1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Hello readers! Today I want you to think back to your childhood. 

Do you remember listening to books at bedtime? What was your favorite story? 
I begged to hear Madeline over and over. I laughed at the sight of Miss Clavell dashing to prevent a disaster, and wished I could live in an “old house in Paris, all covered with vines.” My co-worker Crystal asked for The Piggy in the Puddle. Our county librarian Abby loved Winter Story by Jill Barklem, and Beverly at the MCPL childrens’ desk listened to  Good Night Moon and then read it to her own children.

Whether you’re giggling over Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, or looking at the beautiful pictures of Whose Moon is That, reading with children is a fun, relaxing way to bond and build good memories. Reading time is not just about memories, however; it also tricks your child into sleeping prepares your child for academic success.

Reading allows your child to develop phonemic awareness, otherwise known as the ability to recognize and manipulate the different sounds in words. Phonemic awareness allows you to identify words that rhyme like Hop on Pop, or Sheep in a Jeep, or words with similar sounds, like Pete the Cat’s Perfect Pizza Party.

Reading aloud to kids increases their vocabulary, which is a big boost in learning to read. If you recognize a word in speech, it’s easier to make the connection to print. 

With all this in mind, we are rolling out a new program at MCPL: 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. 

Wait, come back! One thousand books may sound overwhelming, but it’s surprisingly do-able.  If you only read one bedtime story a night, you can reach that mark in about three years. And let’s be real – how many parents get away with only reading one story a night? 

Books can be read by grandparents, babysitters, or older siblings. Audiobooks count! And if your kiddo goes through a phase of wanting a book read over and over (I can still recite Where the Wild Things Are verbatim), each repetition counts, all the way up until your child begins kindergarten. Get started in three easy steps! 

First step: register at the Macon County Public Library, and pick up an information packet. The program will be rolled out throughout the Fontana system, but is currently only at the Macon branch.

Second step: read!

Third step: track what you read. You can do this via a journal available on Amazon, free apps from the organization, free printable tracking sheets (printouts available at the MCPL youth services desk, or your own spiral notebook. Children will receive small prizes from the library as they hit milestones, and a certificate and prize when they reach their ultimate goal. Here at Macon, we have a bulletin board to track our readers’ progress. 

If you have any questions, please contact us at 828-524-3600 to speak with the childrens’ department, or drop by your local branch once the rollout is complete. We look forward to helping you get you started. 

The premise is simple, but the rewards are myriad: sweet memories of reading with your little one; the skills your child can build on throughout their education; and sweetest of all for fellow readers, the moment when your child can read on their own and so can you!


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