We are giving great THANKS for our friends and partners at Barnes & Noble Biltmore Town Square. For the second year in a row, Barnes & Noble Biltmore Town Square is hosting a holiday book drive for Read to Succeed culminating in a Family Reading Book Fair on Saturday, Dec. 18th.
What: Holiday Book Drive
When: Nov 1 - Dec 18, 2021
Where: Barnes & Noble Biltmore Town Square
(33 Town Square Blvd #100, Asheville, NC 28803)
Everyone who shops at Barnes & Noble Biltmore Town Square between now and the 18th will have the opportunity to purchase a brand new book to be donated to R2S. Please help spread the word and pay them a visit for some awesome holiday shopping!
The books we receive from this drive are used throughout the year at events like our summer reading carnivals, family reading nights with local schools and community partners, and to create end-of-year book bundles for local families.
Spread the word about the book drive on your own social media platforms including Facebook & Twitter (Instagram below).
As the holiday season approaches we are reminded of all the things we are grateful for and all the ways we keep our community strong. In Asheville, there are so many opportunities both at home and in person to support our neighbors and friends.
Check out these awesome opportunities happening throughout this month and beyond. And don't forget, Sat. Nov 20, 2021 is National Family Volunteer Day!
United Way of Buncombe County has a plethora of options for each and every kind of volunteer project, check out their giving event calendar here.
Some highlights include:
Project Linus: At Home Blanket Making
If you love being cozy in the winter time, you know the feeling of snuggling up in a warm blanket. The WNC chapter of Project Linus provides cozy blankets, handmade by volunteers to comfort children through various channels of distribution this winter.
We Give a Share: Food Prep and Packaging Support at Southside Kitchen
We Give a Share is a local nonprofit connecting farmers with community members on a mission to provide nutrient dense food. Volunteer shifts are comprised of everything from prepping veggies, following recipes, and packing up prepared meals for distribution.
UWABC: Baked Goods and Thank You Notes for BCS Staff
We want to thank Buncombe County School staff for everything they do for students. Volunteers prepare bundles of 25 thank you cards and 50 single serve portions of a baked good (cookies, cupcakes, slices of cake) and drop them off the the UWABC offices to be distributed to schools.
Build a Kit for Students:
If you want to play a part in brightening a day but would rather volunteer from home, consider building a kit for a student. These kits are made up of different items depending on the time and capacity you have to make them. Respond to the opportunity below for more information.
Bounty & Soul: Produce Sorting and Box Prep
Bounty & Soul are providing fresh produce from local markets in their food boxes for weekly drive thru distribution. This opportunity is every Thursday from 4-6 and is open to the whole family!
Bounty & Soul: Gardening/Gleaning - Dr. John Wilson Garden
If you have a green thumb or want to learn more about the world of gardening, the Dr. John Wilson community garden needs your support! Check out this opportunity to get your hands dirty every Wednesday.
Four Seasons: Sewing Cloth Face Masks:
Clinicians and health care workers continue to shepherd us through this pandemic and deserve all the extra care and support we can muster. Four Seasons provides fabric, templates, elastic, and patterns to sew face masks at home as a token of appreciation for their hard- working staff.
Riverlink Crew Workday:
Riverlink is in the process of clearing the way for the new Karen Cragdolin Park. Two Saturdays each month a crew of volunteers participates in clearing invasive species, planting new life, and removing debris. All equipment is provided to volunteers, grab your water bottle and you’re ready to go!
Conserving Carolina Workdays:
Conserving Carolina hosts a wide range of volunteer events including trail clearing and non-native species removal (plus super fun ways to involve ecology lessons into your outdoor adventures with guided trail walks). Check out everything they’re doing to keep WNC beautiful.
Shop the Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive:
Nov 1 - Dec 5, 2021, shop at Barnes & Noble Biltmore Town Square and purchase books to donate to Read to Succeed. All books will be shared with families in our community, given out at family reading events, used in our early childhood and K-3 literacy programming, and more!
Thank you to Panashe Real Estate in Asheville, our R2S Sponsor of the Month! Panashe's dedication to the Asheville community inspired this month's blog article on giving back.
