National Readers Month is Ending and So is Our Second Year!

When we launched the Reading Tub(tm) web site in October 2003, we didn’t even know it was National Reading Month. We were just wrapped up in our passion to help families find great books to share with the children in their lives.

It was with great anticipation that I began digging through all the “stuff” I’ve collected this past year to see how our Second Anniversary compares to our first. I was expecting some great things, but the list of accomplishments is just HUGE.

So before I begin the short list, I want to say Thank You to all who have helped us spread the word. What began as a “hobby” is now a 501(c)(3) public charity that is slowly but surely, making itself a recognized player in the world of literacy. An extra heartfelt thanks goes to all of the authors and publishers who contacted me about sending books to Operation Katrina Relief sponsored by Be the Star You Are! That one note generated donations of about 500 books.

Do you know any readers in Wyoming? Wyoming is one of only ten states who don’t have registered readers with the Reading Tub. We jumped from 27 states to 40 this year, and expanded beyond Canada (now four provinces, vice two) and the United Kingdom, to South Africa and the United Arab Emirates! Email me if you want to help my campaign to reach all 50 states by next October.

How big is that book bag, anyway? Well, more than 165 authors and publishers found us this year, sending us just under 300 new titles. Most of those have arrived since June! We’ve read a BUNCH of the books and our virtual book bag has grown from 125 to 422. To think we began with just 75 reviews in 2003!

Who are the people important to you? The volunteers who are as passionate as we are. Over the past year we’ve significantly increased the number of volunteers who work with us. We now have family readers in four states, and we’ve had some recent interest by several other folks (including kids) who want to support the Reading Tub as part of a Community Service commitment.

Some of our favorite people are our featured authors. We truly appreciate the time they take to tell us the story behind the story of the books they write, as well as their interest in helping us promote literacy with young readers. We thought it would be tough to get just one author per quarter. Now we’re posting three interviews in every issue of The Wash Rag.

The other group on our short list are our partners. We have continued to build our partnership with Be the Star You Are! and have added some new partnerships as well. We get a lot of books here in the Reading Tub(tm). When we finish our reviews, we donate the books to groups that can further ‘spread the word’ and help under served youth and families with literacy. We have selected The I AM Foundation and Lulallee Productions as the recipients of our books. Similarly, we are working with Shanelle and Paul Cody’s Parties 4 Literacy to promote family literacy.

Last but not least, we are supporting the Save Reading Rainbow campaign and the Mom’s Choice Awards in partnership with the Just for Mom Foundation.

So What’s Next? Well, if Year Three is anything like what these past two have been, our growth will continue to keep us energized and excited. We’ve been blessed with surprises and opportunities … and we have no reason to expect that to change. Our goal is to implement some of the in-school projects by next fall (if not a summer camp or two), build out the parenting pages with some literacy tools and options by next summer, and, in general, strengthen our position as a literacy advocate.

So here’s to you for helping us on this journey, paving opportunities and success for our children!