New Year! New Start for Early Reading!
January 2021
It's a NEW YEAR...a GREAT Time to Start Early Reading!
Reading to your babies and toddlers has multiple benefits -- neurological, educational, psychological, social, and linguistic -- and is key to a successful academic future. Learn more in this article.

“Reading to babies and young children is so important,” says Cleveland Clinic pediatrician Sarah Klein, MD. “It provides the building blocks for language. And it gives them the tools for forming lifelong social and emotional skills.” Find more about that here. (photo: Cleveland Clinic)
So let's celebrate our young "readers" with a new feature...


Pictures help tell the love-of-reading story! Do you have a photo of a baby or toddler "reading" ... or at least trying?! If so, send in your favorite photo(s) to our email: We will publish them in the newsletter and on our website (with absolutely no names). All we need from you is approval to use the photo in our media.

Look at our first BOOK BABY!!! The best advice for her? Don't read and drive!
Meanwhile...the "book couriers" of NOVA RIF have been busy! What keeps us from our appointed rounds?

(Okay...we haven't delivered books in snow and gloom of night -- at least not yet -- but you get the idea!!!)
...NOT COLD! At John Adams ES... Alexandria, it was pretty cold out there as RIF of NOVA liaison and librarian Emily Godfrey set up a beautiful table where students could choose a book for holiday time reading. Clifford even showed up to share in the fun! That Clifford gets around! ;)

Librarian Godfrey (shown in the black mask with her son) challenged her students to curl up with their new RIF of NOVA book over the holidays and send her photos of cozy reading times. How fun! How clever! How...cozy!!!
...NOT RAIN! At Carlin Springs Elementary... Arlington, cars lined up for coats, art supplies...and BOOKS! When the rains came, the team quickly turned an in-person distribution into a by-car event and bested the rain to make sure that over 600 books were included in the day's giveaways!
Rain? No prob! The icky weather did not stop NOVA RIF book deliveries or families coming to get them!
Community School Coordinator Carol Sabatino (left) and Holly Nisco, librarian and RIF of NOVA liaison, donned Santa hats for their "special rain deliveries"!!!
...NOT EVEN A PANDEMIC! At Marumsco Hills ES... Prince William County, librarian and RIF of NOVA liaison Julie Platt set up a book distribution with this theme: Books are our Friends! As she told her students, "We can take them places, and they can take us places! We can also share them!"

The Marumsco Hills distribution was funded by a RIF/RIF of NOVA grant. Since children there are either on a hybrid schedule or learning virtually from home, the book distribution will go on through next month. These photos show some of the hybrid learners, choosing books with required masks and social distancing,
Can you...would us do our work? Here is one way...and it has a deadline: January 15, 2021. It's the Combined Federal Campaign!

Are you or someone you know a federal employee or retiree? If so, you can give to RIF of NOVA through the CFC. Some federal contractors are eligible, too!

First, set up your own CFC account (needed to protect privacy). Click here for the FAQs. Then, when you click on the Find a Charity link, type in our name: Reading is Fundamental of Northern Virginia or our CFC number #18818. Add us to your list...and voila! A small (or large!) contribution each month turns into books for deserving Northern Virginia children! Thank you!!!
Another way to help is to contribute books.

During the pandemic, we are accepting GENTLY used books (as like-new as possible!). One of our book contributors is Morgan Starnes, a senior at Flint Hill School in Oakton. She donated books to NOVA RIF that she had enjoyed as a young adult. Morgan is a writer, graphic designer, and filmmaker, so she has always loved stories. Growing up with books and movies has shaped who she is today. As she explains, “I'm so excited to send these books into new, loving arms!"

If you have or want to collect books, contact us at We will arrange to pick them up. So far, we have collected over 3,000 books, and they will all find new homes in the RIF of NOVA community!
In fact, hundreds of donated books have already found new homes!

Santa's helpers took many boxes of donated books to Cora Kelly and Carlin Springs elementary schools in Arlington. The helpers also filled Free Little Libraries with holiday books near several RIF of NOVA schools, including Bel Air ES in Woodbridge (PWC), Kenmore MS and Barcroft and Randolph elementary schools in Arlington, and Bailey's (lower) ES in Fairfax County. Just look at the fun!
A full list of book donors can be found on our website at:
What else is new? Take a look at our website!
Meet local author Sheila Adams Gardner and learn about her two new books, Made of Love and Two Houses One Family. The author is a family law attorney and coparenting coach. Her books were Inspired by her parents' coparenting journey. Meet Sheila Gardner and find out more about her books here.
Read a book review of Kid in the Kitchen by food writer and author Melissa Clark. Reviewer and Fairfax County librarian Marie Cavanagh says that despite the title, the cookbook is not quite for kids. Read the review here.
Julie McKinney
RIF of NOVA is delighted to announce three new board members! Julie McKinney, Barbara Foelber (above), and Maureen McLaughlin. Meet them here!
Maureen McLaughlin
Need reading ideas? Try our local public libraries!
The Washington Wizards, in partnership with the Alexandria Public Library, are hosting a Winter Reading Challenge dedicated to early readers, kids, and teens. Readers can earn prizes (such as a Wizards jersey or a Jr. Wizards Camp voucher) by completing activity challenges. Registration is open to all youth in the DMV, and the program runs through March 31. Learn more here.
"Books Like Us: Celebrate Diversity through Reading" is the Arlington Public Library's winter program. Open to all ages, the program's premise is: "Reading books by authors that reflect the wide variety of people and experiences in our community broadens our understanding of each other's lived experience." Readers can earn badges based on several different categories. Participation is open through March 31. Learn more here.
Thank you again to the more than 150 people who donated financially during our fall 2020 appeal: Votes for Women -- Votes for Books. A complete list of financial donors can be found on our website at this link. Thank you, too, to the many who sent in stories about the inspirational women in your lives! Find that here.

If you missed the campaign and would still like to give, we are always grateful for support from you, our RIF of NOVA community.
*Contribute online by Paypal or credit card at:

Donate links can be found on every page of our website, too.
*Send a check to our mailbox:
P. O. Box 7012
Arlington, VA 22207-0012
Other options to help:

*Register with Type in Reading is Fundamental of Northern Virginia, Inc. to select us as the charity you want to support. Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to RIF of NOVA. With all our current online ordering, the 0.5% can really add up!
*Set up a fundraiser for a birthday or anniversary on Facebook and solicit donations for RIF of NOVA. Ask us how by sending an email here!

*If your workplace holds a United Way campaign, designate RIF of NOVA as your chosen philanthropy. Our United Way # is 8959.

Thank you for any donation -- no matter how big or small! And thank you for being part of the RIF of NOVA community!
Please share the RAP! Forward our newsletter to your friends and anyone interested in providing books to children who need them! 
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