The Bremen Public Library in Indiana offered the first 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, created from the inspiration found in Mem Fox’s book, Reading Magic. It has spread from there, with libraries primarily in the Midwest and a few in the Northeast offering the program.
The program is based upon solid evidence from research findings that the more children ages 0-5 hear books read to them, the more prepared they will be to learn to read upon reaching kindergarten.
Libraries administer the program differently, but the general framework is based upon the summer reading program model of encouraging and rewarding reading with incentives. Parents of children 0-5 sign up for the program at their public library (although a few elementary schools in the Midwest offer the program too). Libraries provide the parents with reading logs to track how many books they and others read to their children. Some libraries give small incentives when the families reach certain reading milestones, like 50 books. When the families have reached 1,000 books before the child reaches kindergarten, they have successfully completed the program.
Besides having children hear 1,000 before kindergarten, program goals may include:
- ensuring kids enter kindergarten ready to read · having an opportunity to present parents with information about early literacy
- instilling the lifelong love of reading in young children · fostering a positive connection to the library for families and children reinforcing parents’ role as their child’s first and best teachers
- creating a network of families and children that are committed to literacy and education
When you register for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten at the library, you will receive a program folder and a reading log to record the first 100 books that you read together. As you and your child progress though the program in 100 book increments, you will earn prizes and acquire pre-reading skills to help prepare your child for kindergarten and a lifetime of learning.
Please go to the MCFLS 1000 Books Before Kindergarten page for all the details!