Family Resources for 2022

| Early Childhood Literacy, Family Literacy

Last updated: 04/12/2021

Raising Readers believes in the importance of parents and children finding comfort in sharing books together. We’ve put together this guide of free online resources for families of children ages birth to 5 years. We’ll update this post regularly. 

Maine Resources

Read Alouds 

  • Maine Authors & Illustrators: many are sharing read-louds, art demos & learning activities during the COVID-19 shutdown. Maine Author Lynn Plourde is keeping her website updated on her offerings as well as links to activities of other Maine creators like Cathryn Falwell, Amy MacDonald, Matt Tavares and Chris Van Dusen.
  • Raising Readers Read-Aloud Group: Read-alouds of Raising Readers books by Maine authors & illustrators, Maine Pediatric and Family Medicine practitioners, RR staff & advisors.  New videos added regularly.
  • Raising Readers Blog: Includes a weekly Maine author series connecting public facing read-alouds & extension activities.
  • Child’s Play:  Authors and illustrators published by Maine based Child’s Play Publishing are reading their books aloud.
  • Beautiful Blackbird: Enjoy listening to and reading a number of beautiful books featuring Black characters brought to you by Indigo Arts Alliance.

Virtual Grandparent Activities 

  • Lynn Plourde’s Website: Explore activities and resources to spend quality virtual time with the “littles” in your life. 

Parent and Educator Resources

  • Raising Readers’ Book Lists are downloadable and printable lists for you to explore with your little. See every picture book we’ve ever given on a master list or filtered by age group (2, 3, 4, and 5 year old books).
  • Maine State Library: Online resource developed by Kara Reiman, Children’s Literacy Specialist. Of interest to parents is the list of Virtual & Online Resources and the list of Take & Make projects that they may be able to do at home.  Most use basic materials that you’d already have on hand.
  • Maine State Library’s Early Literacy Calendar: Featuring Maine authors and illustrators, this free downloadable calendar has an early literacy activity for nearly every day of the week!
  • Curious City Books: Kirsten Cappy is the Raising Readers Book Consultant and also develops free Picture Book Play for school, libraries, and families. Look for ways to engage your PreK reader at home.
  • Child’s Play: Families and educators, looking for Home Learning & Play options during #kidlitquarantine, can find free downloadable activities for ages 1-5.
  • The Maine Discovery Museum: For some fun online learning content, roll on over to their Facebook page (@mainediscovery) for Toilet Paper Tube TV! This is a resource  developed to provide a different activity for each day of the summer. In addition to the website, it is also available daily on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
  • Portland Stage Company: Experience the Fun & Magic of Theater virtually on Saturday Mornings at 10:30 AM ET with Play Me a Story in your living room! All ages are welcome to enjoy a virtual dramatic reading of children’s stories on Portland Stage’s Facebook Live for free.
    New books will be featured each week!
  • Lynn Plourde’s Website: Provides links to her own learning activities and those of other Maine creators.
  • Rick Charette: With a background in education and music, and a passion and talent for writing for children from a child’s perspective,  Rick has been writing and performing for children for 35 years.
  • Raising Readers Activities: Offers downloadable activity kits for many Raising Readers books.

National Resources


  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library:  In”Good Night Dolly,” Dolly reads aloud from the Imagination Library on Thursday Nights at 7PM starting on 4/2/20 for 10 weeks.
  • Levar Burton: Remember Reading Rainbow? Levar Burton reads aloud live to children on TWITTER. These are not recorded so you must log on and catch them live: Mondays at 9AM PST/12PM EST @levarburton.
  • #OperationReadAloud:  From Oprah to Chris Van Dusen, children’s book creators and fans are offering read aloud videos in this Facebook group.
  • #KidLitQuarantine: Authors and illustrators are offering Home Learning and Read Aloud’s under this hashtag.
  • Mrs. Bush’s Story Time: a podcast for families, featuring original recordings from the radio program of the same name. The podcast brings to life former First Lady Barbara Bush’s commitment to family literacy and lifelong learning for a whole new generation.
  • Audible: has launched a free listening experience for children who are isolated during these troubled times. The collection includes audio in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.
  • Reach Out and Read: ROR’s #ReadTogether campaign contains a growing playlist of read-alouds on YouTube. 
  • Your Favorite Authors & Illustrators: Visit your favorite children’s book creator’s website and social media pages for their take on learning activities and read-alouds. 
  • Read-Along Mondays with Michelle Obama: A special collaboration with former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, in support of the recently announced “Read Together, Be Together” Penguin Random House literacy initiative and PBS KIDS’ “Read-Along” effort on Facebook and YouTube.
  • Julie’s Library: Join beloved icon Julie Andrews for story time! Julie and her daughter, children’s author and educator Emma Walton Hamilton, invite you into their library to read their favorite children’s books. Every story comes to life with sound, music and activities.
  • Unite For Literacy’s Free Digital Library: A digital library that includes over 500 books with narrations in 50+ languages. Access is free to everyone without logins or ads.

Parent & Educator Resources

  • Fred Rogers Center: Talking with children about coronavirus, caring for yourself, learning with children through play.
  • The Barbara Bush Foundation:  Access an educational toolkit to help parents and children learn together at home.
  • Reach Out and Read: Resources for families, children, and care-givers
  • Reading is Fundamental: Explore ways to encourage and motivate young readers with hands-on activities, recommended book lists, strategies for parents and caregivers, alphabet coloring pages, and tips for reading aloud.
  • PBS Learning Media: Includes informational videos, interactive games, and read-aloud/sing-along videos for Pre-K children.
  • Reading Rockets: Provides an extensive list of resources and activities to keep kids learning at home.
  • Colorin Colorado: A bilingual site for educators and families of English language learners, includes reading tip sheets for parents in 13 languages.
  • Sesame Street Caring for Each Other: A site filled with content you can use to spark playful learning, offer children comfort, and focus a bit on yourself, too.
  • Parent and Caregiver Read-Aloud Guides: The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has pulled together a wonderful list of books for parents and caregivers to explore with their children. Each title has a Parent Guide that provides ideas about how to use the book. All of the books are in print and should be available at local libraries or bookstores.

Talking about Current Events with Children

Find more resources on the Raising Readers website.

This resource will be updated as often as new content becomes available. If you have or know of additional resources to add please email us at .