July 5, 2023

2023 Summer Reading Programs for Young Readers

Summer reading season is here! This is a great time for young readers to explore new words and books with their parent, caregiver, and other loved ones in different settings. Summer reading for early learners can look like acting out scenes from a picture book in the park with your child, or visiting a local library or family center for a story time.

There are plenty of local and national summer reading programs, resources, and activities to allow early readers the opportunity to expand their vocabulary with their parent or caregiver.

Find Your Voice! Summer Reading 2023, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

For the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP), summer reading is all about the celebration of self expression. Sign-up for Find Your Voice! summer reading through August 6 at any CLP branch or in the library app. On Sunday, August 13, CLP – Main in Oakland will host its end-of-summer Extravaganza!, a family-friendly outdoor festival features music, crafts, games, prizes, storytelling, and food trucks.

Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip, PA’s Promise for Children

Join the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) on their virtual Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and early childhood education professionals can follow along with OCDEL as they travel to various Pennsylvania libraries and state parks while providing fun resources, activities, and book recommendations to support early literacy and language. All activities align with the PA Early Learning Standards and can be done anywhere.

Summer Reading Field Trips, Reading is Fundamental

Reading is Fundamental (RIF) has provided various reading logs, coloring sheets, and summer-themed book recommendations to keep learning fun and fresh. Parents and caregivers that take the RIF summer reading pledge will receive a copy of the book, A Sofia Special, one of the books featured in RIF’s summer collection.

Summer Reading Camp, Half-Priced Books

Young readers can join Summer Reading Camp by visiting a local Half Price Books through July 31 to pick up interactive reading logs, sticker sheets and more, while supplies last. Families that register for the camp will have access to reading recommendations, crafts, and other literacy activities.

Scholastic Summer Reading Program, Scholastic

The Scholastic Summer Reading program offers children an exciting, free, and safe summer reading experience, while helping to provide books to kids with limited or no access over the summer. Through Thursday, September 7, children can visit the summer zone in Scholastic Home Base, a completely free digital destination which offers stories, characters, games, and a community of readers. Home Base is moderated for safety 24/7.

Bookworm Wednesdays, Showcase Cinemas

Bookworm Wednesdays entitles children to free admission to a select children’s film when they present a book report at a participating Cinema de Lux, Showcase, or Multiplex Cinemas box office. Accompanying parents or caregivers and children younger than age six receive free admission and do not need to submit a book report.

More Programs

Check out other summer reading programs from Mille’s Ice Cream and Pizza Hut. Alternatively, parents and caregivers can also visit their local library, family center, or community resource space to learn more about local summer reading programs.


June 27, 2023

Who’s Stealing My Child’s Sleep? Parenting Strategies For Bedtime And Beyond

Multiple factors have been linked to the worsening sleep habits of young people, including social media, general smartphone use, early school start times, academic stressors, and a rise in anxiety symptoms. Parents of children three to 12 put in the equivalent of 18 workdays a year just trying to get their children to bed, and 77% of parents are left exhausted by these efforts. The struggle is worse during summer holidays when schedules are out the window.

In this webinar, Child Mind Institute and Fort Health tackle sleep; how much is needed for each age group, why aren’t children getting enough of it, and how parents can help their children go to sleep and stay asleep.

When: Thursday, 6/29 | 5:30 p.m.


The session will be a roundtable discussion between leading sleep and mental health experts followed by a live Q&A. The session will be recorded and links will be sent to anyone who registers.

Presented by Fort Health, a mental health provider for ages four to 19, which was built in partnership with the Child Mind Institute.


June 5, 2023

OCDEL Invites Families to Participate in Free Professional Photo Session

The Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) Team at the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) invites pregnant and parenting families of children birth to age six to participate in a free professional photo session.

Each participating family will receive a stipend of $150 and associated travel/mileage reimbursement for completing the approximately one-hour photoshoot. Families will also receive copies of their photos.

About Photo Sessions

Why is OCDEL providing this opportunity?

Photos of Pennsylvania children and their families play an instrumental role in conveying the importance of high-quality maternal and early childhood services in Pennsylvania. Additionally, they aid in outreach to families, professionals, legislators, business leaders, and other partners throughout the state.

By capturing photos of Pennsylvania families, OCDEL can better serve and advocate for them and the care of their children.

How will OCDEL use the photos?

OCDEL may use the photos for:

  • advertising (i.e. television, online, billboard, and print)
  • social media
  • printed displays and materials, such as annual reports, PowerPoint presentations, etc.

In using the photos, OCDEL will never share the names and locations of the families included in them.

Who can participate in the photo sessions?

All Pennsylvania families with children age six and younger are invited to participate, including those who reflect the diversity of Pennsylvania’s population. OCDEL would like to represent differences in identity such as:

  • race
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • gender identity
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • disability
  • geographic location across the Commonwealth

Siblings and grandparents are welcome and highly encouraged to participate, too.

