Category Archives: Magazines

The Grand Magazine of Magazines

I took a brief respite from my preoccupation with where magazines are now and where they are headed when I accidentally surfed into The Grand Magazine of Magazines – Issues August – December, 1750, published in London and digitized by Google.

It’s a fascinating cornucopia of articles across many disciplines – literature, poetry, economics and business, foreign affairs, science, and DIY. Compare to what we might read today in Astronomy magazine about Pluto dethroned to the article on page 254 about the solar system then – known only out to the planet Saturn. Martha Stewart and fans might enjoy the article on page 257 entitled A New Method of Making Pictures of Birds with their Natural Feathers. There were stock prices in London for each month and a curious Bill of Mortality at the end of each issue showing the number of christenings (about 1,400 per month) and burials (about 2,500 per month) – sadly more than 700 under the age of terrible two.

The diversion was well worth my attention and reminded me to reach out to the folks at Readers Digest to add the magazine to our literacy portfolio.

Mad men and women of Rowan University tell our story to publishers

Future mad men and women in the Rowan University Ad Dynamics student advertising agency have created a media kit for to present our mission and goals to magazine industry executives.  The media kit explains how every magazine industry stakeholder has a role to play in promoting the use of magazines to meet the literacy needs of community agencies serving at-risk children and families.  Magazines offer literacy leaders unique benefits.  The media kit includes an interview with Katie Simmons who is spearheading the creation of a model recycled magazine distribution center in Boston.  The students who helped create the media kit are: Mirian Martinez, Kristyn Chiavaro, Jon Faronea, Stephanie Lutz, Kyle Hayes, and Brianna Rozzi, president of the club.

Who, What, Where, When, Why magazines for literacy?

At, we love to celebrate the amazing work being done at the literacy agencies that help us to get the magazines you love into the hands, hearts, and homes of children and families who want to learn and love to read them. Books are vital for reading and literacy, but here are some stories that explain why new and recycled magazines are so special. Here is some compelling feedback from the Sojourner House transitional housing program in Roxbury, Massachusetts:


Thank you so much for the service you provide to the children and their parents here at Sojourner House. The families love receiving magazines from you each month. Many of the school-aged children are overwhelmed by books because of their length, as well as the lack of pictures. The magazines that you bring each month provide a way for the children, who otherwise would not read, to be engaged in reading, which is so crucial in their ability to do well in school. They love having colored pictures to go along with what they’re reading. One of the boys at the shelter loves to draw characters from some of the comic books you bring, and he writes stories to go along with his drawings. I am thrilled that his love of reading comics has given him the desire to use his imagination and write his own stories.

The younger children love the magazines as well. The magazines you bring to the shelter, such as High Five, contain short stories that the child and an adult can read together, which encourages parent-child bonding and is so important for a young child’s growth. One of the girls at the shelter loves to do the activities, such as “Hidden Pictures.” She brings a magazine with her when she goes out, which gives her something engaging to do in the car. I’m confident that it’s helping her build skills that will help her once she begins school.

Not only are the magazines you bring us each month beneficial to the children, but the consumer magazines give the parents something to do, which they really appreciate. One of the parents showed me an article she read about healthy eating that she wanted to share with her teenage daughter. The consumer and teen magazines have many great articles that are very relevant to the lives of the guests who live at the shelter.

Once again, thank you for your encouragement of literacy at the shelter. I hope you will continue to bring magazines to various places that are in need of magazines, including our shelter.

Brenda German
Child Advocate
Sojourner House

And from the Boston Family Shelter

Since Katie started dropping off magazines to our shelter the children really enjoy reading the magazines. When Katie stops by the shelter and drops off the magazines I put labels on them with the child’s name on them to make the magazine personalized. Katie – thank you for the labels. All the children love the magazines. Even though some of the children have moved into housing they still come back to the shelter to look for the magazines.

Anthony is a 9 year old third grade boy that resides at the Boston Family Shelter. He was in the shelter for about 2 years. Anthony has been reading below grade level for the past 2 years. He is an excellent reader – he just can not comprehend what he reads.

The first day Anthony received his magazine he said, “Wow!” “Cool!” He began to start reading as soon as he picked the magazine. I was so surprised to see him reading, because he always told me how much he hates to read. About two days later, Anthony told me how he would read his magazine at school during quiet time, and he would let his friends read the magazines also.  Anthony reads to his 3 year old sister Jade more often, and now he is comfortable reading out loud.

