The First Interstate BancSystem Foundation, based in Billings, awarded the
Montana State Library $35,000, and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation,
based in Missoula, awarded the State Library $10,000. The money will be used to
expand the Montana State Library’s statewide early literacy initiative, Ready 2 Read.

Launched in 2009, the Ready 2 Read program is an effort to help parents and caregivers
understand the value of sharing language and literacy with their children.

The program has provided collections of high-quality children’s books to libraries,
early childhood training to librarians, and extensive information and training
to parents and caregivers on the importance of sharing books with children from
birth forward.

Funding from First Interstate BancSystem Foundation will be used to support training
of librarians to further their expertise in early literacy and early childhood education.
Additional funding from First Interstate BancSystem Foundation will be used to
support expansion of the popular Ready 2 Read Goes Wild! trunks, which provide
childcare providers, preschools, early elementary educators, parents and caregivers
an opportunity to share language, literacy, learning and nature with their children.

A result of a partnership with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and part of MSL’s
statewide early literacy initiative, Ready 2 Read Goes Wild! uses nature and Montana
animals to spark kids’ interest in language and literacy, math and science, and the
natural world that surrounds them.