Learning Connections, Inc., was created by Judy Guenzel in 2006. Judy taught kindergarten, first, and second grades for 26 years for Lincoln Public Schools in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 2002, she was contacted by the creators of the television program Reading Rainbow and asked to work on a project for them. This work created the opportunity for her to become their Educational Consultant. One of her tasks was to create literacy kits, of which they sold over 18,000 in three years. Other responsibilities included writing curriculum guides, theme weeks, and lesson plans for the Reading Rainbow website. Judy also created and presented a variety of workshops in California, Ohio, Missouri, and Kansas.
Judy wrote the literacy kit The Piggy in the Puddle for Reading Rainbow that won the Parents’ Choice Award from Learning Magazine in 2004, an award judged by teachers.
After Reading Rainbow was sold in February, 2006, Judy started her own business, Learning Connections, Inc. She saw a tremendous need for such literacy kits and parent packs to enhance children’s literacy skills as well as promote parent involvement. Along with a very important team of a graphic designer, a translator, and an illustrator, and with medical consultants for healthy living kits, she has created twenty-three literacy kits and parent packs to date and has sold over 20,000 in forty states. Most of the literacy kits and parent packs are available in both English and Spanish.
Other vital contributors to the literacy kits include:
- Diane Miller, who worked for Great Plains National, the creators of Reading Rainbow, and for Educate, Inc., provides all of the graphic design for the products of Learning Connections.
- Lori Pierce is a freelance artist who creates all of the Learning Connections artwork.
- Josie Filipi, a Parent Educator with Crete Public Schools, does all of the Spanish translations for Learning Connections.
- Carol Abele, a Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetic Educucator, is a medical advisor for our children’s health kits.
- January Otto is a dental hygenist who provided dental health information for the literacy kit, “Taking Care of My Teeth.”
- Karen Ricker is a physical education consultant who was given the prestigious STARS award. Karen advised on the literacy kit, “Being Active”.
- Gail Smith, who owns a Child Development Center, advised on the literacy kit, “Up, Down, and Around”.
- Alycia Fox is an elementary teacher and contributed to the literacy kit, “Charlotte’s Web”.