“The effects of the summer slide can potentially be devastating for at-risk and struggling readers,” said Barb Lurie, who co-founded Kids Read Now with her husband, Leib Lurie, who is the CEO of Kids Read Now. Barb Lurie, who is also a former educator, also sits on the Kids Read Now board. “Most low-income kids are a year behind in reading by the time they enter fourth grade. Studies have shown that the summer slide was the culprit for two-thirds of the reading gap between income levels.”
Check out the entire article highlighting Kids Read Now’s 10 year celebration and impact by Sam Wildow in Miami Valley Today!
The Current Situation Did you know that more than 65% of kids across the country are not reading at grade level, and the number jumps to 80% for low income students? Kids Read Now’s mission of eliminating learning loss and building home libraries for every PreK-5 student in the country is more important and pressing than ever. We are currently partnering with schools in over 30 states, and we have plans to expand to all 50 states by 2025. The Kids Read Now (KRN) in-home reading program is evidence-based, and replicable. Unlike other book programs, Kids Read Now includes unique components like student choice and parental engagement.
New KRN Initiatives We would love to extend a warm welcome and immeasurable gratitude to the innovative Kids Read Now Development Task Force. The Development Task Force is tasked with developing ongoing fundraising strategies that will leverage monetary support from corporations, foundations, and individuals. Subsequently this allows Kids Read Now to reach more kids in need across the country and build home libraries in even the driest book deserts.
Loki Mulholland – Public Speaker, Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker, Activist, Author
Lisa Washington – Emmy Award-Winning Journalist, Evening News Anchor at WNEP-TV
Dr. Kamshia Childs – Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University-Commerce
Cameisha Arnold-Lee – CIO for TE Connectivity, Defense Division
Noah Reandeau – President of Model Solutions
Lauren Bernaldo – CCO for Lee County Tax Division
Leib Lurie – Kids Read Now Co-Founder and CEO
El Cabrel Lee – Kids Read Now Director of Development
Christina Brownlee – Kids Read Now Director of Marketing
Joy Plunkett – Kids Read Now Director of Human Resources
Chante Alexander – Kids Read Now Account Manager
Emily Fleming – Kids Read Now Product Specialist
Upcoming Events Kids Read Now is excited to announce our anniversary event on June 1, 2022 from 12pm – 2pm. We will celebrate our recent move to a bigger and better fulfillment center, 10 years of building home libraries for kids, and the delivery of our 3 millionth book! Educators, authors, and local dignitaries will speak and we will present a scholarship to an original Kids Read Now student who is entering her first year of college in the fall. Please visit this link for more information and to RSVP to attend!
Kids Read Now’s long term growth trend is over 30% a year and will ship nearly 1 million books this summer alone!
To position ourselves for our continued growth we needed more storage and fulfillment operations space. This need became apparent in 2021, and in November we signed a new lease.
The move made sense and was easy to accomplish as we only moved up the street from 155 Marybill Drive to 55 Marybill Drive in Troy, Ohio. The new facility nearly doubles Kids Read Now’s warehouse size from 14,000 square feet to 27,500 square feet. As part of our move and new lease agreement, we will have access to an additional 50,000 square feet within a mile of our new location.
This new fulfillment center allows us to pick, pack, and mail 25,000 books a DAY while storing over 500,000 books at any given time. The new warehouse also provides much needed, better lighting and floor space to process all our books.
There are many more employee amenities, including better parking, a nice break room, improved restrooms, and a state-of-the-art sound system.
As with many companies, the pandemic also changed our need for office space. Our support and admin teams were set up and provided with everything they needed for a home office during the pandemic. We never returned to being an office-centric company… eventually formalizing a permanent remote workforce for all office employees. This has allowed us to recruit terrific people from outside the area, hiring folks from Atlanta and Kansas City, while saving money on space.
Our new facility reduced our office space by 66%, but for those who may need to come in from time to time, we have four shared workspaces and a conference room.
We are extremely excited about our new home and with proper planning will be able to handle all students in any of our Kids Read Now programs for the next two years. Did I say two years? As our business continues to grow so rapidly, we are already looking at what our facility needs will be in 2025.
University of Dayton engineering students are working with Kids Read Now to in a contest to improve our fulfillment center’s efficiency. You can check out the full article HERE or watch the video coverage HERE!
Kids Read Now started as a small, local nonprofit organization and has rapidly grown into an impressive leader in the fight against K-5 learning loss. Most students, particularly those from lower income families, experience steep reading skill loss over the summer break. Creating home libraries and engaging parents are key ways to accelerating summer learning and reversing the slide associated with summer break and extended school closures.
Since 2013, Kids Read Now has mailed over two million books-to-keep. This past summer KRN served nearly 100,000 K-5 students across the country. According to Kids Read Now CEO and co-founder, Leib Lurie, “Kids Read Now is on a trajectory to mail over 7 million books to K-5 students nationwide by 2024.”
This exciting growth has highlighted the need for a new, larger fulfillment center. More books to more kids equals higher literacy rates and dreams delivered for America’s youth.
Kids Read Now’s new fulfillment center is 21,000 square feet, 33% bigger than its previous space. “This new, expanded space will help us reach our goal of serving 1 million kids each summer,” says Jim McDonald, Kids Read Now’s Fulfillment Center Manager. “Having this large, flexible space and leveraging the talented local work force made this expansion decision easy,” adds Leib.
Proud to partner with hundreds of school districts nationwide, Kids Read Now is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the singular mission to eliminate learning loss for K-5 students. Learn more about Kids Read Now at KidsReadNow.org.
