Category Archives: Our Programs

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

At MagazineLiteracy.org, 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:

Katie,

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”!

Magazine Recycling Lessons Learned

From time to time, I like to share responses I’ve sent to questions in emails, so our stakeholders benefit from the lessons we learn everyday.

Today I was asked, “Where did our Magazine Harvest program originate? Is it fairly new?”

Well, to make a long story long…

The idea for Magazine Harvest, our magazine recycling program, originally came to me back in 1994… Since 1985, I had been conducting food drives… standing in front of supermarkets to collect groceries for food pantries with empty shelves. I could stand in front of a store and collect 2,000 pounds of groceries in a single day. My kids were growing up and getting their magazines… I realized that the hungry families we were feeding could not afford magazines and most did not have many reading materials at home.

I wanted to change that.

For a few years, I organized magazine sponsorships between donors and schools, so I set out to grow that success to other communities, on a national, then global basis. As the internet developed, I knew I could leverage technology to accelerate our growth. Fast forward to 2004, I founded MagazineLiteracy.org. A couple of years ago, around Earth Day, it occurred to me that we could collect gently used magazines the same way food drives are organized. With research, I learned that there had been a few wonderful efforts in Seattle, North Carolina, and Hawaii, but no national or global effort. So with the help of many passionate volunteers, generous donors, and appreciative literacy agents, we’ve been collecting magazines ever since.

We have learned some important lessons since our start, and are working to improve our reach and our operations every day:

  1. moving magazines around is hard work that requires help from lots of caring, passionate people
  2. before collecting magazines, it’s important to know where you will be bringing them
  3. it’s important for agencies and new readers to receive good quality magazines.

Join us to change the world – one magazine at a time!

The power of recycling magazines to new readers

Recycling a plastic bottle instead of pitching it in the trash can create a park bench, a good cause.

Recycling a favorite magazine to a new reader can change a child’s life, launching dreams that can create an Antarctic or Mars explorer!

Help change the world… one magazine at a time!

Organize a Magazine Harvest project in your school or community.

Today was a literacy anniversary for the world and for us

We marked our third anniversary on this International Literacy Day – September 8th with the kick-off of a Magazine Harvest magazine recycling partnership at the Whole Foods Markets in West Windsor, New Jersey, near Princeton, and in Brighton just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Here we have three great volunteers – Katie Simmons with a wonderful young reader at the Brighton Whole Foods Market, and Mana Bahtt and Lauren Dymyd at the Princeton store.

The events where a huge success with lots of magazines collected from consumers that will be given to new readers in nearby homeless and domestic violence shelters, and in other local literacy programs. The bins will remain in the stores so that shoppers can drop off their magazines year-round.

Bountiful magazine harvest feeds kids and families hungry to read

After just a few weeks, we are collecting hundreds of copies of favorite magazines from consumers recycling them for literacy in KinderHarvest bins at six Starbucks locations in central New Jersey, including over 85 titles.

1. AARP
2. American Baby
3. Architectural Digest
4. Baby Talk
5. Backpacking
6. Backyard Living
7. Better Homes & Gardens
8. Black Enterprise
9. Bon Appetit
10. Budget Living
11. Car and Driver
12. Classic American Homes
13. Computer
14. Consumer Reports
15. Cooking Light
16. Country Home
17. Dog Fancy
18. Domino
19. Ebony
20. Elle Decor
21. Entertainment Weekly
22. ESPN
23. Esquire
24. Every Day with Rachael Ray
25. Everyday Food
26. Family Circle
27. Family Fun
28. Field & Stream
29. Fitness
30. Flying
31. Food & Wine
32. Fortune
33. Glamour
34. Good Housekeeping
35. Gourmet
36. GQ
37. Health
38. Highlights
39. Information Week
40. InStyle
41. In Touch
42. Ladies Home Journal
43. Marie Claire
44. Martha Stewart Living
45. Men’s Health
46. Metropolitan Home
47. Money
48. National Geographic
49. National Geographic Traveler
50. Natural Health
51. New Jersey Life
52. New York
53. Newsweek
54. at Home
55. O, the Oprah Magazine
56. Oracle
57. Outdoor Life
58. Parenting
59. Parents
60. Paste
61. People
62. Popular Science
63. Premiere
64. Preservation
65. Princeton
66. Readers Digest
67. Real Simple
68. Real Simple Travel
69. Redbook
70. Runner
71. Scholastic Parent & Child
72. Science News
73. Scientific American
74. Shape
75. Sierra
76. Smithsonian
77. Soap Opera Digest
78. Sports Illustrated
79. The Atlantic
80. The New Republic
81. The New Yorker
82. Time
83. Town & Country
84. Traditional Home
85. U.S. News & World Report
86. Vanity Fair
87. Vogue
88. Wired
89. Yoga

Coffee lovers give the gift of summer magazine reading to neighbors

I stopped in for a cup of coffee at Starbucks today and already found wonderful magazine donations piling up in our wooden KinderHarvest bin, including Bicycle and Entertainment Weekly. Keep them coming and be in touch to set up KinderHarvest in your business, school, or town. The attractive wooden crates supplied by the Tri-State Crating & Pallet Co. are a perfect fit for our magazine collections and amazing to everyone I show them to. They are sturdy “harvest” boxes, but collapsible, making storage and shipping to KinderHarvest projects in other communities a snap.

Starbucks coffee shops sow first-ever KinderHarvest magazine recycling collection from consumers to meet grassroots literacy needs

Combining their well-known passion for environmental and literacy causes, Princeton area Starbucks are among the first consumer shops in the nation to rollout the KinderHarvest magazine recycling drive for children and families learning to read. KinderHarvest breathes a new life into magazines that would otherwise be discarded and destroyed by collecting recent, gently used copies and sending them to at-risk children and families. Wooden harvest bins have been set up at participating Starbucks locations where consumers can drop of magazines for all ages. The magazines will be delivered to children and families served by nearby homeless and domestic violence shelters, as well as in bags of groceries picked up at food pantries. KinderHarvest gets wonderful magazines into the hands, homes, and hearts of children and families who want to learn and love to read. The summer, when children are away from school, is the most important time to reinforce families reading together.
KinderHarvest is like food gleaning, a practice that is thousands of years old, where crops left in the field are gathered by humanitarians to feed hungry people. Except this harvest gleans magazines that would have ended up at the curb to feed children and families hungry to read and succeed, recycling the magazines we all love to meet local literacy needs. This first-ever program combines the three R’s of education with the three R’s of recycling to promote the three R’s of magazine literacy: Read, Rescue, and Reuse. So far, KinderHarvest has collected thousands of surplus magazines from publishers, and sent them to children and families served by food banks and to children rebuilding their young lives from Hurricane Katrina. This effort expands the KinderHarvest program to create a national model that engages businesses and consumers to meet literacy needs at their own grassroots community level.