Efforts in the Cedar Valley:

Cedar Valley Readers encourages parents, educators and community members to reach out and help foster love for reading and learning within every child, every day! We are excited to be a part of many exciting local and national initiatives. Take a look at what we at working on!


  • Book Rich Environments
  • Booking Brighter Futures32d1cd8d8b9f9dfa6d0093295d8844b4_sungif-sun-gifs-on-giphy-animated-clipart-of-the-sun_400-400
  • Daily Vroom App
  • Parenting and Safety Fairs + other community events
  • Reach Out and Read


  • Bell To Bell
  • Vision To Learn


  • Little Free Libraries
  • Y Believe Summer Learning Academy


Book Rich Environments

Book Rich Environments is an initiative developed by Cedar Valley Readers in conjunction with Operation Threshold, a community action organization in Waterloo, Iowa. Families receiving housing assistance receive free books for every child in their household. We believe in the importance of building personal libraries for all young readers in the Cedar Valley, and Book Rich Environments is only one of the many ways we are working to put books in kids’ hands.

Booking Brighter Futures

Booking Brighter Futures was created by Cedar Valley Readers to deliver books to families that are already receiving home-visit services through Lutheran Services of Iowa , Operation Threshold and Tri-County Child and Family Development Council, Inc.. Every child in the families that are being served (approximately 460 families currently served by all three programs) receive a new book each month to add to their growing home libraries. We are always looking for new books to hand out as part of this great program! Find out how you can help here.

Daily Vroom App

New science tells us that our children’s first years are when they develop the foundation for all future learning. Every time we connect with them, it’s not just their eyes that light up—it’s their brains too. In these moments, half a million neurons fire at once, taking in all the things we say and do. We can’t see it happening, but it’s all there, all at work. That’s why the Daily Vroom app is here.

shared moments into brain building moments. Whether it’s mealtime, bath time, or anytime in between, there are always ways to nurture our children’s growing minds.


Download the FREE Daily Vroom today!

Parenting and Safety Fairs + other community events

Cedar Valley Readers participates in the annual Parenting Fair and Safety Fair, hosted by Operation Threshold’s Nest Program. There are multiple community agencies represented that give away free information, resources, and materials to parents and children. CVR also attends other community events in our efforts to reach out to parents and give away free books and resources!
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Reach out and Read

Reach out and Read is a national program that supports medical professionals in championing parents as their children’s first and most important teachers. Dr. Daniel Wright and Covenant Pediatrics, in partnership with Cedar Valley Readers, first brought Reach Out and Read to the Cedar Valley in 2016.

Other offices participating the Reach Out and Read program in the Cedar valley include the Family Practice offices at Unity Point Prairie Parkway in Cedar Falls and Peoples Community Health Clinic. We are excited to see another layer of support in our community that encourages the promotion of literacy and reading success!

The Reach out and Read model calls for physicians to give a new, age and culturally appropriate book to every child who visits them for a well-child check-up, from infancy through age 5. During regular check-ups, physicians advise parents about the importance of reading aloud to their children. As a result of this evidence-based intervention, parents learn new ways to stimulate their children’s literacy development, and have more books in their home, and read to their children more frequently.
Below are additional resources from Reach Out and Read providing guidance for parents related to appropriate book-related behaviors for ages 6 months though 5 years

Milestones of Early Literacy Development (English)
Milestones of Early Literacy Development (Spanish)

Read more about Reach Out and Read’s national initiatives →


Bell To Bell

Bell to Bell was launched in the Waterloo Community School District, including elementary schools and now at Elk Run Preschool! The initiative is an effort to improve day to day school attendance by providing resources and having students and parents pledge to make an effort to make to school every day, all day, unless sick. Future plans is to expand the initiative to remaining preschools in the Cedar Valley.



Vision to Learn

Founded in 2012 in Los Angeles, Vision To Learn provides children with free eye exams and free glasses by bringing its mobile eye clinics to schools and to other neighborhood youth and community organizations.

Kids’ vision issues often go undetected, with as many as one in five children lacking the ability to see clearly. Students with impaired vision can struggle to read a book, study math, see the board, or even participate in class—all of which can result in poor grades and adversely affect academic achievement. Vision To Learn alters these outcomes by coordinating screenings for children, and supplying those in need with eye exams and glasses—an age-old yet critical tool for success.
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We are excited about Cedar Valley Readers’ developing partnership with Vision to Learn. In 2017, mobile screening labs visited Cunningham, Highland, Irving, Lincoln and Lowell Elementary Schools in Waterloo to provide free eye exams. As part of the initiative, two pairs of glasses are provided free of charge to children in need. To further track the successes of the program, we are partnering with Cedar Valley Medical Specialists and Unity Point Waterloo to track reading scores from participating children.

Find out more about the national Vision to Learn campaign. 


Little Free Libraries

Little Free Libraries are small boxes that house free books for anyone to take and exchange at any time. Returns and/or exchanges are not mandatory, but encouraged. The Cedar Valley’s Little Free Libraries are open to everyone regardless of income level, age or residence. In October, 2018 three little free libraries were installed in the Cedar Valley, including at:

  • Cedar Valley Unitarian Universalists (3912 Cedar Heights Dr., Cedar Falls)
  • Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church (915 Willow St., Waterloo)
  • First Congregational Church (608 West 4th St., Waterloo)

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Y Believe Summer Learning Academy

Cedar Valley Readers partners with the Family YMCA of Black Hawk County and Waterloo Community School District to provide the Y Believe Summer Learning Academy, which seeks to build strong, literate and empowered children prepared to make a difference in them, their families and their communities.

By providing summer reading, math and STEM enrichment for children who might otherwise not have access to books, the Y Summer Learning Academy plays a much needed role in helping to curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps – and is a key part of YMCA’s work to ensure a level playing field for all children. In partnership with local congregations, schools, colleges and universities, community organizations, the Y Summer Learning Academy has the ability to boost student motivation to read, generate more positive attitudes toward learning, increase self-esteem and connect the needs of children and families to the resources of their communities.