What is 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten?
The idea is simple: Read to your little one to better prepare them for one of life's early milestones, kindergarten. 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten encourages the social, emotional, and cognitive development needed for little ones to succeed in school. Research shows that the more children are read to, the larger their vocabularies become and the more prepared they are to begin school. Reading together also encourages children to recognize reading as an enjoyable and valuable experience and to become lifelong readers. Reading 1,000 books together before the start of kindergarten may seem like a lot, but think of this: If you read just one book together each night, you will have read 365 books in one year. In two years, you will read 730. In three years, you will read 1,095 books!
Who can participate?
Any child from birth until he or she enters kindergarten may participate in the program.
How does the program work?
- Register for Free: Download the Beanstack app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, and create an account. Select the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge, and register your child as the reader. Beanstack is the same app that GMPL uses for our Summer Reading Program. You can also use Beanstack on your web browser. A Youth Services Librarian can always guide you through the registration process.
- Read, Read, Read: Select books for your child and read! Check out the suggested reading lists at the bottom of this page, or ask a Youth Services Librarian for recommendations that meet your child's age and interests. We're always adding new books to our collection!
- Track Your Reading for Badges and Prizes: Log your reading using Beanstack. Count all books read to your child or by your child toward your total. Is your child attending a storytime? Asking to hear the same book over and over? They all count! For every 100 books you read together, you will earn a badge in Beanstack and a prize at the Library.
What prizes are available?
For every 100 books you read together, visit the Library to receive a prize! Prizes consist of developmentally appropriate toys, such as finger paint, bubbles, sensory balls, and storytime scarves, and informational handouts full of activity ideas and early literacy tips. After reading 1,000 books, you will receive a tote bag and a certificate of completion. Library staff will also snap a special photo of your child to share.
Quick Tips for Reading Together
- Make reading fun! Reading is meant to be enjoyable and entertaining rather than a chore. Read with expression in your voice, and ask your child lots of questions about the story or pictures as you read together.
- Does your child enjoy reading a story together before bed? After lunch? During storytime in the morning? Incorporate reading into a daily routine so that your child anticipates it. In addition, try to find books that reflect your child's interests. Visit the Library so they can choose books about their favorite things. When your child is reading about something they love, it makes reading exciting!
- Board books and cloth books are great for babies who like to touch things and put everything in their mouths. Even a very young child can hold books and point at the pictures. Model for your child the way to hold a book and that words are read from left to right. Point to words as you read. Tracking words with your finger on the page as you read shows your child that letters form words and words form sentences.
- Children learn letters that are meaningful to them, such as letters found in their names. When reading books, emphasize these letters and connections. For example, pointing to a picture of a cat in your book and saying, "Cat starts with the letter C and so does Catherine!"
- It's okay if your child is not in the mood to read together. It's also okay if your child loses interest in a book and you stop during the middle of the story. You can always return to the book, or try a new book later. Remember, the goal is to make reading a positive experience.
Not sure where to start? Considering checking out one or more of these titles from our collection!