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A Family Engagement Newsletter

September 2021


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#THISBOOKISCOOL! premiered on June 1, 2020, and since then, thousands of children from across the Suncoast region have qualified to receive free books, thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation.

In Laurie Miller's recent THIS BOOK IS COOL! The Sequel blog, she shares, "Unlike most sequels, which, let's face it, are often truly terrible and completely unnecessary, this second release (only the second year of this program, what?!) of THIS BOOK IS COOL! was even better than the original. That's right! I said it. Better than the original!"

The rest of the team couldn't agree more!

During Summer 2021, to avoid the summer slide, SCGLR engaged our four-county region and partnered with 80 summer camp providers and summer learning academies to encourage a love for reading.

Why? Because nationwide, children from asset-limited families can lose an average of 2 to 2.5 months of reading skills each summer!

  • In 2021, 7,811 children participated
  • Of 7,811 kids, 7,323 read six or more books!

How many books did 7,811 kids actually read? Drumroll please...

  • 184,738 Books!

While it's important that the data from iReady scores show an upward trend, it's worthwhile to note the valuable impact of connections made, of relationships built, and of memories created during the reading challenge can influence a ♥ of learning.

Click here to read a heartwarming story of impact shared by an anonymous parent. 


Would you like to be more present with your family and community? Join a Power of Presence book circle.

Explore the seven presences that we can use to positively influence the children in our lives - Mind, Heart, Faith, Courage, Financial Freedom, Values, and Connectedness – in Joy Thomas Moore’s book, The Power of Presence.

During guided conversations, we’ll share experiences and insights, help each other learn how to be more present, and discover new ways to strengthen our connections and deepen our experiences with loved ones. 

Are you ready to have fun and discover a-ha moments together? 

Thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation, The Power of Presence book circles are completely free to join.


By Karen Windon


In May, THIS BOOK IS COOL! In School was piloted at Samoset Elementary School in Manatee County. With books focusing on themes such as inclusion, diversity, and social-emotional learning, the teachers were enthusiastic about participating. Comments such as "I love your lesson plans" and "I am beyond excited to teach with these books" were inspiring to hear. The reaction from the children paralleled those of the teachers. According to one of the second-grade teachers, "The books were a HUGE hit, and the kids were delighted to use them in class then take them home." 


Each lesson plan provides a quick overview of the lesson, learning intentions and success criteria, the key standard(s) for the lesson, vocabulary, assessment options, important questions for the lesson(s), and extension activities for each book. 


These extension activities range from creating a puppet for retelling the story to researching the book topic to interviewing family members and friends, all with a goal of better understanding connections between the book and the child's own life. 


As a gift from The Patterson Foundation, each participating child will receive books to add to their home libraries. If THIS BOOK IS COOL! In School interests you, please email connect@gradelevelreadingsuncoast.net. 


Data shows that chronic absence – missing more than 10% of the work covered in class – puts children in academic danger and is likely to have dramatically increased, potentially doubling in size from 1 of 6 to 1 of 3 students.

Black, Latino, and Native American students, students living in poverty, students with disabilities, and English language learners have been especially affected. We know that there’s no such thing as perfect, especially when it comes to attendance.

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After all, children do get sick or may need to miss school for a number of reasons, including the need to quarantine. To hit the mark of excellence this year, making every day a learning day.

Click HERE for more interesting tidbits!

Radical Inclusion:

Evolving the Way We Connect

by Hannah Saeger Karnei, Inaugural TPF Fellow 


Editor's Note: SCGLR recently reactivated its Spanish newsletter and social media channels, including, @LeerPara3roSuncoast on Facebook and @LeerPara3ro on Twitter.


Beth Duda likes to use the phrase "radical inclusion." What this means is that SCGLR doesn't just look around and think, "Well, that's enough people." We seek to connect with EVERYONE, wherever they are in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 21% of households in Florida speak Spanish. If we only communicate in English, SCGLR is potentially missing out on 20% of the community. 


We are fortunate to have stellar bilingual community engagement consultants already working with SCGLR who are brimming with great ideas for engaging with Spanish-speaking families. From Spanish book circlesbilingual family engagement nights, and newsletters (including COVID Response) offered in English and Spanish, we are learning more every day about being radically inclusive in communications and engagement. 


In retrospect, perhaps the campaign should've known we needed consistent, robust outreach in Spanish. However, if the best day to start was yesterday, the second-best day is today. Our teams are working hard to make sure that we're utilizing the best channels, content, and engagement strategies to be radically inclusive.  


Questions about Spanish engagement? Please contact Connie Cuadrado at ccuadradotpf@gmail.com

We welcome your thoughts. Contact us at info@GradeLevelReadingSuncoast.net