Racial injustice has plagued our country for centuries, and despite progress in many sectors, people of color are still overwhelmingly likely to be subject to tragic police brutality and fatal incidents. The sad incidents of the past few weeks, exacerbated by those who fan the fires of hatred and racial inequities will leave another layer of scars on all our children.
Black and Brown people in our nation are far more likely to be infected and die from the novel Corona Pandemic. The massive layoffs drag down a high percentage of Black and Brown families already struggling behind white neighbors.
The extended school shutdowns will leave children of color even further behind their peers, and more likely to be home without adequate supervision; much less access to high speed internet and full screen devices essential to leaning during this unprecedented crisis. These same children live in the scrublands of book deserts during the best of times. With summer schools and community programs cancelled or curtailed; the inequities grow starker every day.
The indisputable fact is that bias and systemic oppression of marginalized communities are deeply intertwined with many aspects of our culture and society. This is just one more form of intolerable racism that we all must work to recognize and overcome
We at Kids Read Now believe it is critical for the future of our country that we collectively and proactively engage in the difficult conversations to define equity and take action to create a more equitable system.
When I was younger, belligerent neighbors vandalized our home and a week later I was screaming in terror in the Audubon ballroom when Malcolm X was assassinated. A few years later, I was tear gassed in Washington at a peaceful demonstration that turned ugly with aggressive police presence. Sadly, this year feels like the 1960’s all over again.
We can, we will, we MUST do better.
Speaking up for the oppressed, working for justice, helping the disadvantaged is what we all need to do. Today more than ever.
Mailing 350,000 books to families over this extended summer is one way we strive for equitable home-learning, and assuring we deliver books to boost literacy, delivered to homes, overcoming the Covid quarantine measures.
We appreciate that our community of partners, educators and parents are committed to making a real difference.
My hope is that, together, we can help, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “bend the arc of history toward justice.”
TROY, Ohio (WDTN) – Every summer since 2012, the Kids Read Now organization sends books to 130 different school districts to combat “summer slide” or learning loss.
This year, as the coronavirus shut down could potentially keep kids out of school for at least 5 months, there are tens of thousands of students facing new challenges.
Leib Lurie, the founder of Kids Read Now based in Troy, says economically disadvantaged students are more vulnerable when it comes to learning loss especially during the shutdown.
“Just over half of poor households have no highspeed internet connection and only 30 [to] 40 percent only have a phone,” said Lurie. “We have a lot of parents struggling just to keep their kids fed…”
In response, the nonprofit is ramping up its program early for “Spring Fling.” Schools can enroll in the program and help their students pick a wishlist of books for the summer.
The books each come with Discovery Sheets to help students with reading comprehension. When a student is finished with a book, they text a code to a number and the next book in the queue is sent.
Lurie says more than 10,000 students are already signed up.
“We’re going to ship probably close to 600,000 books in the next eight or ten-weeks. Typically nine books reduce the summer reading slide by 27 days or 2 1/2 months of school days. Six hundred thousand books are going to get a lot of kids doing a whole lot of reading,” said Lurie.
Sending books on such a large scale does come at a cost, but it’s a price that Lurie is prepared to pay to see students succeed.
“Our mission is to improve literacy outcomes for children. So if we have to put another $1 million of cost into this to keep it going we’re going to do that,” said Lurie.
Kids Read Now is looking for volunteers as well as donations to keep their program afloat.
For more information on how you could help out click here.
Like developing anything important, building better students requires providing the right environment. This is an easier task when the children are in school. A school is filled with teachers, staff, and materials that serve the purpose of encouraging students to learn. Outside of the classroom, that encouragement is not always present. Those materials are not always available when they are at home. They do not need desks, whiteboards, or even computers to spend time learning at home. All they need are home libraries.
Having a library at home encourages students to spend time reading, and learning, outside of the classroom. Richard Allington, author of Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Achievement Gap, states that a handful of self-selected books could have a dramatic impact on a child’s learning over time.
In a multi-year study, he discovered that just adding 12 self-selected books to a home every summer can have the same learning impact that summer school offers. When books are convenient, it is more likely those books will be used by the students and parents. It creates a home environment that shows that reading is encouraged, especially when there are books within easy reach at all times. Helping parents build home libraries have other benefits as well:
Continuous access to books – It can be difficult for parents, especially those in low-income families, to take their children to a local library over the summer. By developing home libraries, students have easy access to books all summer long.
Topics of their choosing – Everyone is more likely to read books about topics that pique their interest. Teachers and parents can work together to build a home library of books that will encourage children to read not only through the summer but during the school year.
Familiarity with the material – Children enjoy things that are familiar. They love their favorite toys and clothes. That same love of the familiar can apply to books, especially a favorite character in a series. A beloved character can expose them to new vocabulary over the course of that series, elevating their understanding of the language.
Builds family literacy – Reading can be contagious. Once one member develops a passion for reading, it can spread to siblings and other people in the home. This has a multiplying effect of bringing more books into the home, creating a virtuous cycle of overall improved literacy for the family.
Improved academic performance – Research shows that, even when wealth and location are taken into account, more books in the home leads to greater academic performance. Owning 500 books can add 3.2 years of educational gains over time, according toResearch in Social Stratification and Mobility. Even the addition of one book can have an impact on educational gains.
Creating a friendly environment for students to read changes the environment for the whole family. Even in areas where there may not be a bookstore or community library available, home libraries offer a bridge to literacy. It extends a small part of the learning environment into every home.