School-Based Literacy

The Make Way for Books Story Project provides research-based early literacy support to educators, parents, and children at preschools, child care centers, and home providers.

Home-based Provider Programming

Currently, 1/3 of childcare sites in Pima County are “home-based care” settings in which early childhood professionals care for children in their home. Make Way for Books provides coaching, books and resources, as well as ongoing Community of Practice to build early childhood professionals’ knowledge-base and give them skills to implement higher-quality literacy and language practices with children. Our model was recognized as an exemplary practice by First Things First’s Quality Assurance Team, for its innovative strategy to provide a culturally responsive service model to home-based providers.

In prior years, 99% of providers gained skills to better support children in their care.


Check out the impact in the words of a participant >

On-Site Coaching and Professional Development Workshops

Early Literacy Coaches provide one-on-one coaching and professional development workshops for nearly 700 educators each year. Our Early Literacy Coaches visit under-resourced preschools and childcare centers to providing ongoing coaching for educators on an ongoing basis throughout the school year. Coaches support educators in providing literacy and language-rich interactions, implementing quality shared reading experiences for young children, creating writing centers, integrating literacy into daily activities, supporting social-emotional development through literacy, and other methods of increasing the culture of literacy in their classrooms. In addition, Make Way for Books Early Literacy Coaches offer a variety of interactive professional development workshops for hundreds of early childhood educators each year. As a result of The Story Project, 99% of educators gain strategies, skills, and tools to better support the emergent literacy and language development of young children in their care.

According to a participating educator,

“What haven't I learned? The many connections with literacy, vocabulary, communication, imagination. Literacy is connected with everything. Children have learned to self express with stories. Learned to make strong connections with children if there's a story involved. They open up to us."

Lending Libraries and Classroom Books

Make Way for Books provides preschools, child care centers, and home-care providers with high-quality, multicultural, cloth, board, and hardcover books for lending libraries and classroom collections. Each year, more than 32,000 books are checked out by families and shared together at home. 100% of sites reported an increase in their children’s pre-reading skills after participating in the program.

"Several of the parents had mentioned on their first home visit that they had never read to their four- year-old. Because of Make Way for Books’ services, by the end of year all of my students were being read to daily."

Family Literacy Events

Through family literacy events,  Make Way for Books Early Literacy Coaches showcase the preschool or child care centers’ lending libraries to the whole family. Make Way for Books staff help our preschool program sites engage parents and model ways that parents and other caregivers can share books and other literacy activities with their children. In prior years, 100% of participating parents increased the amount of time they spent reading with their young children as a result of the program.

Storytime Volunteers and Books to Keep

Weekly, storytime volunteers share books, songs, and puppets with toddlers and preschoolers at low-resource child care centers and preschools throughout our community. Children participating in The Story Project receive books to keep and share at home.

“Passing out the books has to be one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life! It was priceless to see all of the expressions on the kids’ face."


Learn more about the Storytime Volunteer Program >

Promoting Peace through Picture Books Project

The Promoting Peace through Picture Books Project is a literature-based program that provides young children and teachers with an opportunity to engage in creative and reflective activities toward being peacemakers. Support is provided in using picture books to foster generosity, kindness, compassion, tolerance, diversity, self-esteem, positive conflict resolution, and respect for the earth. Make Way for Books offers ongoing mentoring support and literacy guides that include literature-related activities, including sign-language, to help teachers support their children’s emergent literacy and social-emotional skills in a nurturing classroom.

“The curriculum and staff provided by Make Way for Books have been impeccable resources to support the lessons the students can learn from the books. The students have learned so much about caring, peacefulness, acceptance, & friendship! The books provided are helpful instruments for instilling positive character traits in our students.”

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