The magazines have given Anthony more confidence. Before the magazines Anthony would skip over words instead of sounding them out. Now, when he reads, he sounds out the words. Even though Anthony is going to summer school, his reading grade level for the last term went from a D to a B+. That is a great improvement.

Anthony’s mother is extremely happy to see he is finally starting to read. Sometimes it is still hard to get him to read a book. When Anthony goes to the library, he takes out magazines.

This new beginning is a absolutely amazing for Anthony. We hope Anthony will continue to improve the next school year.  We at the Boston Family Shelter would like to thank Katie and all organizations that donate magazines to our shelter.

And another from the West End House Boys & Girls Club

Hi Katie,

I just wanted to drop you a line & thank you so very much for the continuing donations of great magazines to our Club!

There is tremendous variety, great content & lots of fun for the kids who enjoy them here & I have used them both as the focus of different programs & as supplemental backdrop for general literacy.

Since you began bringing us magazines for different age groups, they can be found on every floor in the building & in every program-area of the Club.

The medium of “magazine is an interesting way of engaging kids in reading and learning. Somehow it’s non-threatening to pick up, with no obligation to finish, & you look cool while browsing & smart if you’re deeply involved in an article. Also easy to share – I’ve repeatedly seen kids call out to their friends to “come check this out!” and soon there is a circle of young people all wanting to see!

Thanks for your dedication to the kids here at the West End House Boys & Girls Club & we all look forward to the next “drop”!

If you love your magazines, set them free… trendsetting consumers share their magazine collections with less fortunate neighbors

One of the great joys of being involved with a project like, because it is an ongoing, national, magazine industry-wide literacy campaign for children and families, is that it puts you on the leading edge of new phenomena. You can energize and drive fresh consumer behavior and trends. It’s both an opportunity and responsibility. launched the KinderHarvest program to collect recent copies of gently used magazines from consumers that are recycled to children and families – new readers in homeless and domestic violence shelters and other community programs. Hundreds of copies of magazines are collected each week in wooden harvest bins and in other ways in cities across the U.S., with efforts getting started from Boston to San Francisco and from Chicago to Dallas.

Those who love magazines, as I do, know that it is not uncommon to have collections of favorite titles that span many years. Whether it’s scouring Ebay for every issue of Wooden Boat magazine or adding to your collection each month every issue of Oprah magazine Martha Stewart Living, we have a love affair with our magazines. During the past couple of years, the Magazine Publishers of America, a steady partner and friend of our work, has celebrated this affinity with a marketing campaign that focuses on the powerful forces that “engage” magazine readers.

With KinderHarvest, we are noticing a phenomenon that builds on the tremendous personal value we place on our magazines – entire collections of magazine titles that span many years are showing up in our recycling bins at Starbucks and other locations. Consumers who could not bear to toss their periodical collections are willing to share them with others. This is a most precious act of kindness that further demonstrates the great value of the recycling channel that we have set up to connect communities of readers. The following note that I received today from a volunteer in Dallas underscores this wonderful trend:

Please let me know of any way I could help you in this project. I… have, many, many, MANY, magazines laying around the house.( Can’t throw ’em away…)

If you love your magazines, set them free, so others may learn and love to read them!

Kindergarten KinderHarvest Coast to Coast

We now have two kindergarten teachers, Ron in San Francisco and Katie in Boston, organizing KinderHarvest efforts with or for their students, giving us coast to coast activity and representing the awesome power of single individuals who take it upon themselves to make a difference. The amazing thing as that each teacher jumped into action within 24 hours of getting in touch with, and as you will see below, have put together comprehensive plans for finding lots of magazines to recycle for literacy. They are wonderfully relentless! Our Boston teacher has connected with another great KinderHarvest leader in Boston, Katie Simmons, forming a collaboration that is already fueling both their efforts.

Here’s an excerpt from our Magazine Literacy Bee blog about Ron’s effort in San Francisco:

Hi everyone! …I teach kindergarten in San Francisco. Recently, my class has been doing a lot of science work in the area of ecology and recycling, so I was trying to figure out a good field trip to support that… last Saturday I hooked up with and posted that I was interested in helping the environment. Right away they had me linked with the KinderHarvest program, which provides a route for helping us get our schools’ and families’ “gently used” magazines to local homeless kids and youth… we are currently looking into local programs that service homeless kids and families. I even mentioned KinderHarvest to my students yesterday at dismissal time, and they seemed genuinely enthusiastic to get involved. It’s very exciting to think that my students will be getting a unique, hands-on experience in helping reuse products, and thus “saving the earth” in their own small way. Also, they will get the added bonus of actually being able to help in some small way those who need it, which I am sure will be a real awareness-raiser as time goes on.

