Routes to Reading

Idaho Paves the Way with Access to Print

The goal of the Routes to Reading Program is to significantly increase the amount of reading done in Idaho homes and early childhood education settings. To achieve this goal, the Idaho Commission for Libraries is using grant and state funds totaling over $300,000 over three years to build three new elements into the successful Read to Me program.

Books to Go Program

Idaho library staff  are placing Books to Go bins at Head Start sites, developmental preschools, child care centers, and home-based child care locations so parents and caregivers have convenient, continuous access to pre-packaged books. The bags contain age-appropriate quality books. Early childhood educators can use the books and materials throughout the day and parents can check out “Books to Go” when they pick up their child. 

Idaho libraries are encouraged to apply for the Books to Go program. Bins typically take 3-4 weeks to get ready. Apply at

Route 1 Information and Resources

Implement a statewide “Storytime Online” and TumbleBooks™ for all public libraries

Many families and child care providers are not able to attend library storytimes. This brings storytimes to them through a parent-friendly website with access to TumbleBooks™ in English and Spanish, daily activities to develop early literacy skills including fingerplays and songs modeled in video clips, and other educational information. The site is a great resource for Idaho families, librarians, and caregivers.

A three-year contract with TumbleBooks provides access to ebooks through every Idaho public library website. Promotional efforts are underway to get the word out about these great resources.

Route 2 Information and Resources

Communication, Collaboration, and Coalition Building

ICfL is working with libraries and community partners to increase awareness of the valuable role libraries play to ensure children begin school with a strong foundation of early literacy skills. ICfL has facilitated meetings throughout Idaho to build local coalitions and ensure that more Idaho children have access to books. Radio ads in English and Spanish are airing in April, May and June, 2015 to stress the importance of out-of-school reading time, especially in the summer.

Route 3 Information and Resources

Special thanks to our primary funders and supporters:

The mission of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS provides leadership through research, policy development, and grant making, and supports key issues of national concern. Idaho’s “Routes to Reading” project is part of an IMLS initiative to support the goals of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and was among those receiving the National Leadership Grants (NLG) announced by IMLS last week.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, launched in early 2011, is a collaboration among foundations, national nonprofits, state and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship.