I am writing this article to inform all Kiwanis members of a new, exciting and innovative project, Brain Charging Stations, which creates Reading Corners in Laundromats to boost Early Literacy,
Numeracy, and Parent Engagement with Young Children. ..A Perfect Fit with Kiwanis’ “Young Children Priority One”.
PLEASE NOTE: this is updated information Isince the publication of the Yankiwanian.
One of the most powerful ways to promote early literacy and parent engagement with their young children is providing materials that encourage both in venues where parents spend time with their children. This idea is most effective in venues where parents need to go for regular chores, that are easily accessible and not intimidating, where there isn’t much stimulation available and where parents have significant “down time” that could be used for reading with young children. A prime candidate for these venues are laundromats, and Kiwanis International and ReadyNation are partnering with the Coin Laundry Association (CLA) to set up reading corners, or “Brain Charging Stations” in neighborhoods that serve local families.
Each station would consist of an attractive book holder; a rug that promotes letters, numbers and geometric shapes; and books. The wall around the station would be decorated with posters specifically for laundromats, as well materials from another organization, Read Aloud 15 MINUTES, that convey the importance of early reading. From that basic foundation, sponsors could do more too if they desire, such as conducting Storytime sessions.
Brain Charging Station: Promoting Early Literacy and Winning Customers
Learning to read and count at an early age has a big impact on children’s achievement.
Reading aloud to children, starting from birth, helps them grow to be successful adults.
Laundromats can help their customers, their communities and their bottom line by providing spaces that encourage reading to young children - at no cost!
Please allow us to create an attractive space for children’s books in your local laundromat - for FREE.
Benefits for the Laundromat Host
★ Attract customers and distinguish your laundromat
★ Provide productive distraction for customer’s children
★ Contribute to improving children’s literacy
★ Enhance reputation as a good corporate citizen
The Laundromat Host will
★ Agree to host the Brain Charging Station for one year.
(renewable at that time)
★ Provide space - book holder is 2’x1’, and rug is 3’x4.5’
★ Volunteer provides the book holder, rug and posters bought through ReadyNation, Cost: $200-$300 for the Kit
★ Keep space tidy, encourage books to remain at laundromat
★ Allow volunteer to take photos for publicity purposes
The Volunteer (Kiwanis Club) will
★ Set up reading station with book holder, books, rug, posters
★ Visit at least monthly, for one year, to tidy up and refresh books. Volunteer will secure new or lightly-used books. Books should not have religious, political or controversial themes.
★ Take photos of setup, including children (with parents’ signed permission form) and give to ReadyNation and Kiwanis International for publicity
★ In partnership with laundromat owner, volunteer may host read-aloud time or other activities.
Inexpensive new books can be ordered at www.firstbook.org.or Scholastic books. Sponsors can get used books through donations from employees or civic groups, as well as purchased at thrift stores, libraries, etc. Kiwanis International and ReadyNation will publicize the efforts with their website, e-newsletter and social media.
HOW TO GET STARTED. (Update since Yankiwanian article)
Kiwanis would send Sara Watson (at email@example.com) the Zip codes in which they wish to work. ReadyNation will ask Coin Laundry Association CLA) if they have members in that Zip code. If so, CLA will send the contact information to Sara, who will send to the Kiwanis member. Sara will provide text for an email that has been reviewed by CLA as attractive to laundromat owners. The Kiwanis member would reach out to the laundromat owner. If the Kiwanis member doesn't get a response, Sara will ask CLA to nudge the laundromat owner personally and encourage them to participate. If the CLA does not have a member in that Zip code, Kiwanis would need to approach the laundromat themselves, but at least they would have a flyer from ReadyNation that explains the project and has the CLA logo.
ReadyNation asks Kiwanis members to use the basic (and inexpensive) supplies that they have identified (flyers, book holder, rug, books, posters.)
The club then becomes the volunteer with a committee created to start the project and follow through. One or more members of the club now contacts the owner and reassures that person that this is a program to benefit young children in the area and that it will not have any cost to the laundromat/owner. ReadyNation basically provides a kit ($200-$300) to include an inexpensive book holder, initial book set, rug and the posters which have been developed specifically for this program. The Kiwanis logo can be added to any materials.
If you have questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or you may contact
Sara Watson, Director, ReadyNation, email@example.com, 240-893-3063
or Jeff Gardner, Chairman of CLA, at firstname.lastname@example.org