Vision2Read literacy campaign wins two national awards

The Countywide Vision’s literacy campaign, Vision2Read, won two 2017 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo) in the category of civic education and public information and for its website,

NACo is an organization that honors innovative and effective county government programs that enhance services for residents. Awards are given nationally in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. This year, NACo recognized 605 entries from 108 counties in 29 states.

“It is phenomenal news that Vision2Read is receiving national acclaim from the National Association of Counties,” said San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Ted Alejandre. “It’s been exciting to see the collaborative nature for the support of our Vision2Read initiative for the advancement of early literacy across our region. With the implementation of additional early literacy efforts like the countywide Footsteps2Brilliance’s launch this year, I am certain there will be more great news and recognitions for our countywide literacy efforts in the future.”

Alejandre and Cal State University San Bernardino President Tomás D. Morales are leaders of the Countywide Vision project’s Education Element group. The Education Element group is charged with developing strategies to achieve the Vision’s Cradle to Career Goal. The group identified early childhood literacy as a critical first step on the path to success. Reading at grade level by third grade is one of the greatest predictors of children’s success in school, their likelihood of going to college and their future earning potential, according to a 2010 report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The community-driven Countywide Vision project took on literacy as its first public-facing campaign in September 2015 after learning that 69 percent of San Bernardino County third-graders did not meet state English language/literacy standards that year.

The County of San Bernardino, San Bernardino Council of Governments, our local city, school, special district, business and nonprofit partners recognized literacy impacts all elements of our community – public safety, education, wellness, jobs and the economy. An educated workforce will attract employers and investment to our county. Vision2Read promotes existing literacy and reading programs, directing those who need reading assistance to programs, encouraging members of the community to volunteer to teach others to read and raising overall awareness of the importance of reading for academic and economic success.

The San Bernardino County Information Services Department and United Ways of San Bernardino County worked together to design and provide a literacy resources and volunteer opportunities portal to the website.

“Our goal is to connect families and their children with the resources for a bright future and it was our pleasure to partner with the Countywide Vision project to do just that,” said Gregory Bradbard, president and CEO of the Inland Empire United Way.

Vision2Read launched at a September 2015 Family Reading Rally where the Molina Foundation donated 50,000 books to schoolchildren. In January 2016, First 5 San Bernardino invested $250,000 to expand the Reach Out and Read program in the county, which provides books to pediatricians to give to their patients to reinforce reading as a critical activity for brain development. In summer 2016, libraries countywide held a summer reading program challenge, increasing the number of participants by 28.3 percent in 2016 with 47,632 people compared to 2015 with 37,122 people. Over the first 15 months, 92,400 people participated in numerous events and reading challenges held at County Library branches.

On Dec. 6, 2016, the Board celebrated the campaign by recognizing 35 Reading Heroes – people nominated by the community for their contributions to literacy.

So far, more than 170,000 people have been connected to literacy programs through the Vision2Read campaign and its events.

Published May 9, 2017 | By County of San Bernardino | Leave a comment | Number of Views (4)

