Read, Baby, Read Presents Early Literacy Ideas: Things That Go!

By Sarah J. RSS Tue, January 26, 2021

Read, Baby, Read is a grant-funded Free Library initiative focused on encouraging early literacy development among infants and young toddlers under two years old.

We work with 12 participating libraries across Philadelphia to reach caregivers of all ages, providing resources that support early literacy skills, language development, and purposeful play. In addition, you can find early literacy tips, resources, and weekly virtual baby storytimes on our Instagram and now in this new blog series! 

A lot of our programming is inspired by the five early literacy practices from Every Child Ready To Read: Read, Sing, Write, Play, and Talk! You can read more about these five practices in the Early Literacy section of the Free Library’s website.

As a part of our new blog series, every month Read, Baby, Read will bring you ideas for how to follow these five practices based on a different theme. 

This month is all about vehicles!


There are a lot of fantastic board books about vehicles available in the Free Library’s catalog. It’s easy to place holds online for free and schedule curbside pick-up at select libraries.

  • Vehicles by Xavier Deneux: This hands-on book has cut-outs that allow your little one to trace the shape of a picture while exploring new concepts and vocabulary.
  • Car, Car, Truck, Jeep by Katrina Charman: Incorporate song into your storytime experience by singing this rhyming book to the tune of “Baa Baa Black Sheep.”
  • Choo! Choo! Guess the Vehicle! by Cocoretto: This lift-the-flap book is great for helping your child develop guessing and prediction skills.
  • Moving Blocks by Yusuke Yonezu: The creative graphics in this book show how the shapes of different “things that move” are found within colorful blocks.
  • Vroom Vroom Garbage Truck by Asia Citro and Troy Commings: Have fun making lots of silly noises and sound effects while reading the tale of a garbage truck’s day.      
  • Love is a Truck by Amy Novesky: This lovely book is an ode to trucks of all kinds and features simple, beautiful illustrations.



There are many popular children’s songs about things that go, including the classic “Wheels on The Bus.” Not sure of the words? Try this baby karaoke version that allows you to sing along with the lyrics. Speaking of buses, we love the lap bounce song “A Hippopotamus Got On A City Bus,” demonstrated here by Jbrary. We recommend checking out their transportation storytime playlist for even more vehicle-themed songs, rhymes, and lap bounces. We also like to incorporate travel songs into our own storytimes on Instagram. Check out this virtual baby storytime with Sarah that features a lap bounce about going for a ride and a finger play song about rocket ships!



Art activities are a great way to help your child develop their pre-writing skills, and it’s easy to add vehicles to the fun. Try taping crayons or markers to the back of toy cars and allowing your child to "draw" on paper by driving the car around to make marks on the paper. This activity is great for little ones who haven’t yet mastered grasping a crayon in their hand. For another fun art experience, find a toy truck with treads on the wheels and let your child "paint" by driving the truck across paper. Explore the way that the treaded tires create patterns in the paint.



We love sensory play at Read, Baby, Read! Bringing toy vehicles to a sandbox or a pile of dirt outside is a fun and simple sensory experience. However, you can also create your own "safe" dirt by following this "cloud dough" dirt recipe and letting your child drive trucks through the "dirt" in a sensory bin. Trying to keep things clean? Make a mud sensory bag for a mess-free version. We do recommend letting your child get messy sometimes though. You can always clean up afterward with a shaving foam car wash!



Be sure to talk to your child as you play. For instance, you can make these pop-up tunnels out of paper. While you play with your child and drive cars through the tunnels, use spatial terms like "under" and "through". Using these words while demonstrating the actions can help your child better understand the concepts. Talk throughout your day as well. The world is filled with lots of things that go, so be sure to talk about the buses, planes, and other vehicles you see as you go about your day. Sounds are important for talk, and there are lots of fun vehicle noises you can make: "Choo, Choo!", "Beep, Beep", "Honk, Honk!", "Vroom, Vroom!"

Read Baby Read’s team includes Early Childhood Specialists, Sarah Jacknis and Natasha Smith, and Program Coordinator Naisha Tyler. If you have questions about our program, feel free to email at TylerN @

Read Baby, Read is made possible by a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation.

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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