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Early Learning

A child's education starts long before they enter a classroom. Listening to fun stories, singing songs, and talking to one another are the habits that provide the foundation for developing strong reading and listening skills. The Library provides a wide range of materials and early learning experiences for the youngest of visitors in Reading Ready, an initiative modeled after Every Child Ready to Read, an education program by the Association for Library Service to Children and the Public Library Association.

Reading Ready Logo

Reading Ready follows Every Child Ready to Read’s five practices: reading, singing, writing, talking, and playing. Research shows that when caregivers nurture these early literacy skills, children are more successful in Kindergarten. The initiative provides opportunities for all the small things caregivers can do with young children to promote literacy and lifelong learning.

Reading Ready Time

This recorded virtual program incorporates 5 skills of early learning – reading, writing, talking, singing, and playing, helping caregivers and educators prepare young children for success in school and in life. Special guests share music, dance, and stories helping to build vocabulary and background knowledge. Designed for children 3-6 years old, Reading Ready Time runs throughout the school year. Sign up for Reading Ready time and receive an email with a link and engaging activities.

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program promotes early learning skills by rewarding parents and caregivers for reading aloud to their children. Prizes are awarded for reading 100, 500, and 1,000 books. At 1000 books, every child receives a hardback picture book. Parents and caregivers can register at any Library location. Research shows that reading aloud to young children can significantly improve their chance for success in kindergarten and beyond.

My First Library Card

My First Library Card is for young children from birth through age six (6). With this card, you and your child may borrow up to 25 children's books fine free! Learn more about My First Library Cards.

On the Road to Reading

Itty Bitty bookmobiles visit over 160 child care centers and preschools delivering bags full of age-appropriate books, and providing themed kindergarten-readiness kits and resources to parents and childcare providers. Interested in a visit? Contact Us

Bunny Book Bags

Bunny Book Bags (15 picture books), and Baby Bunny Book Bags (10 board books), Spanish Bunny Bags (up to 20 picture and board books) are grab-and-go bags of books for caregivers on the move. They are also delivered to child care centers, preschools, and community centers across the city. Read and return them fine free! No two bags are alike. Limit two bags per check-out.

Professional Development for Early Childhood Providers

The Library provides customized professional development workshops for licensed childcare programs upon request. Providers can also attend workshops led by nationally-recognized experts in early childhood education throughout the year.

More Programs to Help Kids get Reading Ready

We have programs for early learners from storytime to lego clubs to puppet show and more! See our full schedule of programs for kids.

More Resources to Help Kids get Reading Ready

Enjoy video picture book read alouds, online activities, online storytime and more. Browse all our online storytimes.

StoryWalk® in Ruckle Street Park

Take a walk and read a story as you go! We invite you to visit StoryWalk® in Ruckle Street Park at 3025 Ruckle Street. Stroll through the park and read a book displayed in mounted frames. Stories will be rotated on a monthly basis. Families are encouraged to post photos of their visit on social media.

The StoryWalk is made possible by Regions Bank through a gift to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.

Looking for picture book favorites?

Here are some of the best stories to get small children hooked on reading.

Start here
Looking for picture book favorites?