Frequently Asked Questions


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FAQ's and Answers

What is the Campaign for Grade Level Reading?

The Campaign is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation—grade-level reading by the end of third grade.

Is "Raise Me to Read" in more than one community?

Yes.  Southwest Iowa Raise Me to Read is the original local campaign, and it has been in existence for over eight years.  When Metro-Omaha joined the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, it did so in partnership with the Council Bluffs.  In order to better serve our communities, we will continue to share the name and website, and will work together on such events as benefit both communities.  We are both members of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

What are the main tenets of Metro-Omaha RMtR?

In line with the national campaign, our focus is on the importance of PARENTS as the “secret sauce” for the future success of their children; EARLY LITERACY so that children are ready for school; READING BY 3RD GRADE which is a key indicator of future success and is the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”; ATTENDANCE, because student attendance is related to student success, and absences are a predictor of future difficulties; EXTENDED LEARNING due to the fact that over 80% of a child’s time is spent out of school and there is a need to ensure that all children have access to enriching activities and time to read.  The Campaing also has a focus on the needs of the FAMILY, recognizing that most school achievement issues stem from unresolved needs in the home (from mental/medical help to basic needs like housing and food). Metro-Omaha RMtR also believes EDUCATING the public about ACE’s is key, and that ENGAGING the public via information and conversation about the importance of daily interactions between children and their parents and other caring adults is essential.

What is "Vroom" and why does the Metro-Omaha Campaign for Grade Level Reading recommend this for anyone with babies and children?

Vroom is a website and application found at .  Vroom believes “all parents want what’s best for their children. So we joined with scientists, researchers, and parents to take the science out of the lab and put it in the hands of caregivers. Vroom provides science-based tips and tools to inspire families to turn shared, everyday moments into Brain Building Moments®.”   Metro-Omaha RMtR recommends Vroom because it encourages parents and other caring adults to interact with children.  It is these interactions which build brain architecture.

What is the importance of reading actual books?

“Reading is not hardwired in our brain the way language is.  The brain learns to read by what it reads and how it reads.” Reading text in a book builds background knowledge, empathy by being present in the story of others, builds analytical processes in the brain, and cognitive patience. Our brains see text differently online and as society has changed how it reads and why it reads, our attention is “broken into bits”.  Online we read in zigzag fashion and, in our attempt to quickly grasp content, we miss important details and information and we also train our brains to prefer a quickened view over a deep dive. There is also a significant, real connection lost when a iPad is handed to a child instead of a child sitting with a parent and reading a book. (Maryanne Wolf)

What is "Brain Arcitecture?

“Brains are built over time, from the bottom up. The basic architecture of the brain is constructed through an ongoing process that begins before birth and continues into adulthood. Simpler neural connections and skills form first, followed by more complex circuits and skills. In the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second.”  –Harvard Center for the Developing Child. 

Why is "play" so important?

“Research demonstrates that developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain. Furthermore, play supports the formation of the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships with all caregivers that children need to thrive.

Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (ie, the process of learning, rather than the content), which allow us to pursue goals and ignore distractions.”   (Michael Yogman

"Urban Thinksape" -- what is that?

Urban Thinkscapes are spaces and places that  “bring the benefits of playful learning, which combines the enjoyable nature of play with a learning goal, to a community setting. Examples include puzzles at bus stops that stimulate spatial skills; movable parts on park benches that become opportunities for exploring language, color, and numbers while on-site signage and resources connect families to additional information and resources about the links between play and learning”.  In addition to the Urban Thinkscape link, information can be found at

Do Urban Thinkscapes exist in Metro-Omaha?

No. Not yet.  Vision and planning has begun with the help of Stephen Osberg of Omaha’s Connect-Go initiative at the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Debora Wisneski of the University of Nebraska College of Health Education and Human Science (a nationally recognized expert in the benefits of play), and Metro-Omaha Raise Me to Read.  

What are Adverse Childhood Experiences?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) are childhood experiences that harm children’s developing brains and lead to changing how they respond to stress and damaging their immune systems so profoundly that the effects show up decades later. ACEs cause much of our burden of chronic disease, most mental illness, and are at the root of most violence.

Why are ACE's part of an early literacy campaign?

Adverse Childhood Experiences affect brain development, and so it is important that all in our community come to understand ACE’s.  Children who experience toxic stress caused by ACE’s often come to school not-ready to learn, and many have difficulty with self-regulation; therefore, ACE’s affect learning, social emotional well being, and achievement.

What ACE's information is available in Metro-Omaha?

Our ally, The Well Being Partners, released a Mental Health/ACE’s Call to Action report in 2020.  Over 60% of adults report experiencing at least one ACE. 15.1% report experiencing four or more ACE’s.

From their Report:  “According to the CDC, ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood. ACEs can negatively impact education and job opportunities in adulthood.” 

How can I learn more about Adverse Childhood Experiences?

Metro-Omaha RMtR supports showings of the James Redford and KPJM Films documentary “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope”.   Contact for dates and registration information.

What can I do to help?
  • Download Vroom and use with the little ones you know
  • Be that “One Extra Person” — #BeTheOne  — for a baby, child, adolescent, young adult
  • Read real books.  Model reading to others, read to and with babies and children
  • Engage with babies, children and young adults in:  Play, Exploration (nature, neighborhood, any new-to-you place, animal, insect, stars, etc. . . .), Drawing, Singing & Dancing
  • Explore the information on this website and share with others.
  • Follow Metro-Omaha Raise Me to Read on Social Media and Blog
  • Attend events held, such as virtual screenings of Resilience:  The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope
  • Remind others of the importance of “showing up” — to work, to school, to church services, to ball practices.  Teach children how important attendance is.