At 19-months-old Elliott’s house, reading is definitely a priority! Here, Elliott poses for his celebratory “first finisher” photo, part of his formal recognition as the first child to finish the library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.
Since its November launch, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten has attracted more than 600 families to sign up with their babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. All are committing to the long-term goal of reading together before kindergarten begins.
As a program finisher, Elliott was able to pick out a brand new book to take home and keep, have his photo taken (see above), and be invited as a special guest to an upcoming 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten graduation party. “It’s our way to celebrate accomplishments and cheer on young listeners and readers,” said Early Literacy Librarian Shelley Harris.
“The kids love the attention they get for all their reading, with even our youngest participants excited to show off their logs and get their sticker,” Harris said, adding that “caregivers’ enthusiasm about each milestone definitely reinforces a positive, joyful bonding experience.”
Families can sign up babies, toddlers, and preschoolers for the long-term program at any library location, any time.
We asked Elliott’s dad if he had any tips for families working toward 1,000 books:
“My wife Liz and I have been reading to Elliott since we first brought him home. At the beginning it was easy, infants just sort of lay there. 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 made that easy for him by keeping books in every room, and we’ve gotten in the habit of reading several times a day, a few books in the morning before work, in the afternoon, and at bedtime. We regularly attend the library’s Young and Restless storytimes, and I think that has been a big help in making reading fun and interactive.”
What worked? What didn’t work?
“Elliott definitely has his favorites, so sometimes you’ll be reading the same book five times in a row whether you want to or not! And some longer, text-heavy books that we read to him early on, Winnie the Pooh comes to mind, he gets a little bored with.
When we have a sitter or during the holidays when we had family around, we always encourage them to read to Elliott, and we think that has definitely helped with getting him more into reading and comfortable with it in different settings. We’ve also found that sometimes, when he gets fussy at meals or upset, one of his favorite books can be a positive distraction.”
“Since the start he has loved Sandra Boynton books and anything by Eric Carle. Lately he’s been enjoying Mo Willems, the Anna Dewdney Llama Llama books, and he loves the Mike Curato Little Elliot books, of course.”
—As told to us by Bob Danstrom
In March, April, and May, join us at the Main Library:
- Children ages 2-6 and their caregivers are invited to Stories on Saturday (10 am) for a big, lively storytime that is full of favorites.
- Children birth-24 months and their caregivers are welcome to join us for Young & Restless (11 am) for short books paired with songs and rhymes modeled to introduce pre-literacy skills.
Note: No storytimes on March 31.