Sharing early literacy practices, such as Every Child Ready to Read’s five early literacy practices (“Sing, Talk, Read, Write, Play”), Jump Start Kindergarten is an outreach activity that connects library staff with parents/caregivers of young children and emphasizes daily activities that will help children learn to read. Primarily designed for public library staff to conduct outreach activities in their local elementary schools during Kindergarten Registration events, this program also helps parents/caregivers understand all the resources public libraries can provide to assist with school readiness and connects them with these resources through library card sign-up/promotion.

The Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) provides materials and resources which help enhance the outreach events and activities conducted by public libraries (and their school library partners) during Kindergarten Registration events across the state.

  • What’s the purpose? See Program Objectives
  • Who can apply? See Program Eligibility
  • How does it work? See Program Details & Requirements
  • What materials are provided? See Program Dates & Resources
  • What schools are already being served? See weekly upload of Applicant List 

Current program resources:

The primary purposes of the Jump Start Kindergarten program and outreach events are:

  • To encourage daily reading time, including out-of-school reading time.
  • To connect families/caregivers of young children with the early literacy resources their local public library has available to help them prepare their child for school success.
  • To help every family/caregiver obtain a public library card and visit the library.

Who can apply:

This program is designed for public libraries to apply to serve local elementary schools (see application below).

In some communities, the public library cannot serve every elementary school, is located too far away from the local school, or does not have enough staff/staff time available to serve a school. If this is the case, a school library may register their Kindergarten Registration event, utilize program resources (including requesting books) and share public library resources in place of the public library staff. (See Program Details & Requirements below for more details on what this looks like.) If, after contacting their local public library, a school finds themselves in this situation, the first step is to submit the Program Interest Form for School Libraries linked below. A separate school library application will be sent to eligible school libraries after the interest form is reviewed.

Program Requirements:

  • Partner with and attend local elementary school Kindergarten Registration events in person. (Request your own table at the event in a location where attending parents/family members will walk by or be required to stop at during the registration event. Ideally, the library/literacy table will become a part of the process and expectation for the event.
  • Bring and share relevant library resources that can be shared with participating adults and that will demonstrate how public library resources can support school readiness (i.e. Summer Reading program info, storytimes, Maker/STEM activities). Consider making your own copies of the early literacy handouts developed and provided by ICfL (see Program Resources). Consider bringing your own folders to insert your library’s information or ICfL handouts as ICfL no longer provides the red Jump Start folders.
  • Promote library card sign-up at the registration event. Consider offering a fine-waiver for library card sign-up at this event. Consider printing your library card sign-up form on a special color of paper or with a special logo or image on it to facilitate easy tracking of library card sign-ups that result from this event, even if the form is turned into the library at a later date.
  • Give a copy of our new, bilingual Jump Start book, “What Will We Build Today,” to every child or family unit who is registering a Kindergartner for school at this event. Be sure to point out the five early literacy skills outlined on the inside front cover of the book to the caregivers and explain the importance of daily reading. Consider using the Early Literacy Talking Points (see Program Resources).
  • Track the number of children you make contact with (i.e. the number of books you gave out) and the number of library card sign-up you completed. Make note of what went well and what improvements you would like to suggest in preparation for completing a program summary report.
  • Submit a program summary report to ICfL within 30 days of your last Jump Start event. Please submit just one report for all of your events. Consider previewing the report form before you plan or offer your events so you are familiar with the information and data that will be expected on the report. (See Program Report).

Program Details:

Do’s –

  • Do contact your area elementary schools as early as possible (i.e. January 1st) to begin discussing their kindergarten registration event and offer to host a library/literacy table at their event. Do explain that this is more than just a free book and explain your intent. Do contact the schools you intend to serve BEFORE you register for Jump Start with ICfL.
  • Do keep a few of your left-over Jump Start books if you have room in your library and have a good method to distribute these books to the intended audience. (See correlating Do Not tip below).
  • Do consider adding a brief literacy or Maker activity to your library/literacy table at the event or consider incentivizing the connection to your public library by offering a free book to event participants who bring in a coupon on their next visit to your library.

