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Start your child's love for learning with Books from Birth

Kids under 5 in DC get a free book per month from DC Public Library.
Credit: POND5
Books from Birth delivers a new book each month to children under 5 in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Join the more than 36,000 families that are building their home libraries with Books from Birth from DC Public Library. Books from Birth, managed in partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, is a free program that delivers a new book each month to children under the age of 5 in Washington, D.C. It was introduced to the District by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen in 2016. Now in its fifth year, Books from Birth has sent nearly 1.9 million books to children across D.C.

Families that join Books from Birth when their child is born will receive 60 high-quality books selected by the Imagination Library’s Blue Ribbon Book Selection Committee by the time their child turns 5. Each month, your delivery is addressed directly to your child. This not only makes them feel special, but it also gives them ownership over their books and motivates them to want to read with you. Each time you pick up a book and read with your child they learn new words and build their knowledge of the world around them. 

The learning doesn’t stop there. You can go beyond the page to help your child develop other crucial skills with Books from Birth. These additions to your reading routine are great ways to ensure your child is on the right path to starting their education. Here's how to continue the learning process.

  • Talk with your child about what you are reading. What do they see in the pictures? What do they think about the characters and their actions? This will help them further engage with you and with the story. 

  • Is there a particular title your child can’t get enough of? Act out parts of the story with each other or with toys! Incorporating play into reading time will allow them to put their thoughts into words and those words into actions. 

  • Help your child identify letters and start learning to write by helping them form the letters of their favorite characters’ names. You can use chalk, crayons, create shapes with clay or even trace letter shapes in the air with your arms.

    As you go through the Books from Birth program, your family will receive a complimentary monthly newsletter from DC Public Library that contains even more information about the ways your neighborhood library can support your child’s learning.

This article is sponsored by DC Public Library. Are you a D.C. resident with a child under the age of 5? Join the Books from Birth community today! Sign up by visiting dclibrary.org/booksfrombirth, emailing booksfrombirth@dc.gov, or calling 202-709-9546.