Enriching the Lives of Children through Books
What we do
The Read2Dream Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) volunteer organization. Our mission is to improve the lives of children from low income families by encouraging early literacy. foundation to promote early childhood literacy for children birth through 8 years old. We are dedicated to improving the lives of low income children through literacy. By increasing the literacy levels of children, we change their future. Educating all children is the best investment for everyone!
Social agencies, caseworkers, and teachers contact us with requests for books for the families they serve. Our volunteers work hard to fill all the requests for books but often the needs outweigh our resources. Through collaboration with local Rotary Clubs, businesses, Professional sports teams, AUA sorority at WCU, WCU Golden Rams Football team, WC Boy Scout Troop 6, community leaders, teachers and caseworkers, we’ve provided over 26,000 new books, 3500 very gently used books and hosted 7 free Community Family Literacy Events attended by over 2500 children since 2014.
Why we do it
I am going to let you in on a well known secret. It's the joy I get when a student's face lights up when they 'get' something. The eureka moment. That is why I launched Read2Dream - my passion for turning on the light.
I feel strongly that a lifetime of teaching shouldn't end with retirement. I want the techniques and programs that I have found to be successful to continue to inspire and help children become great readers and dreamers. In fact, I want to transform my reading program to reach more parents and children, and enlist more teachers and schools.
Read2Dream relies on the passion and talents of others to be inspirational. I am fortunate to count among my friends: fellow elementary teachers, reading specialists, artists, authors and educators. Their help with articles, book reviews, live readings and other materials add depth and drama for both parents and children.
The name of my company is Kelly's Kids and Critters. That is where my heart is -kids and critters -so that is where my money follows. Because Read2Dream is a worthy kid's cause, revenue from the reward zone will go toward developing how the site works and its content. It is my dream to donate surplus revenue from the site to caring for the health of children and animals through my favorite charities: Saint Jude Hospital and North Shore Animal Rescue Center. You might say that Read2Dream, Saint Jude Hospital and North Shore are items in my personal Reward Zone shopping cart. I plan on working hard on this, because that is how dreams come true.
The primary beneficiary is the children. Children gain greater vocabularies and therefore score higher on standardized tests. Their communication skills and problem solving skills are enhanced by reading a wide variety of genre. Advanced communication skills are essential to excel in today's environment. Communication skills will be improved with daily reading and will make a significant difference in the child's future.
Parents also benefit from reading daily with their children. Parents will have a better understanding of their child's skills, interests and academic needs. This will help parents in communications with their child's educational support team as the need arises. It also helps parents develop a rich learning environment at home, full of appropriate challenges tailored to their child's interests and needs. The parent/child communication will improve due to the daily contact through books, poems, news articles. Children and parents will share common experiences, language and likes and dislikes as they share a range of genre and this will encourage more effective daily communication.
In the beginning
At the age of five, I discovered that learning to read was my goal. I was lucky to have loving adults always willing to read to me -but I really wanted to do it myself. I was always surrounded by a variety of books. Lots and lots of books, trips to the library and book store. Whenever I wanted to learn something new I was given appropriate reading material. I was given the message loud and clear that reading was valued in our home. The adults were role models, I was surrounded by people reading books, magazines, and poetry. I felt that the adults in my life were very fortunate to be able to read everything. They could learn anything that they wanted just by picking up a book.
Being able to read was powerful and I knew that was for me. After I learned to read I wanted to teach everyone else to read too. Now my goal moved to being a teacher. If I could teach someone to read then they would have a voice and the dream of a bright future. I noticed that some children around me didn't have books. Maybe they didn't have the opportunity to read or the desire.
After high school it was off to college to become a teacher. Then my dream of teaching would become a reality. College was a joyful journey with lots of books. My first teaching position was teaching students with reading difficulties or lack of reading opportunities. My job was to teach my students the necessary skills to read and help them discover the joy of reading. Reading skills are very important but without the desire to read the child will not practice enough to become a proficient reader. Reading would enable them to dream about a future. Reading gives students hope.
A few years later I began teaching first grade. I knew that was the perfect age to teach children to read when they were anxious to read. Since the age of five, I've been focused on the importance of learning to read. Reading really does enable all dreams. I started the Book Club with my first grade class. Many parent and community volunteers helped with the program. The adults came to school each day to read with individual children. The children choose an interesting book on their instructional level and with the help of the volunteer they read it together. Our community generously donated a nice assortment of used, early-reading books.
The program was so successful in helping the children practice their skills in a nurturing environment that many more volunteers wanted to join. We were able to include the other four first-grade classes. I applied for grants to purchase more books to accommodate the additional students and their interests. Next we added the Kindergarten classes and second grade classes. The first year that all the kindergarten, first and second grade classes joined my Book Club we logged 10,000 books from September to May. That was a great goal, but we could do more. My goal was every child in my class would read 100 books from September to June. I needed enough volunteers to read with every child every day. The children were given daily reading instruction and one-on-one time with a volunteer to practice those newly acquired skills. They set their personal goals and a class goal. This year my first grade class read 10,000 books in one school year. Every child meet their personal goal of 100 or more. They became great readers. They love to compete with others to get to their goals first. Children love to compete and also love to encourage others to met their goal. Each child does their personal best and helps others to add to the group goal. We were building a community of readers -one child at a time.