Do Not’s –

  • Public libraries should not register to serve a school unless they can attend their registration event in person. They should not intend to just request books for these students and drop them off at the school for school staff to distribute. If a public library cannot serve a school, the school librarian may apply directly to ICfL for the Jump Start Kindergarten program and the school will be responsible for meeting the objectives and requirements of the program.
  • Do not keep LOTS of left-over books. If you did not distribute all the books you requested and there are many left over (i.e. 30+), please return the books to ICfL – either by mail or the next time you see any ICfL staff member or attend any ICfL event. There is no rush, but within a month or two would be best.

School Library Do and Do Not Section –

  • Do not simply hand over the books to a school volunteer, school secretary or other staff member to hand out with no library connection or literacy guidance. This is about more than a “free” book.
  • Do make a plan for a knowledgeable school staff member (i.e. reading specialist, Kindergarten teacher, school librarian) to host the library/literacy table and request public library card sign-up and program information ahead of time to share with parents/caregivers.
  • Do not expect that by registering your event, the public library will send a staff member to attend to your Kindergarten Registration event. Your school is applying to directly implement this literacy outreach activity because you contacted your local public library and they could not attend/service your event.

Program Resources:

ICfL provides the following resources/materials to libraries who register and are approved for this program:

  • A new bilingual book to give to participating children or the family/caregiver – ICfL has 15,000 available copies of the new book – please don’t rush to register your event until the school has been contacted and date/details have been established;
  • Magnets – We are low in supply on these early literacy skills reminders – please order only what you need and only if you like them as a parent resource;

ICfL provides the following resources/materials to any library in Idaho to be used for any early literacy outreach efforts in your community:

Program Timeline/Dates:

  • Registration period: January 1 – June 30 (Complete your registration at least 3-4 weeks before your earliest event date.)
  • Participant notification: You will receive email notification that your event has been approved within 2 weeks of completing the registration form.  
  • Material mailing: Jump Start materials (i.e. children’s book and a literacy reminder magnet) requested on the registration form will be mailed by ICfL to participating libraries as close to the date requested on the form as possible (please register at least 3-4 weeks prior to your event to enable ICfL to meet your mailing expectations).
  • Kindergarten Registration event period: When your area schools have scheduled their Kindergarten registration events – Any time after January 1 and before June 30.  
  • Program Summary Report due: 30 days after your last Jump Start event, or by June 30 (If your area schools conduct Kindergarten Registration after June 30, please contact the Jump Start project coordinator for accommodations.)

Program Report:

A Program Summary Report is due approximately 30 days after your last Jump Start event, or by June 30. (If your area schools conduct Kindergarten Registration after June 30, please contact the Jump Start project coordinator for accommodations.) Report format is online using the Jotform software.

  • Report can be found at the bottom of this page; look for the orange buttons. There is one for Public Libraries and one for School Libraries – be sure to complete the correct one. Thanks!

Application open January 2 - June 30

(apply at least 3-4 weeks prior to your outreach event)

Public library can’t serve your school? Complete an interest form below:

(see Program Eligibility section above before completing.)

Program Interest Form for School Library

Who’s already applied this year?

  • Find out what schools are already being served by which public libraries this year         (See 2019 Applicant List)
2019 Applicant List

What did you request last year?

  • Find out what which schools you served last year and how many supplies you requested (See 2018 Applicant List)
2018 Applicant List

Summary Report

(submit 1-2 weeks after event concludes)

Questions? Contact Kristina Taylor

Kristina Tayloer

Kristina Taylor

Project Coordinator
Email / 208.639.4136
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Institute of Museum and Library Services logoThis program is brought to you by the Idaho Commission for Libraries and was made possible, in part, by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.