Supporting early literacy with free kits to families who need them the most.

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Reading, talking, singing and having conversations with newborns are the best ways to build early language and literacy skills. 

Research confirms that this strong foundation is critical to a child’s ability to thrive and succeed in school, so we need to start at the very beginning.  

The Why

The science is in.

  • Research by The Council for Early Child Development tells us that newborn experiences matter. The relationship between caregiver and infant plays a pivotal role in influencing neural pathways for language and higher cognitive functions.

1/3 of Surrey’s children start kindergarten unprepared.

Surrey’s child population is growing fast.

  • Surrey has the largest and fastest growing child population in BC. There are over 5,100 babies born each year, or more than 14 babies born each day!

Surrey’s families are spread out.

  • Surrey’s families are spread over 316 km2 - almost 3 times the area of Vancouver! The distance makes access to libraries and books more challenging.

The What

Read to Baby is a family literacy initiative launched in 2014 to respond to this urgent need in our community. It introduces caregivers to the benefits of early and frequent reading to infants, all provided in a beautiful keepsake kit. 

The Read to Baby program helps parents provide an environment that promotes emergent literacy. Not only will families gain resources and tools to begin their early literacy journey with their young ones, they will learn of free library services such as learning resources, literacy programs, and job search workshops. These services support whole family development which contributes to ending a cycle of low literacy.



Each Read to Baby kit includes:

  • a baby board book
  • music CD
  • a caregiver ‘Getting Started Guide’
  • information on the free services available at libraries

Kits are available with diversity in mind.  In 2016 we created specialized kits with an Indigenous focus that features books and music that are culturally sensitive.

Other kits offered include:

  • English
  • French/English
  • Punjabi/English

The How

Working in collaboration with Fraser Health nurses, Surrey Libraries ensures that kits are provided for distribution to families who will benefit the most.

  1. Surrey Libraries creates the Read to Baby kits
  2. Kits are shipped to Fraser Health nurses
  3. Nurses bring the kits to families who need them the most
  4. Babies and their caregivers delight in receiving the kit
  5. The future is brighter as the road to early literacy begins

In the last 4 years alone, over 5,000 kits have been delivered to families.


How you can help

Donate to Read to Baby

Dec 1– Jan 31, 2019*

Make the most of your holiday gift!

Surrey Libraries gratefully acknowledges the support of Turnbull Construction Project Managers, who for the second year in a row have agreed to match - dollar for dollar - your personal gift to Read to Baby. We are aiming to raise $2,500 through personal donations to reach our goal of $5,000 for the 2018 Turnbull Matching Gift Campaign.

Be sure to take advantage of this exciting chance to have your generosity matched and double the impact of your donation.

*Matching Gift Qualifying Details:

  • The Turnbull Matching Gift Campaign specifically supports the Read to Baby program.
  • Gifts must be personal donations of $26.00 or more made to the Read to Baby program.
  • Gifts must be received by Surrey Libraries between Dec 1–Jan 31, 2019.
  • Gifts can be made online at or at Surrey Libraries branches.
  • Pledged gifts made to the Read to Baby program on dates that fall outside of the Matching Gift Campaign dates do not qualify for matching.
  • Corporate gifts do not qualify for matching.

Have further questions?

Cyndy Hill - Director of Fund Development

Phone: 604-598-7307