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United Way of The Black Hills

Baby’s First Book Bag


The purpose of the Baby’s First Book Bag program is to provide at-risk families in the Black Hills the resources to start building a home library. The goal of this program is to help parents feel confident about reading to their children and give them the tools needed to be successful.

Suggested Use

It is not required but highly suggested that your organization gift these bags to children that are at-risk or in low-income families.

Suggested age: 0-3 years

How it works

Black Hills Reads requires that Baby’s First Book Bag be given out in a one-on-one setting with a description to the parents about the purpose of the bag. We request that providers ask the following 3 questions during the one-on-one conversation with the parent/guardian:

  • How old is your/the child?
  • How often do you read to your/the child during the week?
  • How many books do you currently have in your home?

12 months after the family receives the bag, providers are expected to follow up with the parents/guardians and ask these same three questions again. We will then ask providers to complete an end-of-year survey and possibly participate in a focus group discussion 12 months after you are given the book bags from United Way.

Data Collection Form

Please use the provided template (or something similar) to track your organization’s Baby’s First Book Bag data throughout the year. 

Download Data Spreadsheet Template

One-on-One Visits

This is a vital component of the program. From the information we have collected thus far, these bags make the largest impact when an individual not only receives the bag but is given an explanation of the bag and the intent of the program.

Unfortunately, we see that many families do not recognize the importance of reading books to children at a young age. This can be a critical loss during a child’s infancy. These bags give us a chance to explain the importance of reading and talking out loud to one’s child daily. This conversation, paired with the bag itself, should give families the confidence to act on early literacy during their child’s formative years.

Bag Contents

Each Baby’s First Book Bag contains the following resources & materials:

  • Parent Letter (with reading tips and literacy resources)
  • Developmental Guides & Resources (including the CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” resources)
  • 3 Books (titles may vary)
  • Resources to local entities that support literacy (note: we encourage you to add to this based on your clients’ needs).

How to Order

For Existing Partners:

To order more bags, please complete our online request form.

For New Partners:

Please fill out and sign the Baby’s First Book Bag Partnership Agreement before submitting a request for bags. This form should then be submitted to the Black Hills Reads Director at

Download PDF Form | Word Doc


For any questions, please email or call Black Hills Reads Director, Hanna Glissendorf at or 605-343-5872.

© 2024 United Way of The Black Hills