March 2024 Newsletter

Let's Get Reading!

March is National Reading Month, a time to reflect on the profound impact reading holds in transforming lives and promoting literacy across individuals, communities, and society as a whole. To celebrate, Reading Power hosted read-aloud events in two of our programs, featuring children's authors Lori Degman and Clothilde Ewing.

March is also Women's History Month. Lori Degman, accomplished children's author and current Reading Power tutor, visited Whitman Elementary School to celebrate. Lori gave a moving presentation on perseverance and shared her picture book, "Like a Girl," with all kindergarten through second grade students. Degman profiles 24 amazing women in the book, from civil rights activist Rosa Parks to astronaut Sally Ride, who took risks, acted up, broke barriers, and transformed the world.

Degman, a seasoned educator passionate about literacy, joined Reading Power as a tutor in the fall. Of her time with the organization, Lori shared, "As soon as I learned about Reading Power, I knew I had to become a tutor. I love working with my students, and I'm amazed at how much progress they've made. Reading Power is a wonderful program!"

Learn more about Lori and her six additional books on her website, or visit Amazon to purchase them.

Clothilde Ewing, author of "Stella Keeps Up the Sun" and "Stella and the Mystery of the Missing Tooth," recently visited our Little Fort Elementary Reading Power students. Ewing's writing journey began with inspiration from a New York Times article titled: "Black Kids Don't Want to Read About Harriet Tubman All the Time." Her goal is for people to see more children of color in books that are not defined primarily by race or struggle but by belonging and joy. 

During her visit to Little Fort School, Ewing engaged the students by reading her books and sharing her vibrant storytelling. She generously donated copies of her books to each of our ten sites, enhancing our classroom libraries. Ewing's works and some suggested titles of additional diverse children's books below are available through indiebound and Amazon.

"The Skin You Live In" by Michael Tyler 

"The Year We Learned to Fly" by Jacqueline Woodson 

"Fly" by Brittany J. Thurman 

"Your Name is a Song" by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

"Nells Plants a Tree" by Anne Wynter 

"A Year of Black Joy: Black Voices Share Their Life Passions" by Jamia Wilson and Jade Orlando

Tickets On Sale Now!

Join us as Reading Power marks two decades of efforts in early childhood literacy with a cocktail and dinner benefit at the Westin Chicago North Shore on Thursday, April 25. The celebration will honor key individuals associated with the organization, including co-founder Mary Jane Hender and volunteer tutor Amanda Wright. Visit our website to learn more and to purchase tickets.

Are you unable to attend but still want to support our 20th Anniversary? Consider honoring a member of the Reading Power community with a dedicated tribute to appear on our digital event program. Purchase tributes at the link below.

Purchase Tributes 

Pajama Party Literacy Night

Reading Power was thrilled to participate in Beulah Park Elementary School’s recent Pajama Party Literacy Night. Families gathered for an evening of storytelling, crafts, and snacks. Students were sent home with Reading Power resource bags and books for their home libraries.

Reach for the Stars Kick-off Night

We are sending a huge thank you to our Reading Power friends and family who joined us on February 29 at the STUDIO @ Westmoreland Farm to hear more about our upcoming Reach for the Stars: Celebrating 20 Years of Literacy Success event on Thursday, April 25, at The Westin Chicago North Shore. 

Click to Purchase Tickets

Our Mission

Our mission is to accelerate children’s literacy learning and develop their love for reading and writing 

Our Vision

We envision a world where all children have a strong literacy foundation to support lifelong learning

Reading Power Board of Directors

Kathy McFarland, PhD, Chairman

Kathleen Cowie, Vice Chairman

Jim Young, MBA, Treasurer

Ann Bates, EdD, Secretary

Joanie Alley, MSEd

Rob Davis, JD, MBA

Mary Jane Hender, EdD

Todd Litzsinger

Rahul Malhotra, MBA

Jonathan McGee, MBA

Melinda Mooney

Pratik Patel, JD

Sara Poticha

Jacalyn Ramdin-Johnson, MBA

Beverly Raudabaugh, MBA

Frank Sibley

Peter Ting, CPA

Arthur Turner

Mary Weber, MA

Rev. Dr. Gordon Butcher, DMin, Emeritus

Reading Power Staff

Lisa Bulzoni, MEd, CEO 

Kristin Fine, MEd, Director of Programs

Viri Perez, MEd, Associate Director of Programs

Jen Barnabee, EdS, Program Specialist and Site Coordinator

Kate Burke, BS, Marketing and Communications Manager

Grace Drake, BA, Development Manager

Beth Zender, MEd, Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator

Daniela Cruz, Office Manager

Annette Anderson, Assistant Site Coordinator

Karen Citow, MA, Assistant Site Coordinator

Julie Collishaw, MA, Site Coordinator

Brooke Davis, MEd, Site Coordinator

Rachael Deutsch, BA, Assistant Site Coordinator

Julie DiGuiseppe, BS, Assistant Site Coordinator

Andrea Glickman, MAEd, Site Coordinator

Marla Guziec, BS, Site Coordinator

Joy Israel, BA. Assistant Site Coordinator

Randi Klawans, MEd, Site Coordinator 

Carole Klein-Alexander, MAT, Assistant Site Coordinator 

Melissa Kumin, MEd, Site Coordinator

Aimee Lewis, MEd, Site Coordinator

Debbie Loring, MSEd, Site Coordinator

Katie Michols, MEd, Site Coordinator

Susie Olefsky, MEd, Site Coordinator 

Kristy Pfeffer, BA, Assistant Site Coordinator 

Cathy Plate, MSEd, Assistant Site Coordinator

Heather Rosenblatt, MAT, Site Coordinator

Emily Sampson, BA, Assistant Site Coordinator 

Mandy Siegel, MEd, Site Coordinator 

Elizabeth Soling, AA, Assistant Site Coordinator

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