Why should families participate?

Each participating family will receive electronic access to the professionally produced photos of their family taken during the photo session. They will be able to:

  • download and save the photos
  • print them
  • share them on their social media accounts (i.e. Facebook or Instagram)
  • email them to family and friends

Additionally, each participating family will receive a stipend of $150 for completing the approximately 1-hour photoshoot. Also, mileage reimbursement will be provided at a rate of 65.5 cents per mile.

ECCS is also able to reimburse other modes of transportation utilized to get to the photo session location, such as public transportation, Uber, or Lyft with receipts. ECCS will also reimburse tolls with receipts.

Where will photo sessions be held?

The ECCS team will host photo sessions:

  • June 27 in King of Prussia, Montgomery County
  • July 17 in Cranberry Township, Butler County
  • July 19 in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County
  • July 25 in Harrisburg, Dauphin County

How can families sign-up to participate?

If you would like to participate, please complete the online registration form no later than June 15.

There is no cost to participate with the ECCS photo session. However, space is limited and registration is required.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children website.

For questions, please contact Sadia Batool at


October 27, 2020

Remote Learning Resources Available

With recent changes to schooling due to COVID-19, Trying Together has compiled a list of remote learning resources to support teachers, parents, and students as they transition to and navigate remote learning. The Remote Learning Resources list is available on the Trying Together website.


Additional COVID-19 Resources


To best support community members and the young children in their lives, Trying Together has created two resource lists, featuring helpful resources that families and educators can use to maneuver this difficult time.

About Trying Together


Trying Together supports high-quality care and education for young children by providing advocacy, community resources, and professional growth opportunities for the needs and rights of children, their families, and the individuals who interact with them. Trying Together works regionally (in Southwestern Pennsylvania) and takes its expertise and models to statewide and national audiences. Learn more on the Trying Together website.


September 11, 2020

NAEYC Annual Conference: Virtual

To maintain the health and safety of its audience, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) will be hosting its 2020 Annual Conference virtually, with events taking place from November 8–10, 2020.


The NAEYC Annual Conference is the largest early childhood education conference in the world. Each year, thousands of teachers, program administrators, students, and researchers choose from hundreds of presentations and exhibits to explore the latest trends and research in the early childhood field.

More information on professional development sessions and participating exhibitors will be available soon. Please continue to monitor the NAEYC website for future updates.


Registration for this event opens on Monday, September 14. To register and learn more, visit the NAEYC website.


August 4, 2020

Magda Gerber’s Philosophy of Care for Infants & Toddlers

Are you interested in learning how to create a safe, challenging, predictable environment for young children in your care? Join Trying Together on August 19 for our interactive session, “Magda Gerber’s Philosophy of Care for Infants & Toddlers.”


Connections and Conversations Virtual Check-Ins are interactive sessions that highlight topics of interest to the field of early childhood education. Participants will engage in virtual discussions via Zoom with child development experts while interacting with early learning practitioners to share questions, experiences, and expertise about the highlighted topic.

In this session, participants will explore the core principles of Magda Gerber’s RIE philosophical approach to educaring for infants and toddlers in the early childhood setting. The basis of the RIE approach is respecting and trusting the individual child’s authentic self. Participants will have an opportunity to engage in conversations around developmentally appropriate practice for infants and toddlers while reflecting on how to best create a safe, challenging, predictable environment for all children.

Participants will receive the course Zoom link via email within 24 hours before the start date for the course. For questions, contact Rosie Hogan at

Session Details

    • Session Date: Wednesday, August 19  |  6 – 7 p.m
    • Instructor: Katie Gullone
    • CKC: K1.7 C2
    • Registrations must be submitted by Monday, August 17. Space is limited.
    • Sessions will be offered biweekly and will offer one hour of PQAS credit. Act 48 credit will not be offered.

Learning Objectives

    • Reflect on the RIE principles and philosophical approach when caring for infants and toddlers.
    • Discuss and analyze strategies that best support developmentally appropriate practice for infants and toddlers in the early childhood classroom setting.


To register for this session, complete our online registration form.

Session Rules and Guidelines

These virtual discussions are designed to provide educators the opportunity to grow professionally and share knowledge on early childhood topics. During the meeting, participants should follow the guidelines below to ensure a successful virtual meeting for all participants.

    • Please allow all participants a chance to speak. Listen respectfully and actively.
    • Commit to learning about each other, not to debating the topic.
    • Embrace differences of opinion as healthy and support each person’s authentic self-expression.
    • Participants will be muted for the beginning portion of the session.
    • Participants may use the “Raise Hand” feature in Zoom to request an opportunity to comment or ask a question. Individuals will be temporarily unmuted by the moderator.
    • Participants may type a comment or question in the Chat or may send comments or questions directly to the moderator for them to share.
    • To receive PQAS credit, you must complete an evaluation at the end of the session and include your PD Registry number.
    • Have fun, make connections, and engage in the conversations!

