Book Babies Graduation Celebrates 51 Durham Five-Year-Olds

Book Harvest Held Fifth Annual Graduation Ceremony

June 7, 2022, Durham, NC — Book Harvest’s Book Babies Class of 2022 donned bright orange caps and gowns and received their diplomas on Saturday, June 4, 2022 in a celebratory graduation ceremony at Forest Hills Park in Durham. Enrolled in the Book Babies program since their birth in 2017, these 51 five-year-olds concluded their five-year relationship with Book Harvest at a festive outdoor gathering that heralded their literacy accomplishments, their love of reading, and their preparation for kindergarten.

“This is an extraordinary moment for our Book Babies Class of 2022 and their proud parents and families,” said Book Harvest Durham Executive Director Tabitha Blackwell. “From the outset, we believed that we were pioneering an unprecedented early literacy program for children and their parents – one that starts at birth and continues for five full years. We are even more convinced of the power of this program today, as we celebrate the graduation of these inspiring youngsters and their entry this fall into kindergarten. These children are ready!”

Launched in 2013, Book Babies partners with families to develop their skills and confidence to nurture their children’s early childhood language and literacy development. The innovative literacy coaching and book provision program provides Medicaid-eligible children and their families with more than 100 new books, quarterly literacy coaching home visits, a $500 college-or-career savings account, invitations to annual celebrations, and a variety of additional resources and supports over the course of the child’s first five years.

The Book Babies Class of 2022 graduation ceremony included personal reflections from two Book Babies parents about their experiences with the program. Each child was awarded a diploma, a special welcome-to-kindergarten letter from Durham Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Pascal Mubenga, a personal gift box filled with learning games, puzzles, manipulatives, and, of course, books! And as part of Book Harvest’s signature Books on Break program, all graduates and their siblings chose from a large selection of brand new books to read over the summer and keep forever. The event culminated in a joyous piñata activity with sweet treats for all to enjoy.

Book Harvest’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ginger Young observed, “Book Babies meets parents and their young children where they are with an abundance of books, resources, and information — making the most of the spectacular brain development that takes place in the first five years of life. The 51 members of the Book Babies Class of 2022 are a testament to the power of supporting parents on their children’s literacy journey, starting at birth. Research on the program tells us that it has the potential to be an effective, scalable path to school readiness and long-term academic success for every child in our midst – something which has eluded our country for far too long.”

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