Monday, April 21, 2014

New Iowa Literacy Law

Beginning in August of 2014, new Iowa law pertaining to literacy goes into effect.  I recently listened to a presentation by our district's literacy coordinator on this law.  Now, more than ever, we need to be supporting our children in their efforts to be proficient readers.  This new law also means we need to be active supporters of children within our communities who may not have the resources at home to assist them in practicing and developing their literacy skills outside of the school day.  Below I have included a summary of this new law.  I encourage you to reach out to your school district if you have any questions about how this will look in your district.
We feel now, more than ever, we need to be supporting our local schools who have a significant number of children reading below grade level.  While we were already planning literacy nights and other events within our pilot schools, we now realize how our timing could not have been better!  We are asking for your help to be prepared to hit the ground running in the fall.  There are so, so many ways you can.  Here's a brief list:
-Please consider purchasing new books or donating gently used books to help these children have more exposure to print. 
-Please consider donating your time to help prepare take-home literacy materials such as sight word games.
-Please consider becoming a volunteer reader
-Please consider donating money to be used for fabric, books, and other materials needed to support our mission of promoting literacy among students at-risk.
-Please consider inquiring at your place of business about a dress casual for a cause day, a group service project, or a book drive.
-Have your own idea?  We'd love to hear it!  
We truly appreciate your support.  "It takes a village to raise a child."  Are you able to be part of that village?  Contact us at fromcovertocover@gmail.com
IOWA LAW  
 Iowa Code section 279.68 and 281--Iowa Administrative Code 62 promote effective evidence-based programming, instruction and assessment practices across schools to support all students to become proficient readers by the end of the third grade. General requirements of Iowa Code section 279.68 and 281--Iowa Administrative Code 62 are listed below. All requirements go into effect immediately and are expected to be implemented no later than August 1, 2014 unless otherwise indicated.
  • Provision of universal screening in reading for students in kindergarten through third grade
  • Progress monitoring for students who exhibit a substantial deficiency in reading
  • Provision of intensive instruction – including 90 minutes daily of scientific, research-based reading instruction - for students who exhibit a substantial deficiency in reading
  • Notice to parents that a student exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading, including strategies the parents can use at home to help the child succeed
  • Notice to parents of such a student’s subsequent progress
  • Provision of an evidence-based summer reading program for students who exhibit a substantial deficiency in reading (Effective May 1, 2017)
  • Retention of any student who is not proficient in reading by the end of the third grade, did not attend the summer reading program, and does not qualify for a good cause exemption from the retention requirement (Effective May 1, 2017)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring has Sprung! More Exciting Updates and a New "Face!"

Our Pete the Cat fundraising goal was met in less than 24 hours!  A huge thank you to Mike and Mandy Thiel, Shayla Stern, Edward Schlicksup, and Nate and Amy Nissen for helping bring Pete the Cat to From Cover to Cover!  We are so excited to add Pete to our donation presentations and to have him make guest appearances at schools to promote literacy.  We just know the kids will absolutely eat it up!  For more information on how Pete can visit a school near you, please email us at fromcovertocoverproject@gmail.com!  
Pete has arrived!
We are also excited to let you know we have submitted our paperwork to be an unincorporated nonprofit association.  We will be under the 501(c)3 umbrella of the LincolnWay Foundation, which is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend located in the Quad Cities.  This is a wonderful opportunity for us to be able to apply for local, state, and national grants, as well as to offer tax benefits for our donors.

Currently we are working on planning community awareness activities for this summer as well as planning for our expansion projects this fall.  We are so thrilled to have three schools committed to be a part of our Schools Partnering with Schools Program.  Assumption High School and Pleasant Valley High School, as well as Bettendorf Middle School will be assisting with blanket making, volunteering at literacy events, and assisting with fundraising.  We feel this is a unique and truly valuable experience for the youth in our community.  What a difference they will be making in the lives of many children.

As always, thank you for your continued support!  We appreciate you all so much!

Gina and Christina

  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Our Next Donation and Planning for the Future!

We are pleased to announce that we will be providing a book and blanket set for the entire kindergarten class at Eagle Ridge School in Carbon Cliff, IL on May 22nd!  This will be our final donation for the school year.  When all is said and done, approximately 250 book and blanket sets will have been delivered to kindergarteners in the Quad City area this school year.  This is truly amazing and we cannot thank you enough for your continued support.

While this year isn't quite over yet, we are moving ahead with our plans to have an even more successful 2014-2015 school year.  It is our goal to expand our project in the upcoming year.  In addition to providing book and blanket sets to children at risk, we will be developing a partnership with a few target schools to assist them in their efforts to promote literacy by helping plan and deliver fun and educational literacy nights.  This plan is in the development stage, but we anticipate being ready to go by the fall.

With this expansion comes a need for more volunteers within the community.  Your contribution, no matter the size, can make a huge difference in the life of a child.  We are looking for creative minds, businesses willing to help sponsor these activities, volunteers to help run a successful event, and more.  This is also a great opportunity for youth to get involved and complete service hours, too!  Please email us at fromcovertocoverproject@gmail.com with the talent you would like to share and we will be sure to put it to good use!

Thank you for a wonderful 2013-2014 school year.  Here's to even more success next year!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mission Accomplished! Monroe Donation Was a Success!

Today was our donation day!  We donated over 80 book and blanket sets to kindergarteners at Monroe Elementary today.  As always it was so much fun to share Pete the Cat:  I Love My White Shoes with the students and listen to them sing away.  Quite the catchy tune!  The children were so excited to receive their gift and all left with a big smile on their face and a song in their heart.  We just love these experiences!

