Leading to Reading
Special Activities and Events
Each year Leading to Reading sponsors a myriad of special activities. They increase our outreach, build visibility for AAUW, and support our mission.
Creating Family Reading Kits
Book kits are developed for pre-school and school-age children. These include helpful hints for parents about reading with young children, simple activities linked to each book, and craft materials to complete a related project. In addition “Fuzzy Friend” kits include a cozy stuffed animal for children who have been through a crisis situation. They are given to children who often have limited access to books in their homes or do not have regular opportunities to visit their local libraries.
Children’s Book Week Celebration
A reading celebration has been held for several years at the Community Family Development Center. Members read stories in each classroom and the children enthusiastically create their own classroom book about the event. Each child is provided with a new book to keep at home. along with tips for parents.
Summer Reading Programs
Each student in the Astor Pre-School program is presented with a book kit at the end of the school year. The kit serves as part of the summer reading program and gives both parents and children activities to do together. A number of the program sites are involved, including Poughkeepsie, Wappingers Falls, Beacon, Millerton, Wingdale, Pine Plains and Red Hook.
Students involved in the Rural and Migrant Ministry Program in Ulster County are given string bags containing 2 books. The students use the bags to carry all their camp materials and reading time is a regular part of the summer program. Books swaps through the time are common!
Readers go into pre-school classrooms monthly and provide interactive story times. Books often coordinate with classroom activities and volunteers form a special relationship with the young children.
Holiday Gift Wrapping
Hudson River Lodging provides shelter for families while a parent is attending classes, job-seeking, or in counseling. AAUW volunteers wrap gifts donated by community agencies for each child in the program. In addition, every child is provided with a new book. Special teams also cleaned out a community room and organized a lending library for families staying at the center.
Manor at Woodside Volunteers
A number of residents at the Manor at Woodside have joined our project and work with us in making the book kits. Since an AAUW member works with each resident, the conversations are always lively! The residents enjoy the work and Leading to Reading gives them an opportunity to continue supporting their community. The Manor has a Volunteer Luncheon each spring and the residents who take part are honored at that event.
AAUW members have supported the program through their volunteer efforts, their creative planning, and their donations. Funds raised at the Writers’ Teas have been used to purchase books and sponsor our special community programs. The project has also been greatly enhanced through generous community support. Sponsors include:
- 4Imprint.com: Embossed string bags to make "Fuzzy Friend" kits for children who are in stressful situations, such as removal from their home. They have gone to children in several community agencies.
- AAUW Educational Foundation: grant to purchase additional books and materials to make the family reading kits
- Adams Fairacre Farms: sturdy paper bags to sort and distribute our reading kits
- AllStorage: a storage unit to store and sort books
- Books for Kids: Additional new books
- Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union: Grants provided literacy materials for Astor Pre-School programs in the Eastern part of Dutchess County as well as classroom big books for several pre-school programs
- Lisa Libraries: donations of hundreds of books
- Local church: funds to create a classroom reading corner as well as provide a special reading celebration
- Media Connections: the entire inventory of owner Michael Pastore's previous business, which included books and related materials, for use during the 2011-2012 program year
- The Manor at Woodside: storage space, a work room, and meeting rooms
- St. Francis Hospital: printing labels and inserts for book kits
- First Book: both a grant for free books and the opportunity to purchase books at greatly reduced prices
Scholastic Books: new books for a variety of ages
Leading to Reading has partnered with numerous local agencies serving area children. Recent projects have been in conjunction with:
- Astor Head Start – Poughkeepsie, Wappingers Falls, Wingdale, Millerton, Red Hook and Pine Plains sites. Members also serve on their literacy councils
- Community Family Development Center
- Hudson River Lodging
- Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie
- Tubman Terrace Afterschool Program
- Catharine Street Community Center
- Rural and Migrant Ministry Camp
- Dutchess County Family Treatment Court
- Grace Smith House
- Dutchess Outreach
- Poughkeepsie Housing Authority
Project Contact: Elizabeth Harrel 845/462-2141 or