Here is what Katie, the Boston kindergarten teacher reports:

I would also like to focus on generating magazines for food banks and shelters… Here are some of my ideas for how to gather as many magazines as possible… I have good friends who work at schools that they would be willing to contact their parents’ families about it… I have a friend who works at a local hospital, so I’m sure she’d be able collect a lot of children’s magazines… the library is right across the street from me, so I will check in with them to see if the librarians would be willing to contribute magazines… I have collected quite a stack of extra new and gently used Scholastic magazines over the past year that I would be willing to donate… I will scout out nearby grocery/convenience stores with good collections of children’s magazines…

Here are some ideas from Katie Simmons, a Boston KinderHarvest leader:

I’ve begun to reach out to shelters and foodbanks in my area, and a local Boys & Girls club has expressed interest in receiving magazine – especially with the summer months coming… I have a preschool teacher friend who agreed to have a collection bin. Many of the parents have older children so I am hoping they have subscriptions to donate… I have a friend who is an elementary school principal who will share Highlights magazines… I have made contact with the Children’s Room at the library, which agreed to share their older magazines for children. I picked up Ladybug, Babybug, Cricket and Cobbletone… I have a contact at a nearby hospital that receives monthly mags that would just get tossed or recycled, so she said I am welcome to come by an get them… I will also ask a friend in the suburbs who is part of a babysitting co-op, to email her huge audience to request magazine donations… I would think supermarkets and pharmacies would be a great places to set up a magazine drive!

Let’s get going in all the communities between Boston and San Francisco, and between Chicago and New Orleans!

Dream things that never were and say why not

I was recently asked if the Magazine Publishers Family Literacy Project was a person, who would it be?

I choose Robert Kennedy whose inspiration is a driving force for generations to come. It is a humanitarian choice about what he symbolizes as a person, not a partisan or politician, as so eloquently voiced by his brother Senator Edward Kennedy:

My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

Some see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not.

This is the essence of our relentless campaign to mobilize citizens, businesses, organizations, and schools, and other literacy champions to find and to feed the children and families hungry to read and succeed in their and our communities… to get magazines into the hands, homes, and hearts of our neighbors who what to learn and love to read.

The Three R’s of Literacy – Read, Recycle, & Reuse

Near Earth Day, 2006, launched KinderHarvest, an effort that combines the three R’s of education – reading, writing, and arithmetic – with the three R’s of recycling – reduce, reuse, and recycle – to form the three R’s of literacy:
Read, Recycle, & Reuse.

  • Read – We love to read magazines! Magazines are informative, entertaining, topical, timely, and colorful. Reading magazines produces joy for people of all ages. Magazines are an important resource for teachers and other community literacy agents helping children and adults learn to read.
  • Recycle – Help set up a project in your community to collect recent, gently used magazines. Think of collection points that are convenient for your neighbors, places where people go on a regular and frequent basis, such as the public library, a book or magazine store, a school, church, bank, or supermarket. Ask permission to set up a KinderHarvest magazine literacy collection bin.
  • Reuse – Reach out to community programs that serve young people or adults who would enjoy reading the magazines. Ask them about who and how many children, adults or families they serve and what kinds of magazines would be most helpful, based on needs, interests, gender, and age. So each can receive a magazine in good condition, that they can call their own, and to respect the privacy of donors, carefully remove any mailing labels or cover label information with a black permanent marker. Then put a gift label on each magazine and deliver them to the community agencies you have found.

Children and families arrive at homeless and domestic violence shelters with no possessions. Each could receive a wonderful magazine gift from your KinderHarvest project with their very own name on the label. Hundreds of families near every community rely on bags of groceries they receive from food pantries. How wonderful it would be to feed children and families hungry to read and succeed by inserting a magazine in each grocery bag. Be a literacy agent of change in the lives of others by seeking out these programs, early learning programs, after-school mentoring and nutrition programs in your community, understanding their needs and collecting wonderful magazines from your neighbors for reuse.