Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® is a parent education initiative

Traditionally, early literacy programs at libraries have focused on children. Storytimes and other programs might model strategies that parents can use to develop early literacy skills, but parent education is not typically the primary intent.

The Public Library Association (PLA) and Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) concluded that public libraries could have an even greater impact on early literacy through an approach that focused on educating parents and caregivers. If the primary adults in a child’s life can learn more about the importance of early literacy and how to nurture pre-reading skills at home, the effect of library efforts can be multiplied many times.

Teaching parents and other caregivers how to support the early literacy development of their children is the basis of Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library®. When the first edition of ECRR was introduced in 2004, the focus on educating parents and caregivers was a significantly different approach for many libraries; one that certainly has proven its value.

This updated and expanded second edition of Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® provides a new curriculum and materials to continue the effort, supporting parents and caregivers with the early literacy development of their children birth to age five. Visit the Shop section of this website to browse Every Child Read to Read, 2nd Edition, tool kits, brochures, bookmarks, and posters.


Q: What is Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® 2nd Edition?

A: ECRR is a turn-key research-based early literacy outreach education program for parents and caregivers. It is an adult-focused education outreach program on early literacy seeking out those families who are most at-risk and who may not visit public libraries. The program provides the tools and strategies to provide quality parent education and put library resources into the hands of parents. The goals of ECRR are to change practice in our field around parent early literacy education, resulting in improved early literacy skills in very young children, and to educate parents on how to nurture early literacy skills in their children and successfully become their child’s first teacher.

Q. Our library has been using the 6 skills from Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR), First Edition to talk to both families and staff about the importance of early literacy. We are currently in the process of changing our early literacy training and materials over to the Five Practices of ECRR, Second Edition. Can you provide some guidance? Is it appropriate to continue talking about the Six Skills in conjunction with the Five Practices? Do the Six Skills mesh with the Five Practices? If so, how? Is it acceptable to talk about the Five Practices with families and staff, and refer them to the Six Skills for further information, or are the Six Skills now essentially obsolete?

A: Many of us making this transition are thinking of ECRR2 as “expanding your toolbox” on early literacy. It is important for staff to realize that there is NOTHING wrong with any of the information from the first edition that you learned and/or passed on to others. One of the approaches included in the 2nd edition is to make the early literacy information less intimidating to parents, to help them see how easily these five practices can help their children with later reading.

In the first edition of ECRR we started with the skills and talked about activities that support the skill. So, when we spoke about phonological awareness, we talked about singing, clapping syllables, playing rhyming games, etc. In the second edition of ECRR, we are starting with the activities to make it more approachable for parents. So, we start with sing, talk, read, write and play and then help them see the connection to later reading.

With ECRR2 the main thing to remember is that it sounds simple, but we still have to help parents see that HOW they do these practices makes a difference in early literacy development. Parents will think—well I talk with my children. And what they say are things like this: “please put your toys away.” But that kind of talk, “business talk” is not the rich talk where children get more vocabulary, hear complex sentence structure, etc. This is our value added piece. HOW we do these practices makes a difference. So ECRR2 starts with the activities and then we help make the connection to later reading by showing HOW we do these activities.

Section II of the printed ECRR2 Manual, also available here, http://www.everychildreadytoread.org/project-history%09/literature-review-2010 summarizes the current research and the updated configuration of research given by researcher and ECRR2 developer, Dr. Susan Neuman. This perspective more directly reflects current early childhood education and gives heavy emphasis to oral language as the basis for all later language and literacy development. It also gives importance to background knowledge, children’s prior knowledge, which includes print motivation and narrative skills. Some of these dimensions overlap with early literacy skills from the first edition of ECRR. The Parent Workshop in the ECRR2 Manual relates the 5 practices to early literacy most succinctly. An explanation of constrained and unconstrained skills can be found in the Library Staff Workshop.

A brief summary of the 5 early literacy components is available here. http://www.earlylit.net/ecrtr/

Two documents that might help you relate the five practices to the early literacy components are:

1. “From the Six Skills to the Five Practices” – available in the ECRR2 Kit
2. “The Five Practices and The Early Literacy Components Support Each Other”

The approach of ECRR2 is that library staff should know early literacy research. However, to make it more approachable for the parents, we do not use the names of the skills/components. The question is—what works with the parents you are speaking with? The key points to remember are these:

Library staff supply the value added piece of helping parents to understand the connection between the activities/practices and early literacy/later reading.

Expand your toolkit and know whom you are speaking with. If adding the names of the early literacy components helps to motivate those you are speaking with—do it. If eyes are glazing over as you add more research, then keep it as simple as you can and stick to the five practices. This is where your judgment and knowledge come into play.

Q: I have a media interview about ECRR coming up. Do you offer an resources that might help me prepare and speak effectively?

A: Yes! Please see our resources page, Press Talking Points and Tips.

