Our Programs and Initiatives

Family Reading Partnership programs and initiatives provide books and encouragement for families to make reading aloud to their children a part of everyday life.

Click on any program below to learn more about program objectives, book selection, sponsors, and history. Get ideas for programming in your own community!



Books to Grow On

Beginning with a prenatal visit (Waiting for Baby), then at birth (Welcome Baby), at Well-Visits from age 2 months to 4 years, and then at kindergarten registration (Welcome to School Book) families receive a book as a gift from a respected professional in the family’s life with encouragement and support to make reading aloud part of every day.

Bright Red Bookshelf

Program Currently on Hold!

Gently used children’s books are available free for families to take home on over 50 red bookshelves in the community.


An update to our Bright Red Bookshelf program. Pre-packed bundles of gently used books available for families to take home and keep.

Traveling Books

Volunteer readers visit childcare homes and centers every 2 weeks with a crate of books they leave for children to enjoy until the next visit.

Shop for Words

Use your grocery shopping time to engage your baby or young child with word play. Pick up a Shop for Words card as you enter the grocery store and find words as you shop.

Take a walk through a book in parks within Tompkins County, NY. Children’s book pages mark the way along a path you can explore with your child.

Read-Along Love Songs

Income eligible expectant parents are given a bag of board books for their baby with a CD of the books being read and sung. Home visitors support the family by encouraging readying to baby as soon as it is born.

Changing Table Chats

Give your baby words with fun rhymes posted at changing tables in public restrooms around Ithaca and Tompkins County, NY.

At Home With Books

Head Start families receive a children’s book at a home visit and support and encouragement to make read-aloud part of everyday family life.

Read to Me! Banners

All across the community, billboard-sized banners with colorful images of reading together encourage and inspire families to read to their children.


Every Baby Every Day

This initiative enhances existing programs that serve families with babies and adds new programming to deepen and strengthen the message to read to baby from the very start.

21 Run

A 5K run held annually to benefit Family Reading Partnership, this event is held in memory of Mario St. George Boiardi, a former Cornell University lacrosse player and team captain.

Read-Aloud Challenge

Read aloud every day for one month in your classroom or family to instill a love of reading in your children. Lots of activities and book suggestions.

Past Programs

Kids’ Book Fest

Plan your own celebration of children’s books and reading together with arts and crafts, performances, book stations, and storybook characters in costume. Download ideas!

Love Those Letters!®

This engaging book, DVD, and CD set uses music, motion, and colorful illustrations to teach letter recognition and letter sounds.

Give the Gift of Family Reading

Want to give local families more books at the holidays? Collect new books and distribute them using the networks in your community that already serve families.

Read-Along Songs

Read about how singing makes language accessible to people who may not have strong literacy skills.

“Thousands of books go off our Bright Red Bookshelf each year – many into homes where there had been none before.”

— Dept. of Social Services

Every family whose baby is born in our local hospital receives a children’s book as a gift in a bright red bag.

The Bright Red Bookshelf is supplied with gently-used books donated by individuals or collected by groups such as these Daisy Scouts.

Parents and children connect to books and each other through singing and reading.