TRL’s Grow-A-Reader supports early learning


Parents and guardians can now track their children’s reading journey with an activity log that includes artwork from local artist and children’s author Nikki McClure, available at all 29 Timberland Regional Library (TRL) locations.

McClure teamed up with TRL to create Grow-A-Reader, an early learning reading engagement activity and keepsake for children and their adults that highlights McClure’s artwork.

One of the goals of offering the Grow-A-Reader activity log is to encourage shared reading time between children and their guardians, said Timberland Regional Library Early Learning Coordinator Mary Rulewicz.

“Grow-A-Reader is not a competition nor is it prize driven, but simply offers an opportunity to capture memories of the precious time spent reading to a child,” Rulewicz said.

As a long-time youth services librarian, Rulewicz has delivered countless numbers of storytimes, she said.

“I can say with confidence that sharing books with a young child from the time of their birth builds a foundation of skills that will help them immensely when they begin to learn to read,” Rulewicz said. “It is never too early to start building literacy skills.”

The hope is that by offering the free activity log, parents and guardians will be inspired to share moments of talking, reading, singing, writing and playing with their children, Rulewicz said.

“We want to show babies that sharing books is fun while also introducing them to new words, sounds and objects in their world,” Rulewicz said. "Practicing these activities help form neuropathways in their little brains that help them learn to read later on.”

Grow-A-Reader is part of TRL’s goal to bolster programs, library spaces, and resources to support the development of children from birth to 5 years as laid out in the organization’ 2020-2024 Strategic Direction.

Other projects include the expansion of Picture Book City, the reclassification of the picture book collection into genres to create easier browsing for children and their adults. Picture Book City is now districtwide after a successful one-year pilot at Centralia Timberland Library in 2021.

In-person storytimes and early learning playgroups have returned to TRL libraries. Storytimes include songs, music, movement, books and activities for the entire family. Children must be accompanied by a participating adult.

In-person storytimes include:

  • Book Babies: Books, bounces, music and play for babies and their participating caregivers.
  • Preschool Storytime: Stories, songs, and activities for preschoolers and their participating caregivers.
  • Family Storytime: Music, movement, books and activities for the whole family. All ages welcome.
  • Play Group: Play time for children birth to 6 years with a participating adult. Arrival and departure times are flexible.

Visit the TRL.org events calendar to learn about locations, dates and times for in-person programming.

La hora bilingüe (bilingual storytimes) are offered every other Wednesday via Zoom.

Other early learning resources and programs offered by TRL include video picture books, Launchpad learning tablets, Playaway audiobook players for kids, VOX readers, Kanopy for Kids, access to online learning apps, and parent and educator resources.

Copies of Grow-A-Reader are available in English and Spanish at all 29 library locations. Library cards with designs that match the artwork on the activity log are also available at all locations.


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