The teachers and administrators were so gracious and interested in learning more about our project.  It means so much to us when we hear how this simple gift will impact their students.  We always say, "We're just two moms trying to make a difference,"  but this certainly would not be possible without the fleet of volunteers we have working behind the scenes making blankets.  We cannot thank you enough!

Soon we will have some more exciting information to share with you about how our project is expanding.  We are very excited about the future of From Cover to Cover and appreciate your continued support.

"I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes..."  :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Help Bring Pete the Cat to From Cover to Cover!

Nearly 9 months ago we announced this project.  We had high hopes that we could make an impact on kids in our community and hoped that others would see the benefit in this project as well.  Little did we know then that in a few weeks, with the help of countless individuals and organizations, From Cover to Cover would be heading to a third school to provide a book and blanket set to kindergarten students.  The total amount of these sets donated?  190!  Not to mention the hundreds of gently used books that have been donated to the schools as well.  Initially we thought this would be our final donation for the year, but a few doors have opened and we are thrilled that we will be able to complete one more donation in May.  (We will share more about this with you later this week!)  Amazing!  We simply cannot thank you enough for your generosity, time, and support.  It has been magnificent! 

Recently we have been contacted by some teachers and faculty at local schools asking if there was a way for their students to get involved.  Bettendorf Middle School students will be making 25 blankets for our upcoming donation at Monroe and Pleasant Valley High School students will be able to complete required service hours by making blankets and assisting in other activities through From Cover to Cover.  Kids helping kids.  Truly wonderful.

The ball is rolling and picking up speed every day.  We are in the process of following through with a few ideas and hope to have some exciting news soon.  In the meantime, we'd like to share a new goal we have created to help enhance our donation events and make them even more special for the kiddos we are serving.

We have adopted the Pete the Cat:  I Love My White Shoes book as our signature story.  At our events, we share this story by playing the upbeat and fun musical version for the kids.  We talk about the importance of reading and try to get the kids to see how fun it can be.  The kids have had so much fun with this, as most are familiar with the story and the song.  We've had quite the jam sessions!  While it has been very fun, we'd like to take it a step further.  We'd like to bring Pete the Cat along with us!  It is our hope that this will be special for the kids and make this event something they will remember for a long time.  

We are starting a fundraising campaign to purchase a Pete the Cat costume.  Our goal?  To raise $200 for this purpose.  Our ultimate goal is to promote literacy and we feel strongly that this addition to our project will be put to very good use, both at our donation events and other community events we hope to put together in the future.  

Can you help bring Pete the Cat to From Cover to Cover?  Perhaps you can donate a few dollars, put together a casual day at work, or maybe you work for a business who would like to donate to this cause.  We will happily recognize you all!  Help us make this happen!  We promise to share the happy, smiling faces of the kids who get to meet him!  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Our Next Donation is Set!

We are so excited to announce that our next donation will be to Monroe Elementary in Davenport on March 11th.  82 kindergarten students will be receiving the gift of a new book and fleece tie blanket in an effort to promote literacy among children at-risk in our community.  We would like to extend a big thank you to the Bettendorf Rotary Club for awarding us a large grant to assist with this donation.  The support we have received from our community has been so heartwarming and we look forward to continuing on our mission to promote literacy among children at-risk in the Quad Cities and surrounding communities.

We are always looking for volunteers to make blankets!  If you are part of an organization willing to make some blankets for us or have a child needing to complete service hours, please get in touch with us!  We will be purchasing fabric and need people willing to tie.  

Thank you, again, for all of your support!  We can't help but smile thinking about the children who have received blankets and books this year snuggling up in this cold weather and reading.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

December Goodness: An Update

It is truly amazing to be a part of a project where people selflessly give in an effort to benefit children they may never meet.  From Cover to Cover collected 47 blankets, hundreds of new and used books, and monetary donations to help provide a book and a blanket for local children.  This greatly exceeds our need for our donation tomorrow at Ekstrand Elementary and for that we couldn't be more thankful.  We will continue to forge ahead and prepare for another large donation in March of 2104.  Thank you to all of our supporters.  We are truly humbled.

Growth is a wonderful thing and we are in need of more committed volunteers to help us in our mission of promoting literacy among those children who are at-risk in our communities.  Soon we will be be an unincorporated non-profit association and this will open up even more doors for us.  There are many ways to get involved and make a difference.  Please contact us at fromcovertocoverproject@gmail.com if you are interested.

We would like to thank those who have helped us continue on our mission since our last donation.  We apologize in advance if we have omitted anyone.  It surely was not intentional and we appreciate your help!  Thank you to:  Judi Berkley, Margie Farren, Jane Feldpausch, Rachael Cox, Tonya Hilliard, Anna Strickland, Beth Whitty, Megan Wentland, Nikki Allers, Gary and Mary Froeschle, Meredith Dennis and the Blue Illusion dance team at Davenport Central, and students, parents, and staff at St. John Vianney Preschool in Bettendorf.      

We would also like to thank those who helped fundraise.  We appreciate your time!  Thank you to:  Erin McCaulley for organizing our Thirty-One Fundraiser, Springbrook Country Club and Beginnings by Chance Events and Marketing for hosting a Trivia Night on our behalf, Emily Pries and The Gratitude Project-Quad Cities, Kyle and Amanda Reuter with Advocare, and those who participated in The Amazing Race for Reading and Thirty-One Gift fundraisers.       

Finally we would like to thank Fran Riley and his cameraman for taking the time to visit with us and share our project with his viewers at KWQC.  We are always so thankful for those willing to share our mission with our community.

Happy Holidays to you all and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your support.  Here's to a wonderful and productive 2014!

A wide array of blankets to snuggle up with!

Packaged and ready to go!

Over 100 used books donated by a generous family!