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Reading Rockets in Action

At Reading Rockets, our mission is to provide the best resources on how to prepare and teach children to read. What’s inspiring is when schools, libraries, community organizations, and other groups use our resources to make real change and student improvement happen. That’s Reading Rockets in action!

We hope these inspire your own efforts to improve reading outcomes for children. Share how you have used Reading Rockets and we’ll add your program or idea to this page!

Hold an outreach event

New Jersey Library Hosts Parent-Teacher Workshops

The Maplewood Public Library in New Jersey hosted a series of Saturday morning parent-teacher workshops. The library showed segments from Reading Rockets’ Launching Young Readers television programs to educate the community about the five components of effective reading instruction. An additional workshop was organized especially for preschool parents and focused on early literacy.

Your library can do the same! Download Reading Rockets @ Your Library — a free toolkit for librarians — for materials and ideas.

Virginia School System Holds Public Forum

The Arlington County Public School system in Virginia collaborated with the Arlington County Department of Public Libraries to host several community forums. After participants viewed the video “The Roots of Reading” from Reading Rockets’ Launching Young Readers television series, a reading specialist led discussions on how children acquire reading skills.

You can do the same! Download our free family guide to get started.

Dallas Public Television Station KERA Uses Documentary to Launch Discussion

Working closely with Fort Worth Independent School District, Dallas public television station KERA hosted a community reading forum at Walton Elementary, one of the schools featured in the Reading Rockets documentary, A Tale of Two Schools. The forum included a keynote speaker who discussed the importance of literacy and shared information on local community resources. Students, teachers, and family members featured in the documentary were also invited to the forum, which turned out to be a celebration of achievement.

Distribute materials

Grand View Health ‘Books for Babies’ Program Distributes Reading Tips for New Parents

Grand View Health, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) community hospital serving residents of Bucks and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania, is launching a Books for Babies program. Every baby born at Grand View Hospital will go home with a gift bag containing a new book, a bookmark, an application for a library card, and the Reading Rockets handout entitled, Tips for Parents of Babies.

With this gift — and a few words from the Pediatrician caring for the baby — Grand View Health recognizes the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics to “use a robust spectrum of options to support and promote early literacy development for children beginning in infancy.”

Williamsburg Library Creates Reading Rockets Literacy Bags

The Williamsburg, VA, Regional Library has created Reading Rockets literacy bags for each of the five Reading Rockets Launching Young Readers television programs. Each bag contains one Reading Rockets video, a related literacy-building activity, and a children’s book from the existing collection. Information promoting library resources and activities are included in each bag. These bags are now part of the library’s circulating collection.

Find out how your library can use Reading Rockets resources in creative ways. Download Reading Rockets @ Your Library — a free toolkit for librarians — for materials and ideas.

Wyoming Service Club Creates Pamphlets for National Children’s Book Week

Using articles from the Reading Rockets web site, the Twenty-First Century Club of Newcastle, Wyoming, created two pamphlets, “Reading Time Is Fun Time,” and “Grandchildren, Reading, and Books.” These pamphlets were distributed to parents and families of young library users during National Children’s Book Week. It was done so in conjunction with a special promotion giving a free book to the first 31 children in grades 2-5 who signed up for a library card for the first time.

You can do the same! See Topics A-Z to find resources that meet your community’s needs.

Offer professional development

Lee County School District Uses Reading Rockets as an Online Training Opportunity

Teachers in Lee County, Florida are able to take an online teacher training course developed by the school district utilizing the Launching Young Readers television series. Through a five-module online training, teachers will view the first five episodes of Launching Young Readers, read the suggested research articles, implement their learning through learning activities, participate in a discussion board, and demonstrate their knowledge through 10-question quizzes. By having the opportunity to explore the stages of reading that every child goes through and then implement their learning — all while sharing the experience with their colleagues — teachers in Lee County are enhancing their knowledge of how to launch their young readers!

Reading Rockets Science Meets Medical Science

Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children in Falls Church, Virginia, makes sure that underinsured or uninsured children in Fairfax County grow up with a love of books and a love of reading. The hospital’s pediatric clinic makes books part of a healthy childhood through Reach Out and Read (opens in a new window), a national program that promotes early literacy by making books a routine part of pediatric primary care.

Each year when a new class of residents enters the Residency Program at Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children, Joan Wabschall, RN, and Patricia Susemihl, MD, present a training session in conjunction with the Reach Out and Read program on how to promote literacy development during well-child exams. Because the Residency Program is a three year program, students find themselves repeating the literacy session each year. To hold the interest of these doctors in training from year to year, Joan keeps a sharply-trained eye out for the best new research and materials to share. For her most recent training session, Joan used Reading and the Brain, the eighth episode of WETA’s award-winning series Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers, which explores how brain scientists are working to solve the puzzle of why some children struggle to read and others don’t.

The pediatricians were fascinated and thoroughly impressed by the program and its look at new research which shows how a child’s brain may be wired for reading from birth. Joan highly recommends using Reading and the Brain with medical professionals, as the “ground-breaking research studies shared made it especially of interest to the doctors” and made it possible to help them stay current with not just medical research, but early literacy research.

Tennessee Professor Assigns Reading Rockets Materials to Students

Dr. Beverly Hearn, a professor of educational studies at the University of Tennessee at Martin, assigns her elementary teacher candidates articles on the Reading Rockets web site to review. She also uses the Launching Young Readers DVDs in her classes to model effective teaching strategies.

You can do the same! Download our free teacher’s guide to get started.

Maryland School System Uses Reading Rockets in Their “Best Practices” In-Service Training

The school psychologists of Howard County, Maryland, used Reading Rockets materials in their “Best Practices” in-service training for first-year teachers. Called “Support for the Below Grade Level Reader,” the training tied information from Reading Rockets about risk factors with their own assessment checklists for emergent to Early 2 readers. Teachers learned what and when to be concerned about a student’s difficulty in acquiring specific reading skills and what interventions to put in place to avoid referrals to special education.

Your district can do the same! For materials and ideas, download the free toolkit for school psychologists created in cooperation with the National Association of School Psychologists.

Do you know of an organization that uses resources from Reading Rockets to help improve reading awareness and achievement? If so, please let us know.