More Information

For questions or more information, please contact Rosie Hogan at


April 26, 2019

PWSA Adopting Polices That Support Families

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) board will approve two policies that support caregivers.


Paid Safe Leave Policy

On Friday, April 26, 2019 the PWSA board will vote on a paid safe leave policy. The measure allows employees who have been victimized by domestic abuse to take days off from work. The PWSA joins Mayor Peduto who signed an Executive Order on safe leave for City of Pittsburgh employees last year.

“The cost of domestic violence for employers is the loss of productivity. Employees plagued by violence at home are often distracted and sometimes ill at work. This policy will allow employees in these situations to try and take steps to improve the situation without fearing the loss of their job,” a board statement says.

Parental Leave Policy

The PWSA board will also vote on a paid parental leave policy. This policy permits new mothers and fathers to take six weeks of paid leave after the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.

“We’re grateful to the City of Pittsburgh for leading the way and our Board of Directors for adopting these progressive employment policies. The changes will help protect the well-being of our employees, help retain talent and attract the best and the brightest to join our team,” said PWSA Executive Director Robert A. Weimar.

Both policies were adopted by Mayor William Peduto and Pittsburgh City Council. Learn more about both PWSA policies by visiting the City of Pittsburgh press release page.


March 20, 2019

My Traveling Song


Created by a team of professional artists who are also the mothers of young children, “My Traveling Song” is an original play especially made for children ages 1-5, the young at heart, and the grown-ups who love them. With live music, tactile play and stunning imagery, “My Traveling Song” uplifts relationships between children and their caregivers while taking audience members on a heartfelt journey filled with wonder and joy.


In “My Traveling Song” thunderstorms relinquish to cheerful mud puddles and darkness reveals magical firefly constellations in the night sky. Despite a world that can be unpredictable and sometimes sad, “My Traveling Song,” affirms the connections between loved ones, communities and the world around us can help to make us feel safe, loved, and free to imagine a more empathic and playful world.

More Information

To learn more about the My Traveling Song cast and creative team, click here.
To view photo and video of the My Traveling Song creative development workshops, click here.
To purchase tickets and view all showtimes, click here.


Presented with generous support from A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Heinz Small Arts Initiative, McKinney Charitable Foundation, and Off The Wall Charitable Trust.


March 15, 2019

Engaging Early Learners with Technology: Sharing Research and Best Practices


In this edWebinar, the presenters will discuss the best practices for technology use with young children (birth through age five) and their families. They will also discuss how to support early childhood educators in grades K-3 with effective technology strategies. Research on technology use in early childhood education from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Common Sense Media will provide the framework for this discussion. With digital devices becoming more readily available in school settings, the logistics of implementing technology in the classroom as a tool for learning must be examined in order to utilize emerging technology most effectively.


The edWebinar will also share insights from a roundtable facilitated by Hi5!, a kindergarten readiness and registration campaign in the Greater Pittsburgh Region. The roundtable served as a professional development and networking event for over 20 school districts to share best practices for how they are using technology to support the transition to kindergarten for students and families. The discussion included developmentally appropriate technology use across the early childhood continuum.


This presentation will be of interest to preK-3 teachers and school leaders. There will be time to get your questions answered at the end of the presentation. Be sure to view and share this event flyer (PDF) with your network.

For more information and registration, click here.


March 12, 2019

The P.R.I.D.E. Speaker Series: Nurturing Black Children


Join The P.R.I.D.E. Program for an evening of engaging discussions on Thursday, May 2 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Library – Homewood Auditorium.


This event features Muffy Mendoza. Mendoza is an author, parent, and founder of Pittsburgh Brown Mamas, a support from for mothers of color. Her keynote will focus on how parents and educators can team together to nurture young Black children. Following the keynote, she will join a panel discussion of strategies that support young children’s positive racial identity.


5:00 – 5:30 p.m. Doors open

5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Keynote Speech, Muffy Mendoza

6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Panel Discussion

7:00 – 7:30 p.m. Book Signing, The Brown Mama Mindset

CHILD CARE: Child care will be available for parents and caregivers. Please make sure to register for child care when you register for the event.

CAN’T GO?: We’ll miss you- but please let us know! You can cancel your order on Event Brite, or send us a message so your ticket can go to the next guest on the waitlist.

Meet the Speaker

Muffy Mendoza, Author, Speaker, Parent, and founder of BrownMamas.

Muffy Mendoza is a mother of three boys, an author, an entrepreneur, and a dynamic speaker. Her 2018 book blueprint The Brown Mama Mindset, serves as a guidebook for Black moms on life, love, and home and was featured at the 2018 Essence Festival. She also founded Pittsburgh Brown Mamas, a support group for mothers in Pittsburgh, and has been featured as TEDx speaker.