STAIR Summer Reading

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STAIR Summer Reading

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on June 16, 2021

Summer is the perfect time to relax and unwind with a good book, and STAIR-Annapolis has planned lots of different ways to help kids keep reading this summer!

The STAIR Summer Reading program was designed to support "brain gain," the idea that simple educational activities like reading and writing can make it easier for elementary school students to stay academically on track over the summer months and return to school in the fall ready to learn. We know STAIR-Annapolis students have made serious progress in their reading during the school year, so it's important that our summer programming gives kids plenty of opportunities to build on that awesome growth.

This year, we're bringing back three popular summer reading initiatives and adding an exciting new component to our programming!

All 120 students enrolled in the 2020-2021 STAIR At Home program will continue to receive packages of brand-new books for home libraries throughout the summer. Students are already enjoying June's direct mailing, and we have even more great books and activities headed out in July and August. These book mailings are the cornerstone of STAIR Summer Reading, made possible by the generous financial gifts of many donors. Our summer book selections include early chapter books, graphic novels, and nonfiction titles to help our rising third-graders continue their reading adventures all summer long!

Little Free Libraries are a wonderful community initiative meant to give readers of all ages easy access to books close to home. Each LFL is independently maintained by individuals, families, schools, or civic organizations and neighbors are invited to "take a book, leave a book" anytime. Once again this year, STAIR-Annapolis staff and volunteers will be restocking Little Free Libraries in the neighborhoods where STAIR students live. By ensuring these free library kiosks are always full of great books, we can help provide support to readers young and old.

Community partnerships are so important to the success of our organization and we're very fortunate to have built strong relationships with so many amazing groups doing awesome work for local kids. We're proud to support our friends at Reading Camp Maryland again this summer, providing these fun word search books and highlighters to add to their students' reading packages. Reading Camp Maryland's goal to help striving elementary readers improve their literacy skills over the summer is in perfect alignment with our mission, and we're thrilled to have the opportunity to give this small gift to further their efforts.

Finally, we're so excited to introduce our newest summer initiative: STAIR Book Fairs! Our great friends at the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis and the City of Annapolis have enthusiastically allowed us to host three free book fairs for young readers at community centers this June. We'll be at the Eastport Community Center on June 22, the Robinwood Community Center on June 23, and we'll be part of a community-wide event at the Stanton Community Center on June 24. We have thousands of brand-new books packed and ready to give to kids of all ages to support their summer reading adventures. We're so grateful to HACA and the City of Annapolis for embracing our idea and for providing the space and logistic support we needed to launch STAIR Book Fairs. It's going to be a great week!

To stay up-to-date on the latest from STAIR Summer Reading, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

We Did It…Together!

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We Did It...Together!

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on June 9, 2021

On May 19, 120 students successfully completed the 2020-2021 STAIR At Home program. This year of modified programming was designed to give kids and their families a way to "Start The Adventure In Reading" with flexibility in these uncertain times.

We know this past year was not the same STAIR our volunteers and supporters have come to know and love. Like so many others trying to find a way through all the challenges presented by the pandemic, we missed out on a lot. But we also had so much to celebrate.

To our generous donors, thank you. Your financial support allowed us to cover the costs of thousands of new books for students' home libraries, reading resources and educational activities for at-home learning, shipping supplies, postage, and more. Without you, we could not have offered students and their grown-ups so many flexible ways to participate in the program.

To our incredible volunteers, you made STAIR At Home happen! Your Book Clubs, Guest Reader and Tutorial Coach videos, Research Aide resources, and Pen Pal letters kept kids engaged and excited about developing their reading skills. You leaned in, learned new things, and gave your all to reach students where they were, offering a friendly (virtual) smile or a kind word in a scary time. We simply can't thank you enough!

We hope you all come away from this unprecedented year knowing that you've made a difference in a child's life.

And we hope you know just how grateful STAIR students and their families are for your support, your commitment, and your care. 

We're looking forward to our planned return to in-person programming for the 2021-2022 school year. Can't wait to see you soon!

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STAIR At Home May Book of the Month: The Word Collector

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STAIR At Home May Book of The Month: The Word Collector

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on May 19, 2021

Hard to believe, but it's time to introduce our very last STAIR At Home Book of the Month!

We've celebrated eight great months of reading with 120 STAIR At Home students and now we send them on their way to summer reading adventures with The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds.

Some kids collect trading cards or stickers. Some kids collect rocks or bugs. But Jerome has an unusual collection. Jerome collects words. He collects long words and short words, words he knows and words he doesn't, words that describe things and places and feelings. He even collects words in other languages. Jerome spends time with his words every day, thinking about their sounds and their meanings, letting their syllables roll off his tongue. He strings his words together, trying out unexpected combinations and exploring the ways his words change when he mixes them up. After a while, Jerome has collected so many beautiful words that there's only one thing left to do: share them with the world!

To learn more about The Word Collector, visit www.wordcollector.org

As our own young readers prepare to graduate from the STAIR At Home program this week, we salute their hard work and celebrate their accomplishments. It hasn't been an easy year, but these students and their families have remained committed to improving literacy skills at home and have done an amazing job!

To every 2020-2021 STAIR student:
Congratulations! Go out and collect your own words to share with the world!
On behalf of the STAIR staff and all of our volunteers, we're so very proud of you!
Keep reading!

