Give thanks...with books for children!
November 2019
To Get Smart and Kind Kids...Read to Them!

Yep! And it's true even if children already know how to read to themselves. To get smart and kind kids, reading to them is the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading. Reading aloud to children helps grow their brains, literally! And it creates empathy by allowing children to live vicariously through book characters. Read more in this blog by Kelly Holmes from the site Happy You, Happy Family.

Reading to children has another critical benefit. According to the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, kids who are read one short book per day enter kindergarten hearing 290,000 more words than kids whose parents didn’t read to them. If you increase the number of books to five per day, that vocabulary disparity swells to 1.4 million words. Now that's a WOW! Read more about that study here. (Image:
Book Distributions Kick Off at Annual Liaison Workshop

Okay, what IS a RIF of NOVA book distribution anyway? A distribution takes place when books funded by RIF of NOVA are "distributed" to children in the 36 schools and sites we serve. Such distributions take place on different dates throughout the year and are organized by liaisons at each location. Liaisons are teachers, reading specialists, librarians, school administrators, PTA representatives, and sometimes parents. They all volunteer their time for this extra responsibility!

To get started each academic year, RIF of NOVA hosts a "Liaison Workshop" where liaisons come together to learn and to share ideas about how to create a successful distribution that will engage children in selecting their RIF book to take home to read and own forever! Board member Justina Johnson, shown in a Book It For Books T-shirt, organized this year's workshop, where the theme was "anniversaries" and how to incorporate them into a book distribution. Among the anniversary ideas: the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and of Eric Carle's iconic work, The Hungry Caterpillar , along with 100th anniversaries of the NFL and of women's suffrage.

Other speakers shared some of their ideas for books distributions, too. Groveton Elementary School librarian Rocco DeBonis shared his gather-'round-the-campfire distribution story. He and his team decorated his Fairfax County school library as a forested oasis, complete with a student-designed campfire, camp chairs, and beach towels for reading comfort. The children had a ball relaxing by the fire and reading their new RIF of NOVA books.
Reading by the campfire with friends...and no mosquitoes! What a blast!
One of the best parts, Rocco DeBonis said, was creating an environment where adults and children could pair up to chill and read together.
Books that Look Like Me!
Ramunda Young, co-owner of D.C.'s Mahogany Books, spoke at the workshop about how empowering it is for children when they can choose books with characters and themes that reflect them and their lives, interests, and aspirations.

A RIF of NOVA advisory board member, Ramunda offered some additional food for thought:

🛑 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade are poised to end up in jail or on welfare. -- Annie E. Casey Foundation

🛑 It is important for youth to have access to stories with which they can identify. NPR reported that people of color accounted for 22 percent of the characters in children's books in 2016.

🛑 In 1998, literacy researcher Jeff McQuillan shared: “An analysis of a national data set of nearly 100,000 U.S. schoolchildren found that access to printed materials—and not poverty—is the critical variable affecting reading acquisition.”
Ramunda Young noted some of her favorite books that reflect African American faces and themes, including the first of a YA fantasy trilogy -- Children of Blood and Bone -- and Chocolate Me! for readers aged 4 to 8.
Patrick Henry Elementary Glows Crazy!

At Patrick Henry Elementary School in Alexandria, it was time to "Glow Crazy Reading" the sign on the library door indicated. Librarian (and RIF of NOVA liaison and board member) Kelsey Frey held a RIF of NOVA book distribution that was all aglow! In the darkened library, children in grades two through five could pick out their new book, decorate a book ID label, write notes to each other in disappearing ink, guess the number of "glowworms" in a jar, and read by the glow of a flashlight.

First graders had a different activity. They could decorate an underwear cut-out in homage to the first-grade fave book: Creepy Pair of Underwear!
Reading by flashlight made everything so much fun! The kids couldn't wait to read in a secret spot.
Writing a "secret" note to a friend with a blue light marker was a blast!
Liaison Kelsey Frey showed the first grade project...decorating a creepy pair of underwear. The first graders loved it! (Tee-hee!)
Out of Space at ACCA!

At the ACCA Child Development Center in Annandale, the fall book distribution focused on the moon and beyond! The book of the day was Moon’s First Friends, One Giant Leap for Friendship by author Suzanne Leonard Hall.

According to ACCA curriculum coordinator Wendy Calix, "We did two different groups sessions, one for younger preschoolers (ages 2 to 3) and another for older preschoolers (ages 4 to 5). Classrooms did artwork based on the Out of Space topic. Halloween was also a central theme, and children were encouraged to come in costume. "After the RIF distribution," said Wendy, "we did a small Halloween parade where we danced and gave out stickers."
Picking a RIF of NOVA book is so much fun...but it requires some serious thought and reflection!
This little angel called in some reinforcements to decide which book would be just right for her!
Friends Sponsor "Book It" Collection in Memory of
Nellie Brooks Quander
Board member Nadine James led a Book It For Books 5K sponsorship collection in honor and memory of one of our region’s most esteemed educators: Nellie Brooks Quander. During her decades-long tenure with both the Alexandria and Fairfax County Public Schools, Nellie Quander served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and as an assistant to the Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent as an area coordinator. Ms. Quander was the first African American woman president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and was later appointed to the Virginia State Board of Community College Governors. She was also a board member of RIF of NOVA.

Ms. Quander worked tirelessly throughout her career to ensure that all students with whom she came into contact were exposed to excellent and limitless educational opportunities. Nellie Brooks Quander passed away in July 2019. Thank you to Nadine and to those who contributed to a Book It sponsorship honoring this very special educator.
Cool Fairfax County Library News
Earlier this year, the Fairfax County Public Library system added all-in-one read-along books to its collection, the first library in Virginia to do so. Part audio, part print, the 1,000-item collection features 64 different titles, including 22 nonfiction and five in Spanish. The compilation includes popular titles like Goodnight Moon, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, Fancy Nancy/Nancy La Elegante, and Si Llevas un Ratón a la Escuela/If You Take a Mouse to School.

Read-along books promote early literacy and school readiness before children can actually read and write. To find the collection, search for "Vox Books" in the library catalogue. Learn more here.
Thank you again to all Book It for Books 5K/One-Mile Run sponsors, donors, runners, walkers, and volunteers! The October 12th Book It day was perfect for a run or walk to raise funds for books for NOVA kids! Please see a few photos of the day on our website: Sponsor and donor names are listed on our website, too. We hope you will frequent some of the businesses that sponsored or donated! Thank you all again!

And....if you intended to donate and forgot or would like to give additional funding, our Book It For Books campaign is open until the end of the calendar year! Every $2.00 you give = one book for a child, and we always welcome your support. Small donations add up to real books for the NOVA children we serve.

Here are several ways to donate:

1) Send a check to Book It For Books Treasurer, Sheryl Leeds, 2408 Gretter Place, Alexandria, VA 22311.

2) Send a check to our mailbox: P.O. Box 7012, Arlington, VA 22207-0012.

3) Give at any time via PayPal on the RIF of NOVA website

4) Give at your workplace via the Combined Federal Campaign. This season, the CFC open solicitation period started on September 9, 2019 and runs through January 12, 2020. The Reading is Fundamental of Northern Virginia CFC number is: # 18818 .
5) 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 the holidays coming, the 0.5% can add up!
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