For the Record

A Child Blossoms with Books, Conversation and Care

After more than 30 years of providing childcare, Geraldine Elliott finds her greatest reward and joy in a very ordinary moment.

It’s the moment when a young child—nurtured on sharing books—expresses for the first time an understanding of words, objects, colors, and numbers.

“Today when tiny, 2-year-old Ka’liya handed me those little plastic flowers she’d been playing with and said ‘THREE PINK FLOWERS,’ I almost cried. Really. I just couldn’t believe it.”

For years, Read to Grow has given Geraldine the baby books and colorful picture books that she uses as essential tools in building the language skills of children under her care. The 71-year-old teaches and cares for three young children as a licensed Early Head Start provider at her home on Beacon Street in Hamden. All the children are under 3 years old.

Geraldine is one of more than 140 childcare providers across Connecticut to whom Read to Grow delivers supplies of children’s books. We also offer workshops on how to encourage the language understanding and communication of infants and toddlers.

Read to Grow has given more than 1.8 million books to over 1.2 million people in Connecticut since the year 2000. We operate statewide with three programs: Books for Babies, Books for Kids, and the new Early Steps to School Success-New Haven. Along with free books, we offer workshops and other early childhood literacy information to families, particularly those living at-risk.

Annually our programs provide more than 180,000 children’s books and services:

  • at 8 community health centers, for pregnant women to build home libraries before their babies are born and to understand they will be their babies’ first teachers.
  • at 14 hospitals, where families of all newborns receive our literacy packets and talk with volunteers about early brain development and the fun and importance of encouraging babies’ language skills.
  • at 33 Book Places set up at other nonprofits, for their clients and residents in their communities to select books to keep.
  • through 13 Partnerships, which include collaborations with Connecticut Food Bank, Nurturing Families Network and The Diaper Bank.
  • in direct response to requests from families, teachers, doctors, childcare providers, and community groups and services.
  • through a new partnership with Save the Children in New Haven called Early Steps to School Success, which promotes literacy and kindergarten readiness for children newborn to age 5.

This holiday season, please consider a gift to support our work.

You can donate in honor or memory of someone special. We will send a card for you or mail it to you for your delivery.

Pictured at left at Geraldine Elliott’s childcare, 2-year-old Koby (left) identifies the animals in a board book held by Ka’liya. 


Here’s what gifts can do:

$30 = 12 baby books for pregnant women at health centers     $250 = GROW! Truck workshop & books

$60 = literacy packets for 8 mothers of newborns                      $300 = 125 new multicultural books

$125 = 2 summer books to each of 25 young schoolchildren    $500 = 1 book for 200 kids at food pantry

$175 = 70 new bilingual books for young children                      $1,000 = 400 books for a BOOK PLACE

To give, use the enclosed envelope. Or give online: Or call: 203.488.6800