From the desk of Katee Duffy, Director of Programs

A wish for all during these unprecedented times: may you be safe, may you be healthy, and may you delight in shared reading with your child. 

The noun crisis derives from the Latinized form of the ancient Greek word krisis, meaning a separating or sifting.  It is typically associated with a critical point, a crucial juncture with two possible divergent outcomes.  This moment often creates an opening for new perspectives and alternative actions.  At RAR-MA, we have chosen to see the current public health crisis as an opportunity.  We have been asking ourselves: How can we best serve our primary constituents- our youngest learners?  How can we share our resources?  How can we support our communities?  How can we be part of the solution? 

Here I would like to share some of our ideas and responses.

RAR-MA is a repository of early literacy expertise, which resides within collective personal and professional experiences, a curated library of age appropriate, culturally relevant books, and a wide variety of supplemental dialogic reading resources.  We seek to extend these assets to a broad community inclusive of children and families and all their invested stakeholders who support family engagement in shared home reading practices. These offerings will occur in a virtual environment and will unfold in waves.

Wave 1: Please explore this link to our literacy calendar.  Every day in April includes a fun idea to embrace early literacy skills and embed language opportunities in everyday activities. We will be sharing a calendar for May and June, as well. Have fun! 

Wave 2:  The creation of a diverse programming calendar inclusive of a variety of activities such as literacy videos, story guides, extension activities, tips sheets, literacy kits, community events, and collaborative conversations.

Wave 3: The development of storytime videos showcasing reading as a fun way to engage children while building receptive and expressive language skills, increasing vocabulary word exposure, and promoting early literacy competence.

Wave 4: Invitation only family engagement workshops.  The RAR-MA evidence based family engagement curriculum will be hosted online for RAR-MA partners and their enrolled families.  Dialogic reading strategies are presented, demonstrated, and practiced in the context of supporting healthy brain development and positive future outcomes. 

We look forward to sharing, partnering, and collaborating with you.  We welcome your input and ideas – and the possibility of cohosting, cross marketing, and joint planning of events. It is a privilege to be part of a community that values young children and their families and we strive to keep them close and protected during these vulnerable times.