Transitions can be challenging, exciting, overwhelming, you name it! This hand-selected list of children's books featuring Black protagonists deal with the themes of moving or trying new things. Whether students are actually moving homes or trying something new, they will be able to relate to the feelings of nervousness and vulnerability that might arise when they step out of their comfort zones.
Check out our top lists of children's books about moving, and leave a comment with any selections you would add!
“Moving Day!” by Jess Stockham
We are moving to a new place and we need everyone to help! Who is going to help pack? Who decides what to keep and what to give away? Helping with real tasks is the next step in a child’s development after pretend play. Achieving tasks together gives a child confidence and sets them up for future lifelong skills.
“Paper Planes” by Jim Helmore
Mia and Ben do everything together–swing, sail, and sing, but their greatest wish is to make a paper plane that will fly all the way across a nearby lake. One day they find out that Ben and his family are moving away. How can they remain best friends while they are apart and bring their dream of making a plane that can fly across the lake to life? This story deals with the feelings around friendship, connection, and loss. Great for social-emotional learning and for children who are experiencing difficult feelings of separation. Watch this read-along with Ms. Amber here!
“Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away” by Meg Medina
Daniela and Evelyn Del Rey are best friends. They live across the street from each other in twin apartments and are inseparable every single day. This is until today, the day Evelyn Del Rey moves away. The girls play together among the moving boxes until it’s time to say goodbye and make promises to keep in touch. Meg Medina writes a beautifully tender story about friendship and change, and Sonia Sanchez draws a colorful depiction of the girl’s urban neighborhood. Check out this read-along with MVC Murrell Library!
“The Leaving Morning” by Angela Johnson
Sometimes leaving gets drawn out when you’ve already said goodbye to everyone you know, only to finally leave a few days later. When the big day finally arrives, it can be hard. This book captures the mix of excitement and longing that leaving can bring. Watch this read-along with George Plamantouras.
“Home is a Window” by Stephanie Ledyard
A home feels comfortable and safe. It can be many things: a place, a rug, even a hug. Sometimes the place of a home must be left behind, but in this book, the family discovers they can bring what they loved about their old home into their new home because they still have each other. Check out Kids Books read-along!
“Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!” by Cori Doerrfeld
Change is hard. In this book, we explore how when one experience ends, it opens up the door for another. We follow two friends as they transition from building snowmen to stomping puddles, and transition from long walks and the sun to fireflies and the stars. But the hardest transition comes when one of them has to move away. Sometimes new beginnings take time, but we learn that the hardest days do end and that we never know what good tomorrow might bring. Watch this KT Tales read-aloud.
“Tani’s New Home: A Refugee Finds Hope and Kindness in America” by Tanitoluwa Adewumi
Tani was only six years old when his family moved to New York City, fleeing persecution in Nigeria. Tani found America amazing, and a bit overwhelming. One thing, in particular, stood out to him-chess! He loved chess and he would practice playing it for hours on the floor of the homeless shelter he lived in. Less than a year later, Tani won the New York State Chess Championship, and through one act of kindness after another, he found a new home.
“The Magical Yet” by Angela DiTerlizzi
When we are born, we are all accompanied by the Yet. Can’t tie your shoes? Not Yet. Can’t put on your coat? Not Yet. This book is a perfect tool to help turn negatives into positives and to cope with inevitable difficult learning moments, all with rhymes and beautiful illustrations. Too bad you haven’t read it...Yet! Check out this read-along with Storytime and Art with The Two Teachers.
“Ruby Finds a Worry” by Tom Percival
An imaginative young girl filled with curiosity discovers a worry, and as the worry grows bigger and BIGGER each day, it becomes all she can think about. She meets a young boy and becomes friends, learning important lessons along the way - like that everyone has worries. Will she learn how to share her feelings and get rid of her worry? Watch this read-aloud by Toadstools and Fairy Dust!
“I Am So Brave!” by Stephen Krensky
With charming specifics like big dogs and the deep end, this book celebrates overcoming our fears and trying new things. Watch this read-along with It's Reading Time.
Thanks to Goosman Rose Colvard & Cramer, P.A., (GRCC) real estate attorneys in Western North Carolina for sponsoring this blog post. GRCC is Read to Succeed's October Sponsor of the Month!
