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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)

We begin 2023 with "SNOW" many great early literacy events!

January Calendar of Events:

Friday, January 6th: Three Kings Day
Monday, January 16th: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Thursday, January 19th: Reading and Recipes w/ SNAPCT: Session 3 - Food Labels, 6:30-8 pm
Wednesday, January 25th: Wednesday Workshop: Provider Training with SNAP4CT, 12:30-2 pm, Zoom
Friday, January 27th: Popcorn & PJs with Read to Grow, 7 p.m., Zoom

Click here for the complete January calendar of events.

Double The Yum With SNAP4CT

This month our early literacy education with nutrition series is twice as nice. Our third session topic is healthy eating. Families will prepare and enjoy veggie pinwheels. All participants receive ingredients, recipe cards, a book and a literacy activity kit. Sessions are available in English and Spanish.

Leap into Learning providers will have their first Wednesday Workshop with SNAP4CT this month. Our SNAP4CT nutrition will discuss ancient grains. Providers will prepare bean, vegetable and barley chili.

Popcorn & PJs with Read To Grow

Leap into Learning is excited to offer Hartford families an opportunity to join us for Funday Friday! Slip into your favorite cozy PJs and pop open the popcorn and PJs gift box filled with our featured book, crayons, sketch pad and popcorn.

On Friday, January 27th, author Gaia Cornwall will read her book "The Best Bed For Me." Popcorn and PJs are brought to you by Read to Grow and made possible by generous supporters. Scan the QR code or register here to join us. RSVP by Friday, January 20th. Space is limited. First come, first served.

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.