Counting Down to Kindergarten: A Complete Guide to Creating a School Readiness Program for Your Community. By R. Lynn Baker. Chicago: ALA, 2015. 144 p. Paper $48.00 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-1333-8).

It is no simple task to create an in-depth resource for librarians who want to ensure that their community’s children are ready for school. But Baker, an advocate for early childhood education with a background in youth services programming, gives her readers the tools they need for the job. She presents the framework of the successful school readiness program she developed for Paul Sawyier Public Library in Frankfort, Kentucky, called Countdown to Kindergarten. With the information provided in this guide, the framework of the program can be adapted to fit any public library.

Helpfully, Baker begins her guide to creating a school readiness program with an introduction to early childhood development and early literacy. This allows readers with little background in early childhood education (or those who need a refresher) to understand why school readiness programs are valuable. Once the reader understands the “why,” Baker moves on to the “how” of starting a school readiness program.

Beyond a comprehensive overview of a school readiness program, Baker provides a schedule of lesson plans that incorporate Every Child Ready to Read, second edition, with other proven school readiness skills. The book also includes reproducible family activity calendars with tips to help caregivers build children’s school readiness at home throughout the year. Baker provides practical advice on initiating or improving partnerships with schools, policymakers, and community members to ensure that school readiness programs are developed to suit the unique community in which they are implemented.

This book also provides examples of successful school readiness programs across the country. These examples illustrate the adaptability and flexibility of Baker’s framework, showing that success can be achieved in libraries of any size, in any location. After reading this guide, the reader is prepared to start a school readiness program, from planning to implementation.

A valuable addition to reference collections, particularly in communities with a strong need for school readiness resources.—Lauren Bridges, Children’s Librarian, Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach, Greenacres, Florida

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