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Reach Out and Read

The Curious George Store Collaboration was launched late in 2018, with a dual mission:

  • To provide parents of children 0-5 with additional coaching on the vital importance of reading together at home, and instruction on how to do so, even for parents with no English or reading abilities; and to provide parents with the basic skills of positive parenting that will encourage self-worth in young children
  • To provide parents with children 0-5 in MA with practice stories, activities, games that reinforce reading readiness, language development, and vocabulary

The first priority of the Collaboration was to design, populate, and launch a website.  The domain ‘Curiousconnections.club’ was secured as a ‘landing page’ that could be reached either through the Curious George Store site or through Reach Out and Read’s network of doctors that ‘prescribe’ reading together for parents of children 0-5.

A list of potential site content was presented to The Curious George Store owner, Astra Titus, and to the CEO of Reach Out and Read (‘ROR’) for approval in July 2019.  A scope and sequence for content development and a schedule for content development, approvals and revisions were also presented, with a firm launch date for the website of October 1.


$35,000

Awarded

Marketing

The Collaboration drafted for Reach Out and Read a) a letter to be distributed to its network of doctors in MA that would encourage the doctors to provide its network of 300,000 parents of children 0-5 with links to the new website and b) a letter doctors could then send parents,  ‘prescribing’ the parental coaching and practice materials on that site, once the site was launched.  The letters were sent out by Reach Out and Read to all MA sites Oct 16, 2019, in the ROR newsletter.

Site Design

The website design was managed by ‘WillisWorks’ based in Hanson MA, with ‘Bold Everything’ as a subcontractor.  Initial designs were submitted for approval, revisions were suggested, and final designs were approved the last week of September 2019.

The website includes:

  1. A new home page, for The Curious George Store website, with two distinct ‘doors’: one would open to the nonprofit, educational site for the collaboration, the other would open to The CG store merchandising.
  2. A new landing page for the Collaboration site, with tabs to each category of content
  3. A parent’s page, with links to
    • A positive parenting video
    • A read-together coaching video for parents, modelling at-home reading for ages 0-5
    • A read-together coaching video in 8 languages for parents
    • Three areas of conversational topics suggested to encourage language and vocabulary development between parent and child, at groceries, in the car, and in the kitchen
  4. About Us Page (An overview of the collaboration, and background on Reach Out and Read, an early childhood literacy nonprofit serving 4.7 million children 0-5 a year)
  5. Storytelling page (note: the collaboration advises parents to provide no screen time for children until the age of 2) with scripts to help parents read with children interactively, and audio narrations for stories by Tom Chapin, Emmy winning musician
    • The Womp and The Wigwam (ages 2-4)
    • The Womp and the Missing Wigwam (ages 2-4)
    • The Womp to the Rescue (ages 2-4)
    • Jasmine (ages 2-4)
    • Bentley and Blueberry (ages 2-4)
    • Hope (ages 3-5)
    • Buster, Where Are You? (ages 5-6)
    • Ruffle, Coo and Hoo Doo (ages 5-6)
    • Chocolate, A Glacier Grizzly (ages 5-6)
    • Freefall (ages 5-6)
    • In Wheelwright Park, Don’t Bite! Don’t Bark! (ages 5-6) (a free downloadable storybook, in exchange for signing up for the club)

Two animated videos, narrated by Tom Chapin

    • Wolves in Yellowstone (ages 4-6)
    • Chessie The Travelin Man (ages 4-6)
  1. Activities Pages
    • 8 activities reinforcing early childhood literacy skills as well as early math skills
    • 2 games reinforcing early childhood literacy skills
    • Coloring pages, reinforcing reading readiness skills
  2. A children’s Art Gallery, with 16 original artworks by children, to encourage creativity
The Positive Parenting Video

The positive parenting video was researched, outlined, and scripted by the Collaboration E.D. and approved by the CG store and by Reach Out and Read.  The Video was shot by a videographer, Jennifer Spier of Pembroke, MA, and edited and produced by Willisworks of Hanson, MA.

Permissions from authors, illustrators, and Emmy winning narrator, Tom Chapin, for all stories and pre-published books, copyrighted to The Benefactory, Inc., and carried on the Collaboration site, were negotiated and obtained by the Collaboration E.D.

Impact and outcomes

‘Bold Everything,’ site design and hosting subcontractor, has been tabulating site visitation, source information, page visitation, repeat visitation, for the first month (October.)  As the ROR distribution via newsletter only went out Oct 16, this is partial information.  ROR has indicated that it may resend the letter to doctors in December.

Website results

October 16 – Nov 16 results

1362 page views

726 sessions

528 new users

1.11 sessions per user

1.9 pages per session

24.24% windows

Bounce rate 68.65%

Operating system 72.9% IOS, 27.1% Android

Source of visit: 442, The Curious George Store.com site; 86% direct; .56% google