for writing and drawing
This spring, preschoolers received 10 books from Soho Center's Read Every Day! Pre-K project thanks to funding from the United Way of Greater Charlottesville.
In addition to books, QVC will provide the Pre-K kids with Go Bananas for QuickStart! stickers, water bottles, bracelets, posters and nutrition cards, as well as mini beach balls (to work on hand-eye coordination and reaction time), sunglasses and anything else we can find that will be FUN and help them develop a love of reading and tennis.
** This fall, kindergartners at the six Title I (disadvantaged percentages of 41% to 71%) elementary schools in Albemarle County received 10 books from the Soho Center as part of Soho's continuing Read Every Day! (RED!) project. In January 2021, 80 kindergartners at Greer Elementary will receive three board books form Soho to read with their younger siblings, cousins, neighbors and friends as part of a RED! for Littles pilot.
Soho Center books Go Bananas! mini ducks and bookmarks
The UVA Women's Tennis Team has volunteered to help out. They will be making videos of the players reading the books we give to the kids and will visit the kids at school when the schools reopen. Coach Sara O'Leary is a big fan of kid-sized tennis and so are her players.
Here's why we're doing what we're doing . . .
QCV's Racquets for Reading!!! initiative will help mitigate the detrimental effects of COVID-19 on learning for young kids, using tennis as a FUN platform and featuring accomplished tennis players as role models. We will address physical inactivity, childhood obesity and early childhood literacy issues. These problem affect young kids, especially disadvantaged and at-risk preschoolers and kindergartners. We can help young kids develop a love of tennis, reading and healthy eating early in life.
Research indicates children who don’t read at grade level by the end of kindergarten probably will not read at grade level at the end of third grade. Kids who don’t read at grade level by the end of the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school entirely. Trying to develop reading skills in virtual preschool and kindergarten during a pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge for teachers, parents and kids.
QCV has handed out "WHY do tennis players like to read?" Go Bananas! cards and promoted reading since 2014, but we saw the need to do more and reach kids whose success in life can ultimately depend on how literate they are before they start first grade. Last school year (before COVID-19) we made pilot literacy grants to three preschool classrooms. The kids loved the books and the teachers loved the idea of the kids having books to take home and read with family members. In disadvantaged areas, the average of books in the home is one age-appropriate book for every 300 kids. We had already planned to expand the preschool grants this school year and add a pilot kindergarten version at one school. Then came COVID-19.
On the bright side, we can still get Go Bananas! materials and books into kids' hands, and thanks to the innovative Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) assessment tool developed by the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, we have a ready made way to measure progress as kids receive and read their books. We like to keep score. Physical activity. Nutritional literacy. Reading skills. Game. Set. Match. It's a win-win-win for the kids, RFR supporters and us.
Racquets for Reading!!! is being supported by . . .
If you would like to contribute to Racquets for Reading!!!, please email us at: email@example.com.
The more books, the merrier these kids will get to be!