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Vocabulary Jar - Fun Family Literacy Idea
15 Fun Ways to Weave Reading Into Family Time
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35 Things Kids Can Read That Aren't Books
We are thrilled to have Olivia Fingold on the team for the 2021-2022 school year! Olivia joins us from Duke University’s North Carolina LiteracyCorps program, a statewide consortium of AmeriCorps members working to build the capacity and impact of community and campus-based literacy programs.
Get to know Olivia in our quick Q&A with her below:
What is your favorite children’s book?
My favorite children's book is "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. I have very early memories of this book and its vivid imagery and also love that it has maintained its icon status to this day.
Where is your favorite place to read?
I love to read outside when the sun is shining and the weather is clear. On days like this I feel like I can be transported anywhere between the pages of a book.
What’s the last thing you read, book or otherwise?
The last book I read was "The Overstory" by Richard Powers, a narrative story told by five individuals that all revolve around trees and their significance in life.
If you could have one author, dead or alive, over for dinner, who would it be?
I would love to have Anissa Gray over for dinner; she wrote "The Caring and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls," a book that has had a massive impact on me over the past year.
Who inspired your love of reading?
My fifth grade teacher Mrs. Pahl inspired my love of reading by providing read aloud time every day for our class. During the read aloud, one student was chosen to be a note taker and write down words or phrases that stood out from the text for the class to discuss afterwards. I cherished this time and looked forward to it every day.
What’s your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
My favorite book-to-movie series is Harry Potter. My older sister used to read one chapter out loud to me every night before we went to bed and I remember the thrill of waiting in line for a copy with her and packing into a movie theater to watch it the moment the movies were released.
When is the last time you read to someone else?
I went to the lake with a friend and their mom and brought a book along about a month ago. I hadn't started reading it yet and started discussing it with both of them when I offered to read it aloud. I only read a couple chapters but was instantly reminded of the power of sharing stories and coming together over a text.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would it be titled?
My autobiography would be titled “Carpet Tales”, and would contain an anthology of old journal entries from second grade up until now. Most are short, hysterical to look back on, and almost all written while sitting on the ground.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I love reading character-driven fiction with strong narration. These kinds of books give me the same feeling I get while watching a great movie where I feel fully immersed in the characters' lives.
What is one of your favorite things to do in Asheville/favorite aspect of Asheville?
I love that Asheville sits in the Blue Ridge Mountains where there is endless beauty and opportunity to be outside.
Here at R2S, we are celebrating our students in Asheville City and Buncombe County returning to school and have come up with a few tips and tricks for a fun and successful school year!
1. Stay up to date on how to keep your student safe.
Both Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools websites provide important resources and updates to keep up with frequently changing information. Strong Schools NC created a public health toolkit for K-12 students with everything you need to know for this upcoming school year related to local COVID-19 protocols.
2. Celebrate that reading can happen anywhere.
Encourage your student to bring a book along whenever you leave the house. Reading is a fantastic way to fill time between errands, during a wait, or when they are tired of running around at the park. This helps your student use all the information they’ve been getting at school while simultaneously giving you an easy structured activity.
*Pro tip: Don't have a book handy? Try one of these free reading apps for kids on your smartphone or tablet.
3. Celebrate autumn with seasonal reads for kids.
With a slew of new books arriving this fall, there are so many options for our learners to choose from. Brightly suggests these newly released reads for the fall season, and if you want to read an autumn classic with your student, check out these recommendations from We Are Teachers.
4. Create a reading nook.
One of the most special parts about learning to read is feeling comfy, cozy, and relaxed in the space where you do it. When we make space for students to create their own world of reading, we allow them to embrace reading as a fun and magical time! A comfortable chair or cozy corner is all you need to create the perfect space for a reading nook. Our go-to items include a good source of light, a warm blanket, a pillow, and books!
5. Hold space for communication about returning to school and all the feelings that come along with it.
We know this past year has been exceptionally challenging for our students and want to make sure that they feel heard and have their feelings validated about being back in space that might be completely new to them. This is a good time to revisit books that are comforting and familiar or to explore a book that talks about what it's like to be back in school again.
