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What is the Raising A Reader red bag program?

  • Raising A Reader Aspen to Parachute is an independent, local nonprofit that uses a national model designed to foster school readiness and literacy by delivering books every week to families to share in their home during their child's preschool and kindergarten years. 

  • Currently more than 1,600 children participate in 100 classrooms--- over 75% of these classrooms are preschool age and the remaining are kindergarten classrooms. 

How does the red bag program work? ​

  • Classroom teachers partner with RAR to help send home a red book bag every week for families to share starting in the fall and continuing through April.  

  • Classroom teachers build excitement about RAR books in their classroom so that children show up at home eager to share their book bag with mom and dad every week.

  • Parent events, evening programs and web-based resources provide guidance on early brain development and the power of read-aloud time. Some red bags have "tip tags" on them with helpful reading suggestions for the parents. 

  • Books are returned weekly and replaced with another set.

Why is it important?

  • Oral Language development:  Oral language engagement at home builds pre-literacy skills and supports critical brain growth in these early years, when rapid brain growth establishes the brain architecture for all future learning. 

  • Kindergarten readiness:  Early literacy skills at entry into kindergarten are positively correlated with reading success later in school.

  • Learning as a family value:  When parents show interest in school books and assignments from school, children are more eager to learn and more likely to succeed.

  • Child responsibility:  Children gain a sense of responsibility for their book bag and begin to understand learning in a larger context, connecting home to school and teachers to parents.

  • Social and emotional development:  Reading together builds family bonds that enhance the social and emotional development of the child. Those bonds are positively correlated with a child’s drive to achieve later in school.


Additional Benefits for Kindergarten Program

  • Continued oral language development – Even as children begin to learn to read in kindergarten, oral language engagement at home reinforces literacy skills and supports critical fundamentals.

  • Parent-child engagement – The weekly book bag provides an important opportunity for parents to connect with the work children bring home from school, creating family bonds that foster school success.

  • Support at home for emerging readers – Kindergarten students need to hear advanced language, vocabulary and sentence structure. And reading with mom and dad keeps it fun.

  • It’s a friendly reminder – An excited child with a new book bag provides a powerful reminder every week for parents to feed that excitement.

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