October School Readiness Book: Young readers learn about finding reassurance and hope in difficult times

School Readiness Associated Bank 

Michelle with Associated Bank introduces 'The Kissing Hand' to pre-k students in Miss Rachel's class at Donald C. Parker Early Education Center. (Photo: United Way of Rock River Valley)

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/05/2015) – This month, over 4,000 pre-k students will receive The Kissing Hand / Un Beso en Mi Mano as part of October's book title for Success By 6® Page Turner Reading Program. The program is part of United Way's school readiness initiative that helps children birth to age 6 learn, grow, and enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Members from Associated Bank and United Way introduced the book to classrooms in Harlem and Rockford schools.

In The Kissing Hand, school is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester's fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret call the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love nay time his world feels a little scary. Written by Audrey Penn, this heartwarming children's classic is widely used by pre-k and kindergarten teachers to confront the many emotions children experience during the start of a school year.

Each month during the school year, pre-k children receive their very own age-appropriate book selected by early childhood specialists. Children begin to build their personal libraries and parents receive tips on ways to engage their young child in learning at home. Teachers also incorporate activities developed around each book title into their classroom curriculum. Books and materials are provided for English- and Spanish-speaking families.

United Way of Rock River Valley, in collaboration with City of Rockford Head Start, The Diocese of Rockford, Harlem School District #122, Kreative K, Montessori, Rockford Lutheran School, and Rockford Public Schools District #205, assists educators in developing pre-literacy skills in students that are essential for kindergarten readiness. Since the majority of brain development occurs between birth and age five, quality early learning and care programs have a profound impact on lifelong success and support cognitive, social and emotional development.

For more information, visit United Way's Success By 6 initiaitive or contact Ella Nelson, Impact Coordinator, by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.