Probation, Literacy Club install Little Free Libraries

The San Bernardino County Probation Department has partnered with The Literacy Club to install Little Free Libraries at two probation buildings in support of the Countywide Vision’s literacy campaign, Vision2Read.
The mobile libraries were unveiled April 24 at the Adult Central Day Reporting Center and the Youth Justice Center, both in San Bernardino. Built to look like dog houses, the libraries are designed to honor San Bernardino County Probation Department K9s, Chester and Cody.
Deputy Chief Probation Officer Tracy Reece attended the unveiling and explained that the Vision2Read campaign, launched in 2015 in San Bernardino County, coincided with Probation’s development of the Little Free Libraries Project. In line with the Countywide Vision, this program focuses attention on the importance of reading, and connects people to available literacy resources and volunteer opportunities in San Bernardino County.
Deputy Chief Probation Officer, Tracy Reece, read to a group of children at the Youth Justice Center afterwards she stated, “The gift of reading never ends, and it is our hope that this provides an added resource for our probationers and their children.”
The Literacy Club, a non-profit organization, built the structures and supplied hundreds of new books for the probation libraries. Youth participating in probation’s Gateway and Building Skills programs will eventually learn how to construct 12 additional libraries to be put in probation buildings throughout San Bernardino County.
“The libraries are a great opportunity for children visiting with their parents to enjoy a book while they wait,” said Jean Chadwick, Executive Director of The Literacy Club. Readers are encouraged to take books home from the selection, which ranges from preschool to high school interests.
The Literacy Club has built over 60 Little Free Libraries in just over three years and given away more than 35,000 brand new books to kids who need them the most. Libraries have been placed in police station lobbies, parks, and community centers throughout Southern California, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Every library is customized for each location, including the theme, color and project name.
More information about The Literacy Club and their libraries can be found at

Published May 1, 2017 | By County of San Bernardino | Leave a comment | Number of Views (3)

Vision2Read partners launch transformative literacy program

A new countywide early literacy program called Footsteps2Brilliance was unveiled today during a national press conference at the San Bernardino County Government Center. The program is part of the San Bernardino Countywide Vision2Read literacy campaign, a collective impact initiative involving multiple agencies working collaboratively to increase literacy rates among children and families in the county.

The San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, County Preschool Services, Children’s Fund and First 5 San Bernardino are partnering to deliver the new literacy program.

Parents interested in signing up for the app for their children may visit

Footsteps2Brilliance is an innovative early learning mobile technology platform that provides free access to early literacy activities to all families with children birth through pre-K who reside in San Bernardino County. The program provides a comprehensive curriculum of more than 1,000 English and Spanish books, songs and games that are fun for children and address the vocabulary gap.

“Literacy is a priority in our county. Early literacy skills lay the foundation for a child’s success from cradle to career,” County Superintendent Ted Alejandre said. “Children who are not proficient readers by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers.”

In January 2017, a cohort of 1,500 students in county preschool programs were selected to use Footsteps2Brilliance and measure their literacy growth. To date, participating preschoolers have read 22,240 books and more than 5.1 million words. As part of the launch, Alejandre and program partners are encouraging all families with birth through pre-K children in the county to join a challenge to read an additional 3 million words by Sept. 1, 2017.

“Footsteps2Brilliance enables us to cross the divide between children who have a seat in a preschool and those who do not,” said Diana Alexander, director of Preschool Services for the county. “We get to provide all birth through pre-K children with an amazing literacy software program that will bring several modes of learning right into their home. This is an exciting time for San Bernardino County!”

Among the benefits of Footsteps2Brilliance is that the platform’s educational resources can be accessed from any smartphone, tablet or computer with or without an Internet connection. Research shows that more than 80 percent of parents own smartphones or mobile devices.

“Through the Footsteps2Brilliance platform, families, schools and the community have access to high-quality educational tools to accelerate vocabulary and literacy skills using the devices they already own,” noted Karen Scott, executive director of First 5 San Bernardino.

According to Stacy Iverson – president and CEO of Children’s Fund – every dollar spent on quality early childhood interventions produces a $14-$17 return. “No single strategy offers a greater return on investment than providing children with the tools they need to read proficiently by third grade,” she said.

Research shows the greatest disparity of knowledge among children is the vocabulary gap – the number of words a child knows from birth through third grade. Children from low-income families hear 30 million fewer words before the age of four than their more affluent peers. This is compounded by the fact that 61 percent of low-income children have no books in their homes.

Approximately 20 percent of families in San Bernardino County live in poverty and 34 percent speak Spanish in the home (according to census data). Based on data from the California Department of Education, nearly 19 percent of school-aged students are classified as English Learners and more than 72 percent qualify for free and reduced lunch.

