Prime age to engage
Talk. Play. Read. Sing.

Welcome to 0-3: Prime Age To Engage!

We’re happy you’re here and ready to expand your child’s mind to give them a jumpstart to a bright future! There are lots of fun ideas and connections to explore so you can spend quality time with your child that supports his or her developmental journey.

We’re proud of parents who understand that daily engagement is essential to child development! This is so important today as approximately 20 percent of Americans are functionally illiterate, reading below a fifth-grade level. The fact that you’re here is outstanding!

This problem starts in early childhood; about 35 percent of low-income children lack the basic language skills they need to learn to read in kindergarten. But you can do something about it! Parents, physicians and child care providers can combat this with daily one-on-one time with children age 0 to 3. Talk, play, read, sing and engage with your kids every day. Face-to-face interaction will prepare them for future academic success.

0-3: Prime Age To Engage is a joint effort between 70 planning partners in the Siouxland Area including the Sioux City Community School District, SHIP, the Siouxland Community Foundation and Comprehensive Strategy for Youth Development.


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Carpenter's Union donates bookshelf for 0-3: Prime Age to Engage!
Many thanks to Ernie Colt and the local Carpenter's Union for the donation of a beautiful new bookshelf for the 0-3 Prime Age to Engage initiative! Families and children visiting the Hall Law Firm (701 Pierce Street, Suite 202) can now enjoy reading books while in the waiting room, and can even take the books home with them to keep! Thanks also to D2: Worldwide for donating the books, and to Brett Hall and Devon Hall of Hall Law Firm for encouraging parents and caregivers to read to and engage with their children!

0-3: Prime Age to Engage receives Pacesetter Awared!

You may read the news release here

Thank you for all the efforts for the book collection drive this year!

Free books from 0-3: Prime Age to Engage given to families at LaunchPAD Children Museum’s free day!

SC Career Academy Students help ‘0 to 3: Prime Age to Engage’ with advertising

Read the story here

Bookshelves and books delivered to 7 agencies where children and families gather!

Thanks to Home Builders Association of Greater Siouxland for donating the bookshelves, and to D2: Worldwide and United Way of Siouxland for the books!

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You can combat childhood illiteracy! Engage with your 0 to 3 year old children every day, face-to-face. Did you know, only half of parents read to their kids daily and less than 10 percent read to their children in infancy? Developing and nurturing your children’s learning experiences supports healthy brain function that sets them up for later success in school and life. Get the entire family involved in daily interactions, including older siblings.

How to Read to a 2-year-old

How to Read to a 3-year old

Helpful Links:


+ United Way of Siouxland Imagination Library

As simple as it sounds, reading regularly with your child(ren) during their preschool years gives them the biggest boost toward a successful education they will ever get. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library will help you read with your child. This United Way of Siouxland funded initiative works to make sure children in Siouxland have books of their own. Each month a new, carefully selected book will be mailed in your child's name directly to your home. He/she can look forward to new and exciting reading adventures until he/she turns five years old as long as you remain a resident of Siouxland.

Register your child HERE.

  • Who is Eligible?

    Preschool children from birth to age five.

  • What Are My Responsibilities?

    1. Be a resident of Siouxland (live within a 40 mile radius of Sioux City) or be a resident of the Le Mars area United Way
    2. Submit an official registration form, completely filled out by parent or guardian
    3. Notify United Way of Siouxland any time your address changes. Books are mailed to the address listed on the official registration form
    4. Read with your child
  • When Will I Receive Books?

    Eight to ten weeks after your registration form has been received, books will begin arriving at your home and will continue until your child turns five or you move out of Siouxland.

Questions? Email United Way of Siouxland here.

+ Little Free Libraries

The Sioux City Mayor's Youth Commission oversees several Little Free Libraries throughout the community:

  • Bishop Heelan High School Pre-K Room, 1021 Douglas
  • Book People, 2923 Hamilton Blvd
  • Bush Dry Cleaners & Laundry, 1415 Morningside Avenue
  • Jitters, 306 Virginia
  • LaunchPad Children's Museum, 623 Pearl
  • Mercy Medical Center, 800 5th Street
  • Sioux City Art Center, 225 Nebraska Street
  • Sioux City Community School District, 627 4th Street
  • Sioux City Journal, 515 Pavonia
  • Sioux City Police Department, 601 Douglas

The Sioux City Housing Authority also began a Little Free Library in July 2017, taking up the challenge to increase reading proficiency, create a book rich environment, and improve the overall academic achievement of children in low-income families in Sioux City. Since 2017, over 5,500 books have been donated, primarily through youth book drives and service projects.

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Little Free

Discover additional Little Free Libraries throughout the community and around the world.




Did you know that based on healthcare provider surveys, “Families who were given early literacy-related anticipatory guidance and a book were more likely to rate their health care provider as helpful and were twice as likely to report enjoyment in reading together compared with those who were only given anticipatory guidance.”?

As healthcare providers, you have repeated access to children and their families from the time they are born to age 5. These visits are the perfect opportunity to encourage families to read aloud together and demonstrate the best way to look at books and talk about the stories.

Helpful Links:


+ Resources For Free Books


Childcare Providers

Child Care Providers

As child care providers, you are uniquely able to spend quality developmental time with kids in your care who are ages 0 to 3. Plan opportunities throughout the day to engage with your little friends:

  • Describe what you’re doing throughout the day and stretch your vocabulary.
  • Read whatever you see during the day to the kids including signs, labels and posters.
  • Show the kids how a toy works and then let them try


Please mail your tax-deductible donation to:  

0-3: Prime Age to Engage initiative
c/o: SHIP
1520 Morningside Avenue
Sioux City, Iowa 51106