Family Literacy Program
The Family Literacy Program serves at-risk children and their families in our community through several free initiatives. Through these efforts we are able to put thousands of new and gently used books into the hands and homes of low-income families in our community, bring families together for literacy based events where reading is modeled as a fun family activity, and reinforce the importance of parents serving as their child’s first and most important teacher.
Sweet Dreams Program
Established in 2005, the Sweet Dreams program sends trained volunteers into the Volunteers of America emergency homeless shelter each Thursday evening for a one-hour literacy program. During that hour, volunteers read to the children living in the shelter. Parents are present with the children, giving volunteers the opportunity to model reading aloud and demonstrate ways to make story time more interesting and interactive. At the end of the evening, children select several books to keep. Twice a year, Family Literacy Nights are held at the shelter to provide books, literacy tips and fun, to families. All volunteers must attend a volunteer orientation, which are held several times a year. Volunteers must be at least 15 years of age any volunteer under 18 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
NOTE: Due to COVID restrictions, this program and volunteer orientations are currently on hold.
Head Start and STEP
In this partnership, Loudoun Literacy Council provides the federally mandated, yet unfunded, family literacy component in all Loudoun County Public School Head Start classrooms. Weekly reading sessions, mobile classroom libraries, monthly book packs with books for children to begin building their own home libraries, and Family Literacy Night events throughout the school year are the cornerstones for this initiative. Loudoun Literacy Council reaches all Head Start students in the county which includes 6 preschool classrooms and about 102 students annually. Our partnership also includes all STEP (Starting Towards Excellence in Preschool) classrooms. There are 9 classrooms in Loudoun County and about 300 students that are served annually through this program. Throughout the year services includes the distribution of new books, multi-lingual literacy tips for parents, family literacy events, and sharing books in the classroom. Our goal is to start a home library in each homes and to educate parents on the importance of sharing and reading books each day.
Family Literacy Nights
Family Literacy Nights are held throughout the year for all Loudoun County Public School’s Head Start and STEP preschool families. Dinner is provided, followed by story time. Books from the current month’s literacy pack are showcased and reading aloud is modeled for the parents. Parents receive copies of literacy tips that can be implemented at home. Families participate in easy, low-cost art and dessert activities that can be replicated at home. Each family member chooses several gently-used books to take home.
Fall for Reading
Loudoun Literacy Council hold this event every September at Rust Library, in conjunction with National Literacy Month. This event is open to the public. Snacks are provided, and children are encouraged to craft and create, engage their imaginations with a special guest, and take books home. Through this event, we engage with the community and encourage a passion for reading at a young age.
Book Builder Program
In 2009 we started our Book Builder Program. This developed over the years as we became a repository for many groups and individuals for their gentle used books. We started to look for ways to get these books back out into the community, into the hands of families and children who might not have book in the home. Through this partnership, books are donated by individuals, companies and by organizations; many holding book drives for us during the year. We distribute these books to our community partners throughout the year such as YMCA, Loudoun County Health Department, Loudoun Workforce Resource Center, Loudoun Hunger Relief, Loudoun County Public Schools, INMED, local summer camps, and many more.
Baby Book Bundles
Through this outreach program, Loudoun Literacy Council provides low-income new and expectant parents with new baby books and literacy tips as well as a baby care item and small gift.