Ready to Read Early Literacy

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.

4- Early Lit

Ready to Read facilitator Jane Girondo leads a storytime

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.

The strategic goal of Ready to Read is to ensure every child in Fairfax County is prepared to read by the time of entry into elementary school. There are three specific goals of the program: 1) Bring storytime experiences directly to groups of preschool children in non-library settings, targeting those children who cannot or do not visit the library, and giving the students books to take home, 2) Model appropriate early literacy behaviors and techniques for child care providers to enable them to support success for the children in their care, and 3) Promote awareness of the free public library resources available to all preschool children, their families and child care providers. This year Ready to Read will distribute nearly 30,000 picture books for children to take home and keep, often representing the only books in the home.

“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

Early Literacy

The Foundation gives preschoolers books to take home and keep

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

1000books-logoA brand new initiative launched in Fairfax County Public Library on November 1st, 2016: 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. This is a nationwide program that Fairfax Library Foundation is proud to help bring to our community. Sign-up in your library branch today!

Why 1,000 Books

Studies show that children perform better in school throughout their education if they’ve started developing pre-reading skills before starting kindergarten. And reading aloud to children is important in fostering those reading and vocabulary skills—even starting as early as birth! Our goal in bringing this program to our community is to help parents and caregivers prepare children for kindergarten with these great tools for tracking books read and motivating young readers. Read more about this program here!

Early Literacy Conference

On October 29, 2016 Fairfax Library Foundation provided funds to support the Early Literacy Department’s Literacy in Motion conference. More than 90 early literacy educators from our county attended workshops and learned valuable skills about raising literacy in our community. Thanks to Foundation supporters, participants attended free of charge!


Early Literacy Reference Materials

Please click on the links below to learn more details about the program:

Ready to Read Letter of Support

Ready to Read FY15 Program Statistics

Ready to Read Sample Skills Flyer


Prior Early Literacy Initiatives

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.

Please visit the library page to learn about other early literacy initiatives, and to find additional resources.