Ready, Set, Read, Tacoma Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ready, Set, Read – Tacoma?

A non-profit program for Pre-K children over 3 years old, living in the Tacoma Public School District, that offers access to 70+ books with activities to encourage early literacy.

After enrolling your child, you can begin to read the books in our collection together and complete the activities to practice effective reading skills by sounding out words, asking questions, making observations, and trying to relate fiction to your lives.

Along the way, your child will be learning about phonics, shapes, colors, safety, inclusion, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math (STEAM) to prepare for Kindergarten.  Siblings will be able to practice their reading skills together, and everyone may strengthen other concepts or languages along the way. Most importantly, you will be given a window into their inner world and planting ideas that will grow with them over a lifetime.

For every 10 storytimes that your child logs at home or at school, prizes will be awarded from businesses around the community. When they’ve accumulated 60 collection books read, they are champions – earning themselves a reading medal, a backpack full of books and a personalized celebrity-style READ poster with their favorite book.

You should find all the information you need on our website. If you have any questions not addressed here, please contact the RSR team through

Who can participate?

Children older than 3, who live in the Tacoma Public School District, that have not yet started Kindergarten are eligible for enrollment.

How can my business support this great cause?

Businesses can post our Free Enrollment Flier on their community boards and social media, as well as mention our program to families with small children.

Donations of volunteer time, picture books, incentive prizes or funds are also always appreciated and can be easily arranged by calling Risa Hess at 253-571-4989.

Can my child participate for more than one year?

Yes, as long as they have not started Kindergarten yet.

How do I enroll my child?

You can fill out a  Fillable RSRT Enrollment Form 2018 with your teacher/librarian, or complete the Online enrollment application.

What are the Prizes and how do we earn them?

At each interval of 10 books read, students are awarded prizes as soon as possible from a number of donors, including Round Table Pizza, Ice Cream Social, Papa Murphy’s, Half Price Books and more! We encourage children to participate throughout the entire school year. Our Grand Prize is awarded at the end of the school year and includes: A backpack of books, a personalized celebrity style READ poster with their favorite book, an achievement medal awarded by our Board of Directors and other exciting goodies!

What sort of content is in this book collection?

Our collection focuses on the usual early learning topics of colors, numbers, animals and rhyming. Many titles also feature kid-friendly STEAM concepts and our community values, such as inclusion, recycling and mindfulness.

Are the books in any other languages?

Yes! Some books are fully or partially in Spanish. We also encourage families to watch Youtube videos which read the stories using American Sign Language. As we learn more about our participant’s primary languages at home, we will add even more new language experiences to reflect our community. Currently we are reviewing Arabic, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Russian and more titles.

Where can I find these books?

Currently 28 Tacoma preschools and early learning centers have a full set of our books for checkout but you will also find them at your local Tacoma Public Library branch (or e-books on their free Overdrive app or BookFlix website). Our partners at Half Price Books may have used copies in stock. Some families choose to find videos of the books being read on Youtube.

No matter how you find the titles, the most important thing to remember is that they all have coordinating activities for families to get involved with (in the back of the book or on our website). It is beyond adorable for older siblings to read to the young ones, and the pre-literacy building skills can be incorporated into other aspects of your daily life.

What Tacoma preschools carry the full Ready, Set, Read collections?

Arlington, Bay Terrace, Bates ELC, Birney, Blix, Boze, Downing, Edison, Fern Hill, Franklin, Geiger, Grant, Jefferson, Larchmont, Manitou Park, Mann, McCarver, The Muse: A Children’s Center, NE Tacoma, Point Defiance, Reed, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Stafford, Whitman, Washington Hoyt, Whittier, Willard ELC. We are also starting our program at Eastside Community Center, Brotman Early Learning Center, and the Tacoma Rescue Mission.

Wait, how do the Montessori Schools participate in a prize-based system?

We are working with Geiger and Bryant librarians to create a class reading goal that everyone can contribute to, then combining their “rewards” as a class party to celebrate reading.

What if my school isn’t participating or my child isn’t in daycare or preschool yet?

Don’t worry, there are several ways we can get your involved. You’re welcome to join nearby participating schools for storytime, or you can contact the Communities In Schools’ Early Childhood Outreach Coordinator Risa Hess to help set up fundraisers with local philanthropists to get a collection started in your preschool.

When are storytimes?

Storytimes will differ on a school-by-school basis, contact your local librarian for more information.

How long can I check out a book for?

We ask that families keep these books for no longer than a week. Each library has only one copy, and for everyone to be able to enjoy them, we need to share. If you find you have brought the book home more than once, perhaps consider buying a copy for your personal library.

What if I don’t live near you? Can I still do the program?

Activities are free for everyone to enjoy, but only participants who will attend Tacoma Public Schools district are eligible for prizes.

What do I do if my child rips the book?

We understand that accidents happen, and they can be great learning opportunities to introduce your child to the idea that we need to be gentle with special objects. Please do your best to repair the page or leave a note about it for your librarian. If the ripping behavior does not stop, one solution is to redirect your child to something that is okay to pull apart – scrap paper, play dough, or LEGO blocks for instance. If you can afford to donate something towards the replacement of the book, please contact Risa Hess at 253-571-4989.

How do I volunteer?

Call Early Childhood Outreach Coordinator Risa Hess at 253-571-4989 to find how your talents and interests can be applied.

How do I suggest new books or activities for this program?

Please call or email Risa Hess ( with all your feedback.


Ready, Set, Read Main Page