Early Literacy Outreach (ELO)
VBPL’s Early Literacy Outreach team brings the library to young children and their caregivers throughout the Virginia Beach community. The team presents high-quality, skill-based, and age-specific storytimes in classrooms and on the Bookmobile, which is a customized “early literacy classroom on wheels.” Serving over 60 preschools annually, this specialized outreach team also delivers classroom materials through book deposits, presents teacher and parent trainings, facilitates library card drives, and brings the library’s Summer Reading Challenge to outreach locations. The ELO team also participates in citywide initiatives in support of literacy development including Read Across America, JumpStart, Celebrating Children, and Waves, Words and Wonder.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
This library program encourages all Virginia Beach families and caregivers to read at least 1,000 books with their young children before they enter kindergarten. Reading to preschool-age children builds vocabulary and helps develop the language skills they need for kindergarten. In as little as 15 minutes a day, families can build the skills for future school and life success.
Virginia Beach Public Library’s annual Summer Reading Challenge encourages children to read and participate in engaging activities to offset the learning loss that can occur during summer break, referred to as “summer slide.” The Virginia Beach Public Library and Virginia Beach City Public Schools partner to embed the Library’s Summer Reading Challenge into a Summer Reading Camp that runs the month of July within all Title I elementary schools, with a focus on reaching students who the school has identified as at risk for “slide.” The partnership was launched when it was determined that children most at risk for this learning loss were experiencing barriers to access. Since the program’s launch in 2013, approximately 70% of participants have maintained or gained reading skills over the Summer break based on Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) data.
Designed for young children and their caregivers, library storytimes engage participants with fun, dynamic early learning activities. Children and their caregivers share books, songs and action rhymes, practice early numeracy, engage in fine motor skill activities, and celebrate each child’s unique personality and learning style. Storytimes support healthy, play based learning, whole-child development and foster early literacy and social-emotional skills that are essential for school and reading readiness.