RORRI
Vol. 8, Issue 3
August 2018
In This Issue
Farewell to RORRI Executive Director Susanna Beckwith

As many of you know, longtime  Reach Out and Read RI Executive Director
Susanna Beckwith said goodbye to us this past June. 
 
Susanna sometimes referred to RORRI as "the little engine that could" of RI non-profits. It certainly was that at the  beginning of her tenure in 2010 , when Reach Out and Read RI had a part-time staff member and was active in only 38 medical practices.  Through visionary leadership, and a collaborative approach to her work, Susanna created a substantial organization with statewide reach. We now have six staff members, and the Reach Out and Read early literacy model is being practiced at 73 locations, with 333 medical providers giving books and literacy guidance to 57% of Rhode Island children under the age of six!  
 
Susanna's lasting legacies include the partnerships she fostered with corporations, foundations and state agencies, as well as the assembly of an active Board of Directors. Her innovative ideas led to the creation of a site sponsorship program, successful community events and even pilot projects to further the data on early childhood literacy. Under her leadership, the organization became a respected voice in early literacy efforts across Rhode Island.  
 
As Susanna transitions to a new career in Boston, we celebrate the impact she has had on the literacy of the next generation of Rhode Islanders, through her tireless advocacy. We will miss her passion for the work, her sharp wit and her easy laugh.   Thank you, Susanna, for leaving RORRI in a position to attain its dream of giving every RI child the literacy-rich early childhood they deserve!

We look forward to welcoming Autumn Payne as our new Executive Director when she starts in September. 
RORRI is in Every RI Community Health Center that Serves Children!

Welcome to the Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP)  network of four sites in Warwick, Cranstonand Coventry, whose providers see more than 750 children annually!  We are excited to take on our first-ever practice in Coventry RI, as we aim to serve families in all the different communities in our little state. CCAP providers at these four sites will now be giving their patients and families guidance about high quality early literacy experiences, as well as brand new books. They will be helping to ensure that gaps in reading readiness and language development don't become academic achievement gaps. Thank you, CCAP, for joining RORRI!
RORRI's Newest Initiative- Learning to 
Ler, Li, Nyeem, and Leer*

We are excited to announce that English Language Learners (ELL) at 10 RORRI sites will be receiving bilingual books in their "home" languages  -- Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Hmong, and Spanish. Almost 1,500 children at six Providence Community Health Centers, St. Joseph's Health Center, Hasbro Children's Hospital Primary Care Clinic, Park Pediatrics, and Pediatric Associates will receive bilingual books to read with their families. Each book will also contain a bookmark with reading tips for parents, in the home language.
 
Bilingual books cost significantly more than English language books, so we are grateful to The Rhode Island Foundation for funding this new initiative to encourage families to read aloud daily. Without the necessary language skills, ELL students experience significant learning challenges, as evidenced by only 12% of ELL third graders meeting expectations on the PARCC English Language Arts Assessment in 2017. Thank you, Rhode Island Foundation for supporting RORRI's efforts to meet the needs of the youngest English Language Learners!
 
* "Read" in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Hmong languages
Thank you to Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island for yet another year of "Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds" funding. This year, BCBSRI provided a total of 2226 books about healthy eating, reading and activity to 13 community health centers around RI. From Eric Carle's My Very First Book of Food, to How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?, Que Sabroso Arco Iris (Eating the Rainbow), En El Mercado (At the Farmer's Market), Baby Moves and I am Superkid!, these and many other titles encourage healthy habits during the critical period of development from birth to age five!
Book Nook with Valerie Remillard

Happy Summer!  My name is Valerie Remillard and I am excited to be joining the RORRI team as Program Coordinator .  While my professional and educational background is in the performing arts, I have taught and directed after school theater programs for over 15 years, and I come from a large family of educators.  The combination of my experience as an after-school program provider and my values as a parent are what drew me to the RORRI mission!
 
I have two children of my own, Connor 11 and Annika 9, both of whom had reading and  language challenges in their first few years of school.  Reading with my kids was important to me, b ut it was sometimes agonizing and exhausting, and not the joyous maternal bonding time I had idealized in my head.  I'm grateful to be a ble to report that, eventually, my struggles paid off.  My kids now willingly read before bed , they regularly read more than their school's 20 minutes per day minimum requirement, and they both have developed preferences for book series that they follow loyally.  

My favorite memory of this time is when my daughter decoded and read an advanced vocabulary word in her book and I shrieked "GOOD GIRL!" She put her hands over her ears and said, "Uh, Mom? Can you be excited a little softer?" Ask anyone who knows me and they will agree that it is a challenge for me to be "excited a little softer." It must be all those years of vocal training.  But...duly noted!
 
I hope that my professional background, my eclectic interests, and my enthusiasm for reading will have a positive impact on the sites I am responsible for as Program Coordinator for RORRI.  Happy Reading, everyone, and enjoy the last few precious weeks of summer.