Books for Babies

Parents are their babies’ first teachers. We help parents realize the important — and fun — role they play in developing their infants’ language skills, starting from birth. This Connecticut program gives parents basic tools to start: baby board books, how-to guides and other resources.

Watch our video, “A First Guide for Parents of Newborns”

Books for Babies, the flagship program of Read to Grow in Connecticut, started 20 years ago at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Now in 15 hospitals, the program gives a free Literacy Packet to every mother with a newborn at those places.

A new aspect of Books for Babies, called the Prenatal Project, began in late 2016. Through the project, we provide information and new baby board books to women receiving prenatal care at community health centers and clinics. The centers tailor the project to meet their needs in treating OB patients. We currently are collaborating with ten sites.

For more information on components of Books for Babies:

Books for Babies has reached more than 347,198 newborns and their parents at 15 hospitals in Connecticut.

At the hospitals, we:

  • annually deliver about 22,000 Literacy Packets to mothers of newborns, who account for 60% of births in the state;
  • have about 40 volunteers trained to visit with mothers bedside to talk about developing their babies’ language skills in simple, fun and loving ways;
  • offer a free Follow-Up to all the mothers. It allows them to receive in the mail new baby board books and literacy brochures when their babies turn 3 months and 1 year;
  • offer books to siblings of newborns in the hospitals.

Literacy Packets are available in English and bilingual (Spanish-English) versions. The contents are:

  • Baby board book: “Welcome to the World!”
  • Booklet: “First Guide for Parents of Newborns”
  • Reply card for more free books over the baby’s first year through our Follow-Up
  • CHET Baby Scholars information and reply card
The 15 Partner Hospitals with
Births per Year
for July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020
Backus 851
Bridgeport 2,330
Charlotte Hungerford 373
Connecticut Children’s 600
Day Kimball 438
Griffin 516
Hartford 3,765
Lawrence + Memorial 1,333
Manchester 1,422
Middlesex 956
Saint Francis 2,512
Saint Vincent’s 723
Sharon 201
Yale-New Haven 4,659
YNHH-Saint Raphael 1,083
TOTAL 21,162

The Books for Babies program continues to expand our work to community health centers and primary care clinics where pregnant women receive care.

The aim of our needs-based Prenatal Project is to support families’ knowledge and interactions so that parents build reading routines and otherwise engage with their babies, starting at birth. Healthcare providers deliver our literacy message and distribute our literacy materials to their expecting patients at no cost to families, including baby board books that help parents establish a home library for their children.

We currently partner with the following providers to deliver our Prenatal Project:

  • Charter Oak Health Center in Hartford
  • Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center in New Haven
  • Connecticut Children’s – Neonatal Follow-Up Clinic in Hartford
  • Day Kimball Healthcare Center in Plainfield
  • Day Kimball Medical Group OB/GYN in Putnam
  • Fair Haven Community Health Center in New Haven
  • Optimus Health Care in Bridgeport
  • Southwest Community Health Center in Bridgeport (3 locations)
  • UCONN Health Parenting Program in West Hartford
  • Yale Maternal Fetal Medicine in New Haven

Are you a healthcare provider interested in partnering with Read to Grow? Please email or call 203-488-6800 and ask to speak with a Books for Babies Coordinator.