Early Reading 

We believe a single book can spark a lifelong love of reading.

Early Reading provides pre-literacy training materials to preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school students. The program prepares young children for future school success and fosters reading/language skills that benefit family members young and old. It has been demonstrated that youngsters who read in the home perform better in school.  Early Reading stresses the importance of parents reading to children. It has become part of Head Start’s Parent Education Program which teaches parents - many of whom are new to this country and have little formal education - how to support their children’s education.

We work with DuPage County and LaGrange area Head Start organizations, as well as local elementary schools in need. More than 900 students are served by the Early Reading program each year.

The Early Reading program consists of two parts:  the Backpack Program and the Reading Program.

Backpack Program

The Backpack Program is similar to a classroom library. We assist each classroom with a set of backpacks containing a book, and parent guidelines for reading to their child. These backpacks are checked out to take home and returned to the classroom throughout the school year.

Our backpacks are made of sturdy see-through plastic and contain an appropriate age level story book, crayons, paper, and instructions to parents about how to use the materials. Each backpack has a different storybook in it. Approximately two-thirds of the books are English language. The rest are bilingual or solely foreign language. Careful consideration is given when choosing the books to ensure they are appropriate for the children’s needs and language. 

Reading Program

Assistance League volunteers visit classrooms that have students with specific needs. Once a year, the volunteers read to the children, work on a related activity, and present the book to students to take home for their home library. For many children, this is the first brand new book they have ever owned.

These books and activities are chosen according to the age/grade level and are thematically based to align with the program’s curriculum.

Our thanks to Hinsdale Bank & Trust for their generous support of our Early Reading program.


Early Reading Schools/Programs Served

Anne M Jeans, Willowbrook ♦ Ardmore, Addison ♦ Johnson & Wood Dale Medinah, Medinah ♦ St. Andrew, Carol Stream Stone, Addison ♦ Tioga, Bensenville Outreach Center, Carol Stream ♦ Home Based Pre-School, various communities ♦ Home Based Infant/Toddler, various communities District Queen Bee 16, Glen Hill & Glendale Heights Ideal, Countryside Spring, LaGrange Holmes, Westmont Congress Park, Brookfield Metropolitan Family Services



“Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read with us!...we love that you care enough to spend quality time with us.” Miss Sarmiento’s 1st grade class

“We enjoyed the wonderful books from the take home backs, and also the books that were given to us this year! Thanks again.” Your friends at Head Start

“As an elementary teacher for 36 years, I understand the importance of early literacy and helping children gain confidence in their reading skills. It is very exciting to be part of an organization that values literacy development. The Early Reading program is truly a gift to these young children. Not only because they receive a book to take home, but, more importantly, the way Assistance League members make them feel unique and important.” Patricia Van Hoegarden, Assistance League Member

“My son and daughter both benefited from the back packs…They were very excited! They would…pretend to read to each other. The backpack helped them learn to share…They both would go everywhere with their backpacks. Thank you so much to your program and for lending us the books.” Juan Jr. and Senora Fidelia, Recipients

“We were so grateful for the backpack my son would take it with him everywhere. In the afternoon when his sisters would do homework he would sit with them and take out his back pack and draw pictures. He loved having a different book every week…Thank You so much.”  Keven and Senora Judith, Recipients

“…the backpacks…taught them a sense of responsibility by taking care of the books…we discussed and displayed the stories or pictures they created.” Rae Ann, Addison Head Start teacher

Early Reading is Partially Underwritten by:

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