10 STEM-Inspired Books With Black Characters
10 Ideas for Summer Reading Fun
8 Great Free Reading Apps for Kids
Vocabulary Jar - Fun Family Literacy Idea
15 Fun Ways to Weave Reading Into Family Time
Read Aloud Tips for Young Readers (And Their Parents)
35 Things Kids Can Read That Arenâ€™t Books
Read to Succeed Asheville/Buncombe (R2S) is thrilled to welcome Ile Adaramola and Jaimee Stanley as the newest members of their leadership team.
Ile Adaramola, a prominent local Black lawyer and business owner of Adaramola Law Firm in Asheville, NC, was elected as Read to Succeed’s Board President on Thursday, July 29, 2021, for a three-year term. Adaramola has been a longtime supporter of R2S and was initially recruited by R2S founder Isaac Coleman in 2015 to join the board. She additionally serves on the board of the Asheville City Schools Foundation.
“The maternal side of my ancestry established a powerful precedent of civil rights activism,” said Adaramola. “My great-grandfather paid poll taxes for Black Americans in his community to ensure their participation in voting. My grandmother organized a protest on her city’s mayor’s lawn during the 1950-1960 civil rights movement. It is a profound honor to be able to lead this organization and continue to develop partnerships within our community with leaders who seek to remove the barriers of equity in education.”
Jaimee Stanley joins R2S as a Co-Executive Director by way of Asheville City Schools (Claxton Elementary) after earning her Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Florida Gulf Coast University and teaching first, second, and third grades. “I come from a long line of Black women educators; they taught me that reading was a gift and an opportunity to imagine a better future,” said Stanley. “I am excited to be the new Co-Executive Director at Read to Succeed, and I cannot wait to work with community partners to provide more literacy resources and support for children who have historically been pushed to the margins.”
Jess McLean transitioned from Interim Executive Director into the partnering role as Co-Executive Director with Stanley after a synergistic and collaborative summer working together putting on Summer Reading Carnivals for 250 families at the Edington Center and in the Hillcrest, Deaverview, and Woodridge Apartment Communities. McLean shares, “Jaimee has had an immediate impact on our organization, bringing her deep teaching expertise and her sparkling positive energy to everything she touches. We are excited to work together with a passionate visionary like Ile to support Black families with reading and move literacy forward in
Read more about this exciting news in our press release here.
R2S Fundraiser | Summer 2021
Support community-powered literacy programming in Buncombe County. Help Read to Succeed Raise $30,000 by August 31, 2021.
We are quickly approaching our $30,000 goal! Thank you to everyone who has already donated and helped us spread the word.
For thirty years, literacy rates among young children in the U.S. have remained largely unchanged. While science shows us 95% of all children can learn to read (no matter their race, socio-economic background, or location), we still see 34% of fourth-graders in our country reading below a basic level.
In Asheville, fewer than 25% of Black 3rd-8th graders read at grade-level - this statistic reflects one of the worst opportunity gaps between Black and white students in the entire U.S.
At Read to Succeed, we know improving literacy rates and closing the opportunity gap comes down to high-quality instruction and community and family-powered literacy programming. That's why we:
Our goal is to raise $30,000 by August 31st to meet our financial expenses not covered by grants. Help us reach this goal!
Learning to read means being able to learn, apply for jobs, vote, volunteer, read prescriptions, explore the world, and so much more! When you invest in literacy, you help unlock potential and open the door to opportunity for young children.
To donate today visit r2sasheville.org/bright-future (online form or Paypal available), or send a check to Read to Succeed, P.O. Box 18652, Asheville, NC 28814.
Here are some other ways to give:
Help Spread the Word
It's easy to spread the word about Read to Succeed and encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to invest in literacy in our community.
1) Use this letter template and send via email - click here.
2) Post on social media - here are a few existing posts you can click and share:
3) Contact us if you are a business who would like to partner with R2S to move literacy forward in Asheville and Buncombe County - email email@example.com.
Check out these STEM-inspired children's books featuring Black characters to encourage your reader to dream big this summer! These are also great reads for nurturing a passion for learning before the first day of school in the fall.
