Racquets for Reading!!! -- Year Three (2022/2023)
Want to be a great adult?
Play tennis! Read books! Eat healthy! Have FUN!!!
Be a QuickStart kid!
“The most important thing for literacy development is access to books. If we spent money on giving children books to take home instead of on testing them, their achievement would go up.” Paul Thomas, Professor of Education, Furman University
Racquets for Reading!!!
We keep score!!! Since we started Racquets for Reading!!! in November 2020, we have reached 9,400 kids with books and FUN giveaways. We are most grateful for our grantors (see logos below) and supporters who have made this possible. We have started Year Three and hope to reach 8,000 kids during the school year. WOW!!!
Preschoolers and/or kindergartners in the following schools systems have received grants for books and FUN giveaways: Albemarle, Amelia, Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Culpeper, Cumberland, Danville, Dinwiddie, Fluvanna, Franklin, Greene, Greensville, Halifax, Henry, Louisa, Lunenburg, Madison, Martinsville, Mecklenburg, Nelson, Nottoway, Orange, Patrick, Prince Edward, Rappahannock (27 of 31 school systems, so far, and some of them for three school years.)
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
We have also helped start chapters of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL) in Buckingham, Culpeper, Cumberland, Greene, Lunenburg, Madison, Nottoway, Prince Edward and Rappahannock counties and assisted in the expansion of the existing chapter in Charlottesville to add Albemarle County. Fluvanna, Greensville, Orange and Patrick counties are in the process of adding DPIL. As Dolly Parton says, "You can never get enough books into the hands of enough children."
Creating a "Reading Pathway"
Our vision is to create a "reading pathway" for kids from birth through kindergarten by combining Racquets for Reading!!! with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL). What Dolly Parton has done with the creation of the Imagination Library is unparalled. Starting 27 years ago, she saw the need to get books into the hands of kids early in life. Each registered child receives a thoughtfully curated book mailed to their home each month from age 0 to 5. Local chapters of DPIL organize, administer and market the program and fund the $25.20 annual cost per child. We've helped start 12 affiliates so far and we worked to get the State of Virginia to fund 50% of the cost. Now local affiliates only need to raise $12.60 per child per year. Our goal is to improve school readiness scores at the beginning of kindergarten and have EVERY kindergartner reading at grade level by the end of the school year. That's a BIG goal! We can get it done with your help and support.
Here's how Racquets for Reading!!! will work in Year Three . . .
- We first target all preschoolers in our 31-school system service area who participate in free Virginia Preschool Initiative programs in public schools. In our service area, there are almost 4,000 preschoolers who are either disadvantaged, at-risk of academic failure for a variety of reasons, or both and need to be prepared for the critical kindergarten year. We prioritze schools in under-resourced, rural areas.
- We then target another 4,000 kindergartners in schools systems where third grade reading scores are below 70% (15 school systems in our service area) and poverty rates are significant.
- As funding permits, we next we focus on kindergartners in individual schools with lower reading scores and higher poverty rates in school systems with reading scores above 70%.
- We contact the school systems and let them know we are looking for funding for their students.
- Once funding is received, we send a a check payable to "Scholastic Book Club" and the teacher selects and orders books to suit the classroom demographics. We then order mini reading rubber duckies and banana-scented bookmarks and send an assortment of Go Bananas for QuickStart! cards to the schools.
- All we ask in return -- photos of the kids with the books and giveaways, a list of books purchased and thank-you notes sent to the donors who make this possible.
Our partners include: school administrators and teachers, local libraries, local civic clubs, local, regional and national private foundations, charitable trusts, community foundations, landowners with significant local property interests (quarries, solar farms, timber companies, etc.), literacy-based organizations, departments of social services, donors who wish to remain anonymous and individuals who support early childhood literacy.
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!