Ready to Read Early Literacy Outreach

Early Literacy Outreach.Ready to Read is an early literacy outreach program which focuses on the essential first steps in fostering literacy. Ready to Read brings early literacy story times directly to preschool children (ages 3-5) in child care centers or Head Start classrooms, targeting children who cannot or do not visit the library. This program emphasizes the skills and concepts needed for school readiness.

This program also models the importance of making books a part of everyday life by promoting library services and giving a picture book to each child who participates, as well as their caregivers. This fosters reading together in the home. Story times per year through Ready to Read: 500. Since 2008, Ready to Read has provided nearly 2,700 story times and about 12,000 picture books to children and 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

Prior Initiatives
In 2002 the Foundation initiated the first early literacy program for the library, Motheread®/Fatheread®. Motheread®/Fatheread®, a literacy outreach program from The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, was funded by a Federal grant, as well as private grants, including a small 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.

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 themes play area near the third-floor-level food court.  Mall patrons joined a series of public and elected figures, including Fairfax County Supervisor Lynda Smith, who read from their favorite picture books. 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.