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Reading aloud is the foundation for literacy development. It is the single most important activity for reading success." (Bredekamp, Coople & Neuman, 2000)

Leap Into Learning

Did you know...80% of a child's brain is formed between birth and age three? What happens during these first few years sets the stage for the rest of a child’s life. It is never too early to start reading with children. Instilling a love for books and reading puts them on a path to success. 

Parents are their child's first and most important teachers. Use everyday moments as teachable moments to support early literacy skills. Remember young children have short attention spans. Try reading for short periods, several times a day.


The Power of Play

"Play is really the work of childhood." — Fred Rogers

Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity. Unlock the power of play for your little ones with these post-holiday parent/caregiver lifehacks:

  1. Play with them. Turn mealtime into a restaurant. Let them create a menu of "today's special" (*hint: the special is whatever you are are already planning to serve). Enlist them as cooks, the water (provider paper and pencil to take orders) and cashiers (they can make pretend money). After, let them judge the meal and describe what they liked or disliked.
  2. Consider purging your child's toys. With new toys from the holiday season, now is a good time to store older, now unpopular toys. When they "tire" of the new ones, swap them out for a boost of imagination as little ones discover new ways to play with old favorites. Try this tip after birthdays as well.
  3. Help your little ones discover new ways to play. If your child seems uninterested in their toys, they may be out of ideas. Introduce new items such as safe, recyclable items. Provide boxes, paper towel rolls, laundry detergent caps, straws, tape, glue, blank paper, crayons and markers, and let their imaginations run wild.
  4. Consider sensory play. Try this simple no-cook playdough recipe made from things you may already have in your pantry. Have little ones who still put everything in their mouth? Try an edible playdough recipe.

Leap Into Learning Literacy Program For Home Daycare Providers

Are you a Hartford home daycare provider looking for new and exciting ways to engage the children and families you serve in literacy? Look no further! The Hartford Public Library is pleased to offer the Leap Into Learning literacy program.

This service is for children ages birth through five, along with their parents and caregivers, to ensure all children in Hartford are well prepared and enter kindergarten ready to learn.

This interactive, immersive literacy program will offer support to home daycare providers in the form of:

  • Early literacy resources and training
  • Books, activities and materials
  • Story time home visits
  • HPL teacher cards
  • Library cards for children and families

Interested? Complete this online form or send an email to Leap Into Learning Program Coordinator Nichole Hawkins at

Patricipating providers who care for children ages birth to five will receive access to good quality early literacy resources and enjoy special literacy events, plus beneficial training for providers and parents. Providers can also apply for an HPL teacher card which allows providers to:

  • Borrow books and materials for up to 4 weeks with two-week renewals and no fines
  • Request book selections from branch librarians
  • Help children and families obtain a library card of their own

Providers and parents are encouraged to join us at Hartford Public Library's Summer Learning kickoff event on Saturday, June 18th at the Downtown Library (500 Main St.) to learn more.

Leap Into Learning is sponsored by the Gawlicki Family Foundation.

Meet Program Coordinator Nichole Hawkins

Nichole is a Hartford resident with decades of experience in early childhood education. She ran a home daycare for 10 years, worked for ECHN as a family support provider and during the pandemic launched Legacy Lineage, a virtual preschool classroom to support families in homeschooling. She is excited to share the Supercharged Storytime framework and the beneficial strategies she's mastered to empower the participants of the Leap Into Learning program on all levels.