Grow a Reader

Grow A Reader

Grow a Reader Specials, Stories, & Classes

While COVID-19 is preventing us from holding in-person Grow a Reader classes, our Youth Services staff have been busy recording classes for you to view at home at any time convenient to you!

Grab & Go Bags

Halloween Grow a Reader Grab and Go Bags: October 25-30

Grab a bag of fun spooktacular activities at your home branch!

Building Skills with Grow a Reader

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Grow a Reader: Letter Knowledge

Teaching a child about letters is one of the first steps to growing a reader.

Grow a Reader: Narrative Skills

You can help your child get better at narrative skills (telling stories).

Grow a Reader: Phonological Awareness

Introducing children to songs, stories that rhyme, and poems all increase their phonological awareness.

Grow a Reader: Playing

Playing can be a fun way for children to practice symbolic thinking, which is an important part of learning to read.

Grow a Reader: Print Awareness

Help your children make connections between the words they hear and what's printed on the page.

Grow a Reader: Print Motivation

Print motivation is an interest in and the enjoyment of books and reading.

Grow a Reader: Reading

By making early reading something fun to do every day and everywhere, caregivers can turn this activity into a positive time for everyone.

Grow a Reader: Singing

When we sing, our children develop listening skills and begin hearing the rhythm of language.

Grow a Reader: Talking

When you add new words and information to conversations with your children, you develop their vocabularies and knowledge of their world.

GAR: Building Skills

Grow a Reader: Vocabulary

For a child, vocabulary is like a treasure, waiting to be discovered through the sands of all the other words in a story.

GAR: Building Skills

Grow a Reader: Writing

Children begin developing the skills used in writing long before their work becomes words!

New at the Library

Grow a Reader Booklists

Grow a Reader Booklists

Find a great book in these lists created by library staff especially for ages 5 and under.

Grow a Reader Classes

Every one of our Grow a Reader classes is presented by specially trained staff who present stories, songs, and activities that lay the foundation your child needs to get ready to read.

In-person Grow a Reader Classes are canceled until further notice. Please visit our YouTube channel to watch virtual storytimes.

Mother Goose Time

Ages 2 and under with a caregiver.

Toddler Time

Ages 2-3 with a caregiver.

Alphabet Soup

Ages 2-5 with a caregiver. Daycares welcome!

Preschool Time

Ages 3-5 with a caregiver.

Sensory Time

Read more about Sensory Time.
For youth of all ages who are on the autism spectrum or differently abled.

After Hours Classes: Evenings & Weekend

Families can expect lots of fun as specially trained staff present stories, songs, and activities that lay the foundation your children need to get ready to read. We understand that it can be a challenge to fit one more thing into your busy weekday schedule, that's why we offer evening and weekend classes and events for children!

In-person Grow a Reader Classes are canceled until further notice. Please visit our YouTube channel to watch virtual storytimes.

Books Before Bedtime

All ages with a caregiver. Pajamas welcome!

Saturday Tales

All ages with a caregiver.

Learn & Play Rooms

Learn and Play Rooms

Learn & Play Rooms are currently closed. Please visit our YouTube channel to watch virtual storytimes.

By Elizabeth Fitzgerald

Gone are the libraries with librarians shushing children for the slightest noise. Now we have libraries that encourage play and having fun, all while getting children ready to read.

At Howell, Fredericksburg, Salem Church, and Porter branches, CRRL has Grow a Reader Learn and Play Rooms where children and their caregivers are encouraged to explore. Each of these branches has toys, blocks, letters, and interactive panels that enhance a child’s library experience all while teaching early reading skills through play and self-discovery. What if you don't go to those locations? Never fear! While our smaller branches do not have separate rooms, children and caregivers can still join in the fun with toys in the children's department to encourage play.

But why encourage play? We're a library - not a play center! Actually, we're both. Playing has multiple benefits that help children gain the skills needed to get ready to read. When children play, they often are telling or acting out stories. These may be stories they've made up, or they may be ones they've heard at home, on the television, or in one of our Grow a Reader classes. This not only teaches children that reading and stories can be fun but also gives them a chance to practice narrative skills, which is simply the ability to describe things and events in order to tell a story. Being able to act out a story demonstrates that a child understands what is going on in the book or show. Additionally, observing children playing gives caregivers an opportunity to talk to them and ask questions. Talking, asking questions, and stretching conversations are how children learn new information, including vocabulary.

So, come on in and explore your library’s Grow a Reader Learn and Play Room, and go ahead and make some noise while you’re at it.

Grow a Reader Outreach: For Parents, Caregivers, & Teachers

Grow a Reader Outreach is designed to serve preschoolers and the adults who care for and teach them.

This program currently visits 18 preschools, 26 childcare facilities, and the Head Start programs in Fredericksburg, Stafford County, and Spotsylvania County.

If you are interested in CRRL's Grow a Reader Outreach, please email, opens a new window.

Bag of Fun

Program participants receive a box of children's books and a theme bag delivered to them every two weeks. These are browsing collections of books for the teachers to read to the children and for the children to use themselves.

Every bag includes a puppet, books, a DVD, a CD, fingerplay instructions, and teacher resources centered on one theme, such as Outer Space, Families, Fish, Foxes, Dragons, Colors, Shapes, and Growing Things.

Sharing Stories

For each facility, we book two storytimes per year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Our goals are to:

  • encourage children, teachers, and parents to use the library
  • model read-aloud techniques for teachers and caregivers
  • have fun!

Learning for All Ages

The Grow a Reader Outreach program also offers literacy-based workshops worth two hours of credit twice yearly.

These free workshops are held at the library and are open to any adults who work with preschool children.

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