Q: Is the content of ECRR 2nd Edition Kit evidence-based?

A: The 2nd edition is based on a review of the 1st edition product and research as shown here: http://www.everychildreadytoread.org/project-history%09/building-success-every-child-ready-read-2nd-edition

Building on Success: Every Child Ready to Read 2nd Edition

In 2008, a joint ALA/PLA Task Force was created to evaluate the 1st Edition of Every Child Ready to Read @ your library (ECRR). In 2009, Dr. Susan Neuman and Dr. Donna Celano, leading educators and researchers in the field of early literacy, were commissioned to evaluate the program in order to:
Measure the impact of Every Child Ready to Read and evaluate whether to make changes based on feedback from surveys, as well as interviews of users and non-users.
Conduct an extensive literature review and determine whether ECRR workshops should be modified based on current research.
Make recommendations about updating workshops.
After a careful review of the evaluation, the ALSC/PLA Task Force recommended that Dr. Neuman be selected to update the ECRR curriculum by incorporating new research and suggestions from both users and non-users of the 1st Edition of ECRR. The result is the new and expanded second edition of Every Child Ready to Read @ your library.

Lessons from ECRR 1st Edition

The evaluation conducted by Dr. Neuman and Dr. Celano found that ECRR was well regarded and considered to be a high-quality product that has an impact on parent behavior. The evaluation found that ECRR was successful in its goal of educating parents and caregivers at libraries and through outreach. Both users and nonusers regarded the materials as well done, and library staff appreciated the training that had been developed for presenters. Those surveyed credited ECRR with reinforcing the public perception of libraries as an early literacy resource. They also said that ECRR provided a chance to strengthen existing and forge new partnerships with community organizations that support early literacy and learning. (Continue reading here: http://www.everychildreadytoread.org/project-history%09/building-success-every-child-ready-read-2nd-edition)

Related ECRR Research

While PLA/ALSC has not yet conducted an evidence-based research effort, these two libraries have done research on using ECRR 1st Edition:

Pierce County (Washington) Library
Carroll County (Maryland) Public Library

PLA/ALSC hope to eventually put together an evidence-based review of the ECRR 2nd edition.

Q: Will there be any face-to-face training sessions for the 2nd Edition?
A: The 2nd edition of ECRR was developed as a turnkey program consisting of a manual, customizable PowerPoint presentations, and other resources that will allow librarians to present the program without the training that was required for the first edition of the product. The product is user-friendly and contains less educational jargon, and the workshops are more flexible, more interactive, and modular in nature. There are a variety of different workshops and all may be customized in terms of length, interchangeability of activities, and inclusion of photos and information about your library.

When PLA and ALSC introduced Every Child Ready to Read eight years ago, research-based early literacy presentations to parents and caregivers were new concepts. We hope that libraries have integrated those concepts into their programming and that the revised product can be used without extensive demonstration and training.

In the future, there will be webinars about early literacy and the product as we gain information about how the profession is using it and to address any questions that may arise. Librarians are encouraged to continue to communicate with us regarding their experience using the new tools.

Q: Will the product be available in languages other than English?

A: Spanish language bookmarks, brochures, and posters are available. We are also working on a Spanish version of ECRR manual and hope to make it available by June 2013.

We have begun work on French translations. The translations involve content development, editing, proofreading, design, and production. We are not able to provide a firm deadline for completion. As translations are a costly and resource-intensive endeavor, at this time the curriculum will only be translated to Spanish and French. Helpful tip: May we suggest you work with a local volunteer to assist you in translating portions of the slides, so that the presentation works within your community. The language of the new product is simpler and is not as technical as the first edition.

Q: Our library is creating its own additional ECRR materials (e.g., bookmarks). May I use the ECRR, PLA and ALSC logos and where can I get them?

A: You are welcome to use the Every Child Ready to Read* @ your library logo, as well as the PLA and ALSC logos. However, each usage of the ECRR logo must be approved by PLA and ALSC. For consideration, please submit a jpg image and a short explanation of how the logo will be used to pla@ala.org. We will respond as soon as possible. Please note that you must use this credit statement: Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® is a program of the Association for Library Service to Children and Public Library Association, divisions of the American Library Association. Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® is a registered trademark and is used with permission. If you have any additional questions about ECRR logo or materials, please e-mail pla at ala.org.

Q: Is there a discount for bulk orders?

A: PLA/ALSC can offer a bulk discount of 20% when a quantity of at least 50 is ordered. This cannot be combined with any other discount and shipping costs still apply. Bulk order discounts are handled differently than regular orders. If you are interested in a bulk order discount please send an email to Lian Sze to get the process started.

Q: Will customization be offered for ECRR 2nd Edition as it was for the first ECRR?

A: There are no plans to offer customization. Materials in the second edition kit are fully customizable by the purchaser.