SIDNEY — In an effort to promote strong early literacy skills, the Shelby County Libraries is encouraging parents and caregivers to read 1,000 books to their newborns, infants and toddlers before they head off to school. A new, year-round program called 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten will kick-off at all six library locations on Sept. 1.
Funded in part by a Community Foundation Match Day grant, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is a nationwide initiative with a simple concept. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to pick up lots of books to read, or reread, to their little ones. The goals are to promote reading readiness for kids entering kindergarten, instill a lifelong love of reading and encourage parent and child bonding.
For every milestone of 200 books read, children will earn a special reward. Reading logs will be provided in starter kits from the library for children to track their progress. After a child has read 1,000 books, he or she will receive a certificate of achievement from the library, a special book bag and a new book.
Shelby County Libraries Youth Services Director, Rikki Unterbrink notes the 1,000-books-before-kindergarten goal may sound more ambitious than it actually is.
“If you read a child just one book a night, that’s 365 books in a year, 730 books in two years, and 1,095 books in three years,” Unterbrink said. “Considering most children start kindergarten around the age of 5, parents probably have more time than they realize to help their little ones begin to build strong literacy skills. We know that many children in our county are already receiving monthly books through the Imagination Library program and we feel these two programs pair really well together.”
Stop by any Shelby County Library location on or after Sept. 1 to register a child for this program and to pick up a free starter kit. For more information visit 1000booksbefore kindergarten.org or call the library Children’s desk at 937-492-8354, ext. 109.