This November, our early literacy program 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten turns 2. And to celebrate these not-at-all-terrible twos, we’re highlighting a few graduates of the long-term program.
To help prepare our community’s babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to arrive at kindergarten ready to learn, the program asks families to read 1,000 books together before their child starts kindergarten.
Since it launched in November 2017, more than 1,500 kids have signed up, and 75 have graduated. All together, participating families have read more than 100,000 books!
“One mother shared that the program set them up on a routine of daily reading that hasn’t stopped, well after 1,000 books,” said Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris at a graduation party last year. Now a year later, she adds: “It’s so much fun to watch kids grow older in the program.”
‘Sharing in our love of reading’
Three-year-old Selassie is one of the latest graduates of the program. He and his family attended our graduation party at Maze Branch this summer.
“Selassie’s vocabulary and ability to structure sentences improved,” his dad, Munk, told us. “We also learned that he had an amazing ability to memorize long passages from stories! As parents, we got additional time to bond while sharing in our love of reading.”
‘Allowed him to develop his natural curiosity’
Navin, who will start kindergarten in fall 2020, finished when he was 3.5 years old.
“It has been truly special to read together over time with Navin and see firsthand how he has learned and developed,” said his dad, Jerome. “Working reading into our daily routines has allowed him to develop his natural curiosity and to build his understanding about different people, places, things, and the world around him. It’s helped him develop his ability to be observant, inquisitive, and patient.”
‘Changed our day for the better’
Rory finished the program in spring 2018, when she was 2.5 years old. We asked her mom, Jillian, what they got out of participating.
“Our habit of reading for an hour after Rory’s nap originated with this program,” Jillian said. “It’s really changed our day for the better. And we feel like we’re accomplishing something every week. The dishes may not be done, and the laundry may not be done, but we can say we read 100 books. And we can talk about the dishes not being done, using a wide vocabulary.”
‘He loves when we read to him’
At only 19 months old, Elliott was our very first graduate back in February 2018. His dad, Bob, told us that he and his wife had been reading with Elliott since birth.
“At the beginning it was easy, infants just sort of lay there,” Bob told us. “We’ve been fortunate that, as he’s gotten older and more interactive, he loves when we read to him. Now at 19 months, he will sometimes initiate, bringing books to us. We’ve also found that sometimes, when he gets fussy at meals or upset, one of his favorite books can be a positive distraction.”