The San Bernardino County literacy partnership is unique and will serve as a blueprint around the nation to achieve early literacy success in dual language communities on a countywide basis.

“We are honored to partner with the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools to give all children equal access to high-quality bilingual English and Spanish literacy instruction. Already, we have seen this unique countywide collaboration bring the community together with a strong commitment and a plan to support all early learners. We believe this will be a powerful model for other districts across the nation to follow,” said Ilene Rosenthal, CEO of Footsteps2Brilliance.

About San Bernardino Countywide Vision2Read:
Vision2Read is a collective impact initiative involving government, education, health care, public safety, business and labor, community and faith-based leaders, and parents and families. Vision2Read supports the San Bernardino Countywide Vision and its regional educational goal of supporting the success of every child from cradle to career. It is designed to help improve literacy throughout San Bernardino County by connecting people to literacy programs.

About Footsteps2Brilliance, Inc.:
Footsteps2Briliance, Inc. is the breakthrough early learning platform that accelerates early achievement by uniting the power of mobile gaming technology with the latest in cognitive research. Footsteps2Brilliance provides enticing, interactive, 24/7 learning experiences that digitally link school and home to give students the edge they need for success in school today and the world tomorrow.

Published April 19, 2017 | By County of San Bernardino | Leave a comment | Number of Views (8)

San Bernardino County Library hosts Cover to Cover Club

burgerJoin the San Bernardino County Library as we partner with In-N-Out Burger again this year to promote reading among children this spring. The Cover to Cover program kicks off on Saturday, March 4 and will run through Saturday, April 15. This program will encourage students to read in all communities across the County.

To participate in this program, visit any of the 32 San Bernardino County Branch Libraries to sign up. Participants must be between the ages of 4 and 12, and a parent or guardian will need to sign to acknowledge reading accomplishments. For every five books read, an achievement award and voucher for a free hamburger or cheeseburger will be issued. Each child may earn a total of three awards and vouchers for the duration of the program.

In support of the Countywide Vision’s Vision2Read literacy campaign, this program will help to improve literacy among children ages 4 to 12, with the help of incentives, inspiring an excitement to read, providing achievement goals and encouraging a reading routine.

The San Bernardino County Library System is a dynamic network of 32 branch libraries that serve a diverse population over a vast geographic area. The County library system strives to provide equal access to information, technology, programs, and services for all people who call San Bernardino County home.

The library plays a key role in the achievement of the Countywide Vision, by contributing to educational, cultural, and historical development of our County community.

For more information on the San Bernardino County Library system, please visit http://www.sbclib/org/ or call (909) 387-2220.

Published February 28, 2017 | By County of San Bernardino | Leave a comment | Number of Views (23)

San Bernardino County Library celebrates Seuss

dr-seussThe San Bernardino County Library invites you to join in the celebration of everyone’s favorite author, Dr. Seuss. A week-long celebration of reading and Dr. Seuss is in store, in support of the Countywide Vision’s literacy campaign, Vision2Read, and NEA’s Read Across America initiative. Starting Saturday, Feb. 25 through Saturday, March 4, each of our 32 branch libraries will host a special-themed storytime or event featuring popular Dr. Seuss stories.

All SBCL branches will host fun programs for the whole family which include crafts and, of course, reading favorite Dr. Seuss stories. Select branches will offer opportunity drawings and more. Please check with your local County library for more details.

NEA’s Read Across America is an annual reading initiative and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.

The San Bernardino County Library System is a dynamic network of 32 branch libraries that serves a diverse population over a vast geographic area. The County library system strives to provide equal access to information, technology, programs, and services for all people who call San Bernardino County home.

The library plays a key role in the achievement of the Countywide Vision by contributing to educational, cultural, and historical development of our County community.

For more information on the San Bernardino County library system, please visit or call (909) 387-2220.

Published February 24, 2017 | By County of San Bernardino | Leave a comment | Number of Views (24)

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