Read, Baby, Read

Read, Baby, Read is a grant-funded Free Library initiative focused on encouraging early literacy development among infants and young toddlers (0-24 months old).

We work with participating libraries to reach caregivers of all ages, providing them with resources that support early literacy skills, language development, and purposeful play. Through this early action, Read, Baby, Read strives to reduce the achievement gap and increase availability of early education to families in Philadelphia, especially in low-income communities.

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

Find us on social media

Check out our Instagram @read.baby.read for resources and literacy tips!

Read, Baby, Read Blog: Our blog posts include themed activity ideas organized around the five early literacy practices of Read, Sing, Play, Talk, and Write.

Meet the Read, Baby, Read team

  • Kimberly Garrison, Program Coordinator
  • Sarah Jacknis, Lead Early Childhood Specialist
  • Grace Foster, Lead Early Childhood Specialist

Programming

Read, Baby, Read offers a variety of baby-focused programs. Our Baby Storytimes are tailored with infants and young toddlers in mind. They are filled with developmentally appropriate books and engaging songs and rhymes, including lots of lap bounces, tickles, and finger play songs. The content is designed for children 0-24 months of age, though older siblings are welcome to join as well.

Other programming includes Baby Playgroups and Baby Dance Parties. Baby Playgroups are a time for local families to join together and socialize in our baby spaces while discovering how babies learn through play. Baby Dance Parties are a fun and high-energy way to gather with other families and explore how movement is important for a baby's development.

Community programming is also an essential part of Read, Baby, Read's mission. We offer "parent circles," where caregivers learn and discuss the benefits of early literacy in a casual environment. "Pop-Up Baby Storytimes" are also hosted at local community sites, such as parks and children's hospitals. We have partnered with a variety of community organizations, including Reach Out and Read, ELECT, and AlphaCare.

Baby Storytime

Baby Storytime. Photo by Chris Baker Evens.

Find upcoming Read, Baby, Read programs

Baby Spaces

Read, Baby, Read has created dedicated permanent "baby spaces" designed specifically for infants and young toddlers. These spaces are open for free play during normal library hours and provide children 0-24 months old with their own special play area filled with baby-friendly play furniture and plenty of developmentally appropriate toys.

You can find Read, Baby, Read baby spaces at the following neighborhood libraries:

Richmond Baby and Toddler Space

Richmond Baby and Toddler Space. Photo by Chris Baker Evens.

Blackwell Baby and Toddler Space

Blackwell Baby and Toddler Space. Photo by Chris Baker Evens.

Collections

Read, Baby, Read has worked to expand the Free Library's board book collection, with a focus on board books that represent our communities. Find the latest board books in the Free Library catalog.

Read, Baby, Read also offers special collections available at our Blackwell and Richmond libraries. These include themed backpacks (portable play kits filled with board books and developmentally appropriate toys) and family items (larger items such as baby carriers and white noise machines, which can be borrowed for three months at a time). Browse Read, Baby, Read kits.

Board Books

Board Books. Photo by Chris Baker Evens.

Themed Backpacks

Themed Backpacks. Photo by Chris Baker Evens.

A woman reads a board book with a child on her lap. Photo by Chris Baker Evens.
A child reaches for a board book on a library shelf. Photo by Chris Baker Evens.
A woman reads a board book with a child on her lap. Photo by Chris Baker Evens.
Two adults and three children gather around a play kitchen in the library. Photo by Chris Baker Evens.
A child peers through a blue color viewer toy. Photo by Ryan Brandenberg.
A child watches the bubbles being blown around the room. Photo by Ryan Brandenberg.
A child explores colorful items on a light table. Photo by Ryan Brandenberg.
A child sits in a kiddie pool filled with colorful balls. Photo by Ryan Brandenberg.
A child plays with a lift-the-flap book. Photo by Ryan Brandenberg.
Two children reach out to touch each other's hands. Photo by Ryan Brandenberg.

Resources

If you're interested in learning more about babies and early literacy, we recommend these resources:

  • Much of Read, Baby, Read's content is based on the five practices of Read, Sing, Play, Talk, and Write, developed by the Every Child Ready To Read initiative. For practical literacy tips based on the five practices, check out www.earlylit.net.

  • This organization focuses on Read, Baby, Read's target age group and provides resources and information about early childhood development.

  • Read, Baby, Read's Baby Dance Parties are based on the Brain Dance curriculum, where participants can explore stimulating new movement ideas that create new neural pathways, using different props, music, dance concepts, folk dances, and relationships.