Raising a Reader


Raising a Reader is a take-home Red Book Bag program that provides children and families with quality books and knowledge about the importance of early literacy. By promoting "book cuddling" among families, Raising a Reader is strengthening relationships and building early reading skills in preschool children.

Raising A Reader More Info:

Raising a Reader’s mission is to engage caregivers in a routine of book sharing with their children from birth through age eight to foster healthy brain development, healthy relationships, a love of reading, and the literacy skills critical for school success.

Children at Raising a Reader Event

Beginning in 2009, Raising a Reader began providing books and knowledge to children and families in Dare County Head Start. With the help of Smart Start and Dare Education Foundation, Raising a Reader was able to expand in the fall of 2010 to include First Flight Elementary School’s More at Four classroom. As of the spring of 2022, Raising a Reader continues to serve the children in Dare County Head Start, as well as the children in eight Dare County Pre-Kindergarten classrooms, two classrooms at Nags Head Elementary School, one classroom at Cape Hatteras Elementary School, three at Manteo Elementary School, and two at First Flight Elementary School. We also serve the children at Roanoke Island Presbyterian Day Care. Raising a Reader currently serves 176 children in Dare County.

How the program works: Children are given a Red Book Bag each week in their classroom with four high-quality books and a Read-Aloud DVD. On check-out day, children take the book bags home so that their family can enjoy reading the books together for a week. After the bags are returned, children are given a new book bag, with four new books inside to take home for new reading adventures. 

At the end of the year, a Blue Bag Celebration is held in collaboration with the Dare County Libraries. At this event, children and families celebrate their year of reading and book sharing and each child transitioning to Kindergarten receives a Blue Library Bag to keep and use when visiting the library. Equipped with a library card and new Blue Bag, children and their families are ready to use the library on an ongoing basis, building a family habit of selecting books and reading together.

For more information on Raising a Reader, please contact Carla Heppert at (252)441-0614 or cheppert@darekids.org.


Children and Youth Partnership

534 Ananias Dare Street
(252) 441-0614