Thanks from STAIR At Home

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Thanks from STAIR At Home

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on April 28, 2021

Not long ago, we reached out to STAIR At Home families to ask them what they think of this year's modified program so far. We know nothing can replace the one-on-one interaction between students and tutors during our typical in-person programming, but the students have truly benefited from the efforts of our volunteers--all the story videos, literacy lessons, live Book Clubs, and Pen Pal letters have really made a difference, as you can plainly see from the testimonials below.

As we close out Volunteer Appreciation Month, we wanted to take a moment to share some of the wonderful things STAIR At Home families have to say about how much STAIR volunteers have meant to their kids this year.

While we may not be able to celebrate you all in person, we want each of you to know how important your participation and support from the sidelines has been to the success of STAIR At Home. So much of the good that's come from this crazy year is because of you, and for that, we're so grateful.

We'll see you again soon!

"My daughter is very happy and likes everything about the program and everything that she does with the volunteers, who she loves."

"He likes it very much, and thank you for the dedication to each one of the children."

"Thank you, and bless you."

"This is so kind. She really loves the books and letters."

"My daughter Genesis has loved and continues to enjoy participating in the STAIR program. As a mother, I have found it to be a magnificent program and I can see my daughter has learned so much.

Thank you to all who work so hard and participate in this program so that my daughter can continue to progress. Thank you for your help."

"Adrian loves the books, Pen pal, and Book Club."

"We look forward to the monthly books and packages. It's a blessing to have these resources offered to our children in need."

"My son Indigo and I absolutely LOVE the Very Short Stories to Read Together book. Wow! Wow! Wow! He kept wanting to read more. Hooray!"

Welcome, Julieta!

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We're Growing! New Program Manager Joins STAIR-Annapolis Team

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on April 14, 2021

STAIR-Annapolis is pleased to announce the addition of a fourth member to the program's administrative staff.

Julieta Slattery joins us this month as our new Program Manager!

Julieta spent many years as a real estate and marketing professional before coming on board with us here at STAIR-Annapolis. Her networking and customer service expertise is well-suited to her new role as Program Manager, where she'll be responsible for recruiting and training Site Coordinators, providing ongoing program support, and working to ensure the program is delivered consistently across all sites.

A native of El Salvador, Julieta knows first-hand that literacy is paramount to a lifetime of learning and success.

Julieta is a longtime Maryland resident and a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park. She lives in Shady Side with her husband and their West Highland terrier, and she enjoys reading, yoga, travel, and cooking all types of cuisine.

We're so excited to welcome Julieta to the STAIR-Annapolis team and can't wait to see all the wonderful things she'll do for the program as we continue to look for ways to improve and grow in order to serve even more second graders in need of reading support.

Julieta can be reached at Program_Manager@stairannapolis.org.

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Month!

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Happy Volunteer Appreciation Month!

Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on April 7, 2021

Volunteers are at the heart of the STAIR-Annapolis organization. We're so fortunate to have a strong team of volunteer tutors helping our students improve their reading skills and boost their self-confidence. This year, we've had more than 150 of those volunteers join us on our STAIR At Home adventure and countless more cheering us on as they await a return to in-person tutoring. Their unwavering dedication and support have made it possible for STAIR-Annapolis to continue to serve young readers.

Like all of our community partners serving youth in education, STAIR-Annapolis has been striving valiantly this past year to safely provide the programming kids need and families rely on. Despite the incredible challenges brought about by the global pandemic, we've experienced real growth, serving our largest student enrollment to date, building digital systems that engage families, staying connected to our volunteers, and offering students a flexible, safe way to get the reading support they need whenever it's most convenient for them.

None of this would be possible without our amazing volunteers!

Nearly everything on the STAIR At Home family website has been submitted by volunteers, from read-aloud videos recorded by Guest Readers and mini literacy lessons from Tutorial Coaches to at-home activities and tips provided by Research Aides. The webpage has become a go-to site for students and their grown-ups to access quality reading resources and fun new ways to share the joy of reading at home. With an average of more than 100 visits per month, we know this content is making a real difference in the lives of STAIR At Home students.

Monthly Book Clubs have been another wonderful way for our volunteers to connect virtually with students (sometimes their siblings and pets join in, too!). By meeting regularly to read together and discuss books, our volunteers have been able to replicate the meaningful relationships that develop between tutor and student over the course of a typical year of in-person programming. More than 35% of STAIR At Home students have attended at least one virtual Book Club, even though kids already spend long days at the computer for e-learning. We've had students log on from daycare centers, from a parent's workplace, even from the backseat of a car! It's so heartening to know that families believe in this program and in the work of our volunteers so much that they're willing to make STAIR At Home Book Club a priority whenever they can.

The final volunteer-driven component of the STAIR At Home program is our very popular Pen Pal exchange. Every STAIR At Home student has been paired with a volunteer Pen Pal and receives a new letter in his or her monthly book package. That means every month, every STAIR student gets a small reminder that someone is thinking of them and interested in what they're doing, wishing them well, encouraging their literacy development, and showing kindness during a really tough time. It's such a simple thing, but it means so much.

This Volunteer Appreciation Month, we couldn't possibly be more grateful for all the ways our volunteers have stepped up and shown up for students. We know nothing could ever replace the delight of building a one-on-one relationship, seeing a child's smiling face each week, helping a young reader develop new skills, or sharing the simple pleasure of reading a good book together, but we want to be sure our volunteers--all of our volunteers--know just how much they mean to us and just how much their efforts are appreciated.

From all of us at STAIR-Annapolis, thank you.