Co-creating a Home Literacy Environment from Birth, with Parents
Beginning when a baby is born, Book Babies partners with families of Medicaid-eligible children to provide resources, skills, and support to optimize their child's early language and literacy skills.
What is Book Babies?
Book Babies partners with parents and children to develop their child’s early language and literacy skills. An evidence-informed literacy coaching partnership, Book Babies begins when a baby is born and is sustained over five years. Book Babies builds rich relationships and provides families with the information and resources they need to develop the foundation for their children’s school readiness and school success.
Book Babies provides quarterly literacy coaching visits, 100+ age-appropriate and language-appropriate books, and a host of additional supports through Pre-K and kindergarten enrollment, including a college or career savings account (for our Durham Book Babies families).
On this Page
Why Book Babies Matters
• 80% of all brain development occurs in the first three years of life. 
•Reading regularly with children from birth stimulates patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in a child's life. 
•The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents read to their children from birth. 
Thank you for continued parental support through this program as it has been so helpful to our family in understanding how to teach our child.
Book Babies Parent
How Book Babies Works
Book Babies uses a unique evidence-based curriculum that has been shown to enhance early childhood language development and foster parent engagement. Over the course of five years starting at birth, families enrolled in Book Babies receive individualized, literacy coaching sessions throughout each year, age appropriate children's books (in English and Spanish), and a custom-made bookshelf to hold the books.
When a child reaches two-and-a-half, families receive literacy kits that further the development of dialogic reading, phonemic awareness, and emergent writing.
Together, literacy coaches and parents set literacy goals for their children, mark their progress as they prepare for school, and help ensure that they start kindergarten ready to learn. Other benefits include parent networking opportunities, a graduation celebration upon completion of the program, and more. Book Babies families in Durham County also receive a $500 child savings account (learn more).
Book Babies Literacy Coaches partner with parents in three locations in North Carolina, Durham County, Wake County, and Forsyth County (in partnership with Imprints Cares).
History of Book Babies
Book Babies launched in Durham County in 2013. In May 2018, our inaugural class of Book Babies graduated from the program, ready and eager to take kindergarten by storm!
Also in 2018, Book Harvest was proud to collaborate with Imprints Cares to launch Book Babies in Winston Salem. Imprints Cares has a distinguished 50-year track record of providing excellent home visiting support to families in Forsyth County.
In July of 2023, Book Harvest began laying the foundation for a Book Babies expansion in Wake County. The program will begin enrollment in early 2024.
Book Babies Outcomes
Book Harvest is committed to continuous self-assessment, including rigorous external evaluation, to identify best practices as we expand our efforts to rewrite outcomes for all children.
In 2013, Book Harvest launched Book Babies, a home visiting literacy coaching intervention that starts at birth and continues for five full years, through kindergarten entry. Our professional staff works alongside parents, at their kitchen tables and on their living room sofas, to identify their goals for their children, provide them with the resources, modeling, and information they need to thrive in their role as their child’s first and best teacher, and build social capital networks with other parents.
Our model is parent-led and parent-informed. Its unique dosage, frequency, duration, and affordability makes it a candidate for population-level scaling; it holds the potential to confer large-scale kindergarten-readiness, a critical milestone that has long eluded low-income families and families of color stuck in conditions of generational poverty and systemic racism.
Book Babies Randomized Control Study
In 2018, Book Harvest was proud to collaborate with Imprints Cares to launch Book Babies in Winston Salem. Imprints Cares has a distinguished 50-year track record of providing excellent home visiting support to families in Forsyth County. Between 2017 and 2020, Book Harvest engaged external researchers to conduct a longitudinal randomized control trial evaluation of the Book Babies program. by Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., Ximena Franco, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator), and Fernando Andrade, Ph.D. from Equity Research Action Coalition at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute with The Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation at HighScope Educational Research Foundation
"In their own words: Parents’ voices about a book-provision program"
Journal of Early Childhood Literacy Publication (2022)
"In their own words: Parents’ voices about a book-provision program" in the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy Publication (2022). Drawing on research conducted by the Book Babies literacy coaches, this article, as well as the initial report, describe the integral role parents play in children's development, and the importance of Book Babies literacy coaches working alongside families in culturally responsive ways to create sustainable in-home literacy practices. by Meytal Barak, Book Harvest's Director of Early Literacy, and Dr. Cristina Gillanders, Associate Professor in Early Childhood Education in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver
Book Babies Research Briefing Webinar (initially aired on 9/8/2021)
Since 2013, Book Babies has collaborated with parents to co-create a rich and nourishing home literacy environment. Book Harvest is deeply committed to understanding if and how this novel collaborative approach makes a difference in children’s early language and literacy development. How do we measure the impact of this work to realize equitable early literacy for every child? Upon conducting research on Book Babies, we found that PARENTS make the difference - acting as catalysts and accelerators for their children's early literacy development from birth. Ginger Young and the principal investigators from these studies held a webinar on September 8th, 2021 to share the results and implications of the research studies.
Book Babies 2022 Parent Survey
Ninety-seven Books Babies families responded to the 2022 Book Babies Survey.
reported that books provided by the program make reading routines at home easier.
agreed that Book Babies supports parents in including early literacy strategies at home.
reported that the program supports parents in creating a daily reading routine at home.
said Book Babies impacts how satisfied they feel about helping their child develop interest in books or reading.
reported the program had a positive impact on their knowledge about early language and literacy development.
said they trust their
Book Babies Literacy Coach.
reported reading with their child at least twice per week.
Enroll Your Newborn
If you have a newborn that is Medicaid eligible, younger than 15 weeks, you might be able to enroll your baby!
If you have any trouble with the forms below, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text us at 919-907-0998. Thank you! *Please note that spaces are limited. Enrollment is on a first come, first served basis.*
Your family will receive in-home literacy coaching starting at your child's birth to age 5!
Learning Opportunities & Celebrations
Enjoy exclusive celebrations and gatherings; connection to community resources; and family networking opportunities.
Free Books & Bookshelf
Receive free age-appropriate, culturally inclusive books for every step of your baby's development! Plus, a beautiful bookshelf to hold them.
Thank you to our Book Babies funders: Mebane Foundation, Bastian Family Charitable Foundation, Durham's Partnership for Children: Smart Start, Wake County Smart Start, BioMerieux