“The more books a child has read, the more words a child has heard, the better off they will be once they start school,” said Early Literacy Librarian Shelley Harris. “They’ll have a strong foundation for learning how to read, for learning how to learn.”
Since November 2017, more than 1,600 children, babies, toddlers, and preschoolers have signed up. As of September 5, 2019, 66 children have completed the program. All are committing to the long-term goal of reading together before kindergarten begins.
The goal—for children to read 1,000 books with their families before starting kindergarten—may sound overwhelming, Harris said, but “if you read one book a night, you’ll finish in less than three years.”
For every 100 books read, kids earn one sticker to take home and one to add to a collage at the library, creating a visual measure of the community’s progress. An Oak Park Public Library card is not needed to sign up. Once a child finishes 1,000 books, they can pick out a book to take home and keep, have their photo taken, and attend a graduation party at the library. “It’s our way to celebrate their accomplishments and cheer them on,” Harris said.
Families can sign up babies, toddlers, and preschoolers for the long-term program at any library location, anytime!