Ready to Read Early Literacy Outreach
Ready to Read is an Early Literacy Outreach program fully funded by the Library Foundation. It brings the first essential skills of reading to preschool aged children (ages 3-5). Preschoolers in child care centers or Head Start classrooms are introduced to the joys of reading by a trained Outreach representative who visits the children for story time. Following the reading session, picture books are given to both the children and their caregivers to extend the benefits of early literacy by incorporating books into everyday life.
The program targets children who are unable or are not taken by their caregivers to visit the library. It fosters skills and emphasizes concepts needed for school readiness which they may otherwise lack when attending school for the first time.
Last year, The Foundation funded over 1,000 story times to preschool aged children through the Ready to Read Outreach. Since 2008, Ready to Read has provided more than 3,900 story times and has given over 48,500 picture books to children and their caregivers.
“The children and caregivers truly benefit from this outreach program. It’s also nice being able to give children a free picture book to take home, and I am grateful to the Fairfax Library Foundation for the funding that makes this possible.
– Renee Edwards
Fairfax County Public Library’s
Early Literacy Outreach Manager
In 2002, the Foundation initiated the first early literacy program for the library, Motheread®/Fatheread®. This initiative, a literacy outreach program from The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, was funded by a federal grant, as well as private grants, including an endowment from an anonymous donor. This program served preschool children and their parents or caregivers, and has evolved into the library’s current Ready to Read program. This Foundation endowment still helps fund Early Literacy Outreach and will continue in perpetuity.
In 2006, as part of National Library Week, the Fairfax County Public Library visited the Tysons Corner shopping mall for a special Read-a-thon in the children’s literacy themed play area. Public and elected figures, including Fairfax County Supervisor Linda Smyth, read their favorite picture books for mall visitors. The Read-a-thon was sponsored by the Fairfax Library Foundation, Tysons Corner Center and Barnes & Noble.
In 2008, the Fairfax Library Foundation became a proud member of Fairfax Futures, an investment in school readiness.