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Ready, Set, Read! Supports Early Literacy in Champaign

Free Reading Packet Distribution

Because early literacy skills are critical for lifelong learning and success, the library has launched an intiative to teach Champaign parents and caregivers how to develop those skills in their children, from birth to age five. Called Ready, Set, Read! the program has two components:

  • Distribution of free reading packets for parents
  • Free preschool events at the library

Starting in 2013, reading packets are being distributed to families at Head Start and the Champaign Early Childhood Center. Presented in a reusable tote, each packet includes a brochure of activities to build reading and language skills in five ways—through reading, talking, singing, writing, and playing. A translated version is provided to Spanish-speaking parents.

Ready, Set, Read! packet contents

Along with a free book, the packet has a variety of items for hands-on learning: finger puppets, a writing pad, crayons, alphabet flash cards, and the library’s own CD of children’s songs, What I Like!

To encourage families to visit the library and get library cards, the packet includes coupons for free rental items. A coupon for the FriendShop, the library’s book store, will enable each family to choose 10 children’s books to take home, free of charge. 

Free weekly preschool events have long been staples of the library’s educational efforts. In conjunction with the Ready, Set, Read! initiative, they now target more specific age ranges. The events give parents the option of daytime or evening meeting times and are offered at both the Main Library and Douglass Branch. See details on our event calendar.

Packet distribution has been made possible through a partnership with Champaign Unit #4 Schools and support from private gifts to the Champaign Public Library Foundation, including a grant from Target. 

Stephanie Edwards with Ready, Set, Read! packetReady, Set, Read! kits are free for Champaign families at Head Start and the Early Childhood Center.