The Pittsburgh Ready project links the Library with five child care providers to share robust early literacy resources. I began working on this project in July 2020, but the project began in person in Fall 2019. At the height of the pandemic, it was a joy to become involved in work that got as close to Library outreach, programming and community partnering as possible, in our new virtual world.
While the Pittsburgh Ready project delivered opportunities for space improvements, storytime visits (first in person, then virtually), professional development, family engagement and more, today I want to focus on the story of the books of this project.
Photo: Gwendolyn Craven of Gwennypooh’s Daycare shares “Puppy Truck” by Brian J. Pinkney, a Pittsburgh Ready giveaway book.
Books are both a basic and expansive component of promoting early literacy and encouraging reading early and often. Selecting high-quality books for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in the Pittsburgh Ready project involved careful thinking and many helping hands.
Each month’s storytime was an opportunity to share books and send each child home with a copy to keep! Building these positive memories with books and offering the chance to enjoy the book over and over at home is just one incredible piece of the Pittsburgh Ready project.
One parent involved in Pittsburgh Ready shared that receiving the giveaway books at home created a household favorite in “After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again” by Dan Santat because they were able to connect a longer picture book story to a familiar rhyme. Another parent said their child’s favorite giveaway book, “I Got the Rhythm” by Connie Schofield-Morrison was a chance for them to build confidence through repeated reading.
This child was also excited to see a character that looked like their teacher represented in a book. It is sometimes difficult to know all the ways books impact people, so it feels fortunate to know a few ways that books sent home in the Pittsburgh Ready program have become part of kids’ lives.
Here are just a handful of the books we sent home with children as part of Pittsburgh Ready, along with some ideas of how you could use the book with the children in your life!
To see all of the books shared with kids, teachers and caregivers during the Pittsburgh Ready project, check out these booklists:
Baby Books of the Pittsburgh Ready Project
Toddler Books of the Pittsburgh Ready Project
Preschool Books of the Pittsburgh Ready Project
“Birds of a Color” by Élo — You and your child can lift the flaps to learn colors in style, with a flock of black-and-white birds who have some vivid surprises in store. This interactive book is sure to create a happy memory, which will build print motivation — interest in and enjoyment of books.
When sharing this book with a baby or toddler, encourage them to help lift flaps to build fine motor skills alongside your bonding experience! Then, look at your surroundings to find similar colors in other objects and name them to build vocabulary.
This title is also on the Library’s Best Books for Babies list. You can check out great book suggestions for babies on all our archived Best Books for Babies booklists. You can check out this title as a Print Book.
“Tap the Magic Tree” by Christie Matheson — This book encourages you to tap, rub, touch, and wiggle the illustrations to make an apple tree bloom, produce fruit, and lose its leaves. Imagination and play are key to enjoying “Tap the Magic Tree.”
After reading this book, build vocabulary by pointing out and naming trees in real life, along with what part of their leaf cycle they are in. Stay playful and find creative ways to interact with the other books you share, even when they don’t instruct you to! You can check out this title as a Print Book.
“Alma and How She Got Her Name” by Juana Martinez Neal — When Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela asks her father why she has so many names, she hears the story of her name and learns about her grandparents. You can share this book and do a variety of activities around your child’s name to build letter knowledge and positive racial and cultural identity for children of color. For example, you can help your child create an acrostic poem around their name. You can check out this title as a Print Book, as an eBook on Overdrive/Libby and as an eAudio in Spanish or English and as a Read Along eBook on Hoopla.
You can sign up for a free library card here. If you are new to our eResources, check out these tutorial videos on how to get started.
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