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Podcasts, Flickr, and MySpace, oh my! Web 2.0 turns the table – delivering magazines to children and families hungry to read and succeed

With words worth a thousand pictures, we’ve hit on a powerful means to connect our literacy champions to the vast web of need and possibilities in every community across the U.S. by setting up their own Magazine Literacy Bee blog space on our web site.

Magazine Literacy Bees are volunteers and groups of volunteers who organize projects in their own communities, so that children and families can learn and love to read. Information about these wonderful projects is shared in the Magazine Literacy Bee blog in their own words so others can learn, step-by-step, how to organize similar efforts in their own communities.

Our first entry is by a kindergarten teacher in San Francisco who is organizing his class of students to set up a KinderHarvest magazine collection effort for children in a nearby homeless shelter. When I read the heartfelt entry, I felt, “Wow! We’ve struck a chord at the core of personal and community values that marries a love for magazines to a love for children and families learning to read.” There will be thousands more entries to come, by grassroots bloggers from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Gulf to the Great Lakes.

I know now, after many years of very hard work and tens of thousands of children and families reached, that we’ve unleashed an energy that is unstoppable and will sweep like the rising sun across the U.S. landscape. We’ve kept the flame burning and reached this point of critical mass by the faith, support, and inspiration of many special magazine literacy champions.

Our greatest challenge and responsibility is reaching the thousands of people who want to support literacy needs in their own communities – to inform and engage this massive universe of literacy change agents who then organize local literacy programs, and sponsor the needs of teachers and other literacy agents. We are able to achieve great success in magazine delivery by leveraging many advanced social networking and other Web 2.0 technologies. For example, in addition to our online content management systems, blogs, and online forms, we leverage the Flickr photo sharing site to spotlight wonderful literacy events. We have begun Facebook, LinkedIn, Second Life (MagazineLiteracy Kidd), and MySpace pages to broaden our audience. We are exploring the value of digital versions of print magazines in terms of increased access and literacy. We’ve been invited to speak on podcasts and will continue to reach out to these and other web media outlets to grow awareness and participation in our community based literacy efforts. We also leverage online, community fundraising tools, such as ChipIn, Fundable, and Network for Good, so that groups can join together to pool their support for literacy needs. Our Kids Magazine Airlift program is a first-ever program where consumers can purchase magazine gifts online at publisher web sites for at-risk children and families in their community or across the country. supplies the mailing addresses of early learning and after-school mentoring programs, foster group homes, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and other literacy programs. All of this work is made possible by the volunteers who connect to via VolunteerMatch, Craigslist, and other web tools.

An illiterate person is unable to read a cereal box, a job application, or web page. So ours is a campaign where print magazines meet the web and together achieve even greater possibilities in our effort the find and feed children and families hungry to read and succeed. Join us.

  • Adult Literacy Plus Of Southwest Arizona

    501(c)(3) Charity, School or Library, Adult Education, GED
    Yuma, AZ
    Serving a minimum of 150 students a month ranging in ages from 16 to 70 years old. Reading levels range from third grade to first-year college levels. However, the most common age of students is between 19 and 35.
    Needs: Approximately 150 magazines per month
    Magazines Requested: Magazines showing places, people, and animals around the world. Any magazines about hobbies or sports. Magazines that open students’ eyes to the world around them.

  • Senior Star Adult Medical Daycare

    Mentoring, Job Training, and Education
    100 people age 50 and older and 50 people age 21-40
    Ewing, NJ, USA
    Needs: 180 Magazines
    Magazines Requested: culinary skills magazines (30), home magazines (30), computer magazines (30), learning magazines (30), and entertainment magazines (50)

  • Mile High Youth Corps

    501(c)(3) charity
    Needs: 30 to 100 magazines
    Magazines Requested:
    For Corps members to read to their children: -Kids -Kids Discover -Sports Illustrated Kids -Humpty Dumpty -Hop scotch for Girls -Chick-a-dee -Highlights -Hello -Turtle -Yum for Kids.
    For Corps members to read on their own: -Readers Digest -National Geographic -Sports Illustrated -Make -Men’s Health -Ebony -Kiplinger -Self -O -The New Yorker -Wired

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