"Cookie & Milk: A Scientifically Stunt-tastic Sisterhood" by Michele McAvoy, illustrated by Jessica Gibson
Cookie and Milk are opposites: Cookie enjoys math and science subjects while Milk would rather play sports. Yet, the two best friends are able to bring the best out of each other despite their differences. Through their relationship, McAvoy touches upon the themes of diversity, STEM, and friendship. Watch this read-along from McAvoy!
"Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons" by Dr. Arlyne Simon, illustrated by Diana Necsulescu
Learn about scientific processes, research, and inventions with Abby as she tries to invent the world's first unbreakable crayons. This is a great story that encourages readers to become problem-solvers. Read-along with Dr. Simon here.
"Indigo Blume and the Garden City" by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by JahSun
Nine-year-old Indigo joins a "Go Green" contest in hopes of building a rooftop garden. Although her friends doubt her idea, she manages to grow a garden and help clean up the community. Indigo's story centers around environmentalism and community building, both great themes to discuss with young readers! Watch this Indigo Blume read-along.
"Mae Among the Stars" by Roda Ahmed, illustrated by Stasia Burrington
Inspired by the first African American Woman who space traveled, Mae Jemison, Mae Among the Stars tells readers that every dream is worth having and believing in as long as you work hard to achieve it. Check out this Mae Among the Stars read-along.
"Look Up With Me: Neil deGrasse Tyson - A Life Among the Stars" by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Lorraine Nam
Continuing off the theme of space, Berne shares the story of Neil deGrasse Tyson. Before becoming a famous astrophysicist, young Neil had a curiosity for the world beyond the city lights. Learn about Neil's interest in science and the universe with this Look Up With Me read-along.
"Jabari Tries" by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari wants to create a flying machine that soars across his backyard. However, he realizes that invention isn't as easy as he thought it would be. With a little bit of encouragement from his father and his sister, Jabari learns that persistence is all you need to make your dreams a reality. Watch this Jabari Tries read-along.
"Baby Loves Gravity!" by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Irene Chan
Why does food fall when Baby drops it? Spiro introduces the idea of gravity to even the youngest of readers in Baby Loves Gravity! See a read-along for Baby Loves Gravity.
,"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
William Kamkwamba's village is suffering from a drought, and everyone is struggling to get by. Without any water or surviving crops, how can the community come together? Follow William as he learns how to build a windmill out of scraps and harness the wind to generate energy for his village. Watch The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind read-along.
"How to Code a Sandcastle" by Josh Funk, illustrated by Sara Palacios
Pearl and Pascal want to make the perfect sandcastle, but they keep getting interrupted! Pearl learns how to break down the problem step by step using coding concepts such as sequences and loops. This book introduces readers to the fun of coding. Here is a How to Code a Sandcastle read-along video.
"Doc Like Daddy" by Dr. Crystal Bowe, illustrated by Jajaf Thompson
Dr. Bowe shows readers how parents can serve as powerful role models. This story inspires children that they can be whatever they want to be! Watch this Doc Like Daddy read-along!
Come one, come all, to the Summer Reading Carnival!
Join Read to Succeed for spectacular fun at the 2021 Summer Reading Carnivals! You'll find book-themed carnival games, reading activities, a photo booth, temporary tattoos, music, foods, drinks, family literacy resources, and much more! These events are open to all families and children in the summer learning programs in each community.
Friday, July 23; 11am - 2pm
Arthur R. Edington Center
Saturday, July 24; 10am - 1pm
Wednesday, July 28; 10am - 2pm
Friday, July 30; 11am - 2p
Special thanks to our community partners who are supporting these events, including Buncombe County Libraries, Literacy Together, Children First (Communities in Schools), and Asheville City Schools PODS.
If you are interested in volunteering at the carnivals to help staff the games/activity booths, please sign up here: bit.ly/r2scarnival
Download, print, and share the flyer
Keep those phonics skills sharp and those reading muscles strong with these fun summer reading ideas! You might just spark excitement for even the most reluctant readers.
Read to Succeed Asheville/Buncombe (R2S) is a local, independent nonprofit on a mission to close the