Books for Maine’s Youngest Children from the Very Beginning

It’s a fact that reading to young children makes them smarter, healthier and better prepared for life. It is this simple truth that led Maine’s Libra Foundation to create Raising Readers, a statewide program that gives books—free of charge—to all Maine children between the ages of birth and five.

Through the simple act of placing books in children’s hands, Raising Readers reinforces the powerful understanding that literacy begins well before children enter kindergarten. By integrating books into birth and primary care, the program has also reinforced the well documented link between health and literacy. 

The Libra Foundation has taken the beloved and intensely powerful practice of parents reading aloud to their children and made it the cornerstone of a state-wide initiative that can significantly change the lives of Maine children. Indeed, studies have found that children whose parents read to them just twenty minutes a day are more likely to find reading enjoyable, enter school with important early literacy skills, and become skillful readers themselves.

The program reaches the state’s 16 counties thanks to a successful collaboration between MaineHealth and EMHS, and the 360 hospitals and medical practices that give books to their
young patients.

Established in 2000, Raising Readers has reached 250,000 individual children and distributed more than 2.5 million books. It is the largest health and literacy program ever undertaken in a single state.

All photos on our website are of Maine healthcare providers, families, and children. We hope you enjoy their delight in the read aloud experience.

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