Raising a Community of Readers


OUR MISSION for the Great Valley Bookfest is to create a family-friendly festival that celebrates literacy and promotes the written word in the heart of California’s Central Valley.


The Great Valley Bookfest continues to forge partnerships with public agencies and community based organizations to encourage reading for all age groups.


Reading by Third:

Research shows that the ability to read proficiently by the end of third grade is a powerful predictor of future academic success. But it’s a benchmark too many local children fail to reach. Learn more about how the University of the Pacific and their partners in the Beyond Our Gates initiative are working to improve early literacy.

San Joaquin Reads:

San Joaquin Reads is built around a research-based model co-developed on behalf of the American Library Association by Dr. Susan Neuman, an early literacy expert and alumna of Pacific’s Benerd School of Education.Through interactive workshops led by trusted community organizations, parents and caregivers are learning how to make early literacy a part of their everyday routines. It doesn’t take extensive training or expensive equipment. Helping young children grow up to be strong readers starts simply: with talking, singing, reading, writing and playing. To date, Pacific has trained more than a dozen organizations on how to deliver early literacy workshops, with additional trainings planned for the future.To learn more:

First 5 San Joaquin

Research shows that a child’s brain develops most dramatically in the first five years and what parents and caregivers do during these years to support their child’s growth will have a meaningful impact throughout life.  Based on this research, California voters passed Proposition 10 in 1998, adding a 50 cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes to support programs for expectant parents and children ages 0 to 5.  With this funding, First 5 San Joaquin (F5SJ) provides financial support for critical programs such as health, preschool and literacy programs, to ensure programs effectively meet the needs of families. Among other literacy services/programs, F5SJ funds Raising A Reader (RAR), a book bag exchange program that engages parents and caregivers in a routine of book sharing with children.  RAR is offered by home visitation, preschool, and child care providers.  F5SJ also implements the Talk, Read, Sing, Draw, Play (TRSDP) campaign in partnership with a number of local agencies.  The TRSDP campaign encourages parent engagement and provides children 0-5 with consistent, language-rich experiences. 



Phone: (209) 953-5437


Stanislaus Reads!:

Stanislaus READS! is a multi-agency, multi-year effort to help children read at grade-level by the end of third grade. This critical milestone is the most important predictor for high school graduation and career success and marks the transition from learning to read to reading to learn.

Adult Literacy Education ~ If you know an adult who would like to learn to read (no matter their age) please have them reach out to the appropriate resource below:


LearningQuest — Stanislaus Literacy Centers
Partnering with the Stanislaus County Library

Over 100,000 adults in Stanislaus County have difficulty using an ATM machine or reading a bus schedule. Not being able to read well affects everything from a person’s ability to find a job, to read to their child, to filling out health forms. Stanislaus Literacy Center has partnered with Stanislaus County Library to provide the LearningQuest Adult Literacy program at the library which offers free educational services to adults.

Family Literacy ESL

Enroll in one of the English as a Second Language classes to help improve your speaking reading and writing.

This program helps parents become their child’s first and best teacher. Students learn or improve their English skills with the focus of helping parents develop skills to gain employment and help their children in school. Childcare is available at most of our sites. Enrollment is limited and begins in September. Call 209-522-0656 to get on the interest list.

Citizenship Preparation Classes

Prepare for your citizenship test in one of the pop up citizenship classes.

As funding becomes available classes open in different areas in Modesto or Riverbank. Students are able to practice their English while learning about government and preparing for their test. Call 209-522-0656 to get on the interest list. Classes come up as funding becomes available.

Parent and Child Time (PACT) Class

Parents who support their child’s learning contribute to their child’s successes both in school and in life. The PACT component allows parents to interact together as a family unit.

PACT classes are offered in some of the same locations where that offer ESL classes. They typically start in the spring immediately following the end of the ESL program. Parents work together with their kids and participate in activities following different educational themes.

Childcare Program

Bring your child ages 3-12 to the program while you attend our classes

A majority of sites provide free childcare for the parents attending classes. Staff not only babysits the kids, but helps prepare them for school and/or provide help with schoolwork. Following a set of weekly themes, the kids work on different educational crafts while developing socials skills and pre-k skills.


Family Literacy locations include:

  • Riverbank School District provided at Cardozo Middle School and Riverbank Language Academy
  • Neighborhood Center at Marshall Park Community Center
  • Bret Harte Elementary in Modesto
  • Robertson Road Elementary in Modesto

Jail Education

When inmates buy phone cards or call collect or purchase items from the commissary, the profit goes into a fund to benefit inmates called the Inmate Welfare Funds. These funds provide the educational program in the jail. HSE classes are offered at the Minimum housing facilities. Individual tutoring is provided in the Public Safety Center for literacy and HSE preparation.

How the Program Works

Inmates send a request form to the HSE instructor. The inmate is assessed and services provided accordingly in either literacy or HSE.Contact Information
Contact: Hallie Van Deventer
Phone: 209-521-1710 ext. 110


For more info about LearningQuest — Stanislaus Literacy Centers
Karen Williams

Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library

Adult Literacy Program

One in four adults in San Joaquin County lacks basic literacy skills. Through one-on-one tutoring done by volunteers from the community, the Adult Literacy Program’s goals are to promote and maintain the basic literacy skills of English-speaking adults. Adult learners set their own goals so that they may participate more fully in society as parents and family members, as workers, and as community members and citizens. This program is funded largely by a California Library Literacy Services grant. To find out about becoming a tutor or a learner in the Adult Literacy Program, call (209) 937-7778.

GED Preparation

The Literacy Office provides an online assessment to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses in order to study for the exam. In addition to study materials specifically matched to the online assessment, students may also take official GED practice tests. These services are available in the Literacy Office at the Cesar Chavez Central Library. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (209) 937-7778.

English Conversation Club

The Let’s Chat: English Conversation Club meets Wednesdays from 3:30-5 pm at the Cesar Chavez Central Library. This program is for ESL adults (English as a Second Language) who wish to practice their English language speaking skills in a casual and relaxed environment. Each session includes a topic of the day, shared reading, activities and interesting conversation. Participating adults should be able to read English and desire and opportunity to practice English conversation. For more information about the English Conversation Club, call (209) 937-7778.

Families Reading Together

This program encourages family literacy by introducing preschool and elementary age children and their parents to the library and its many free resources. Programs are held at library branches, schools, and community centers. Children enjoy fun storytimes and learn about great books to read on their own. To schedule a Families Reading Together program at your school or community center, call (209) 937-7012.

Literacy in the Community

To learn about other service agencies with literacy programs in our community, consult this directory compiled by Pipeline Literacy Committee.

Training Wheels

This early literacy vehicle travels to preschools and daycare centers throughout San Joaquin County. Each visit includes a special storytime where children ages 0-5 and their teachers and caregivers enjoy stories, songs and poetry. This program is funded largely by a California Library Literacy Services grant. To schedule a Training Wheels visit to your preschool or daycare, call (209) 937-8143.

For more information regarding the

Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library

605 N El Dorado St
Stockton, CA 95202
Suzy Daveluy
(209) 937-8221 from Stockton
(866) 805-READ (7323) from San Joaquin County