5 Maryland literacy programs to boost your child's love for reading

Posted at 8:41 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 20:41:40-04

The earlier a child embraces reading, the stronger they will perform throughout school and beyond. To set your child on the fast track to success, consider these five literacy programs across Maryland. 

Raising a Reader

With a goal of reaching 3 million children nationwide by 2020, Raising a Reader (RAR) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to encourage family engagement at home to increase youth literacy. Through RAR, parents receive training to develop the habit of sharing books with their children. Each week, children receive a Red Book Bag filled with award-winning books. In addition, families are connected with libraries to maintain the habit of borrowing books. To start a RAR program, or become part of the RAR family to help set your child up for a wonderful school year, visit their website, email  or call 650-489-0550.


If your child is enrolled in the Baltimore City Public School system, SummerREADS is a wonderful program to keep their minds stimulated in time for September. This program is currently operating in seven sites in Baltimore until Aug. 17. The hours are Monday - Thursday from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Free breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. with free lunch at noon. Daily on-site registration will be available for families who wish to drop their children off if space allows. To learn more about SummerREADS and to find the perfect site for you, visit their official website, contact Emily Norris at or call 410-837-7577 extension 118.

The Maryland Book Bank 

Founded in 2014, the Maryland Book Bank (MBB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging literacy in children from low income families. To date, MBB has provided over 10,000 children with free books. You and your child can visit MBB at the Baltimore Sun Complex on 501 North Calvert Street. MBB is open to the public every week on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. - 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. You can also catch MBB at the Baltimore Book Festival in September.

ESOL Family Literacy 

In order for a child to develop strong literacy skills, they must be first be encouraged by their parents. The ESOL Family Literacy Program is a great teaching tool for both children and parents. It's specifically designed for parents with children ages 0-16 who are enrolled in Baltimore County Public Schools, the Judy Center of Baltimore County, or Baltimore County Head Start. Participants will gain access to free classes that will boost their English language skills for life, work and to help their child succeed in school. Courses are available at the Community College of Baltimore City. To enroll, visit the ESOL Family literacy website here

B'More for Healthy Babies 

You can introduce your toddler to the joys of reading with help from B'More for Healthy Babies (BHB), an organization that focuses on health and literacy benefits for children ages 0-3 years. B'More has been working together with the Family Literacy Coalition (FLC) to launch a five-year plan. The plan aims to use family literacy efforts to improve kindergarten readiness. It also seeks to implement literacy services into a chain of resources for families to use with their children from birth through kindergarten. To learn more about this project, you can visit the BHB website or call 443-423-0903.