1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program

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By Terry Rogers

Robin Lank, Children’s Librarian at the Milford Public Library, says that the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program has an official kick off of February 4, 2017 at 11am at the Milford Public Library. She has been so excited for children to join the program, that she has already needed to expand its reach based on families that have already joined.

“I am going to have to make new folders, so many have decided to participate already,” Ms. Lank said. “The folder includes a reading log, a bibliography and activities children can do to encourage reading.”

Ms. Lank says that 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is a national program created to promote reading to newborns, infants and toddlers. It also encourages parent and child bonding through reading. The program is free and the concept is simple. Parents are asked to read any book to their small children before they begin Kindergarten. Reading just one book per night would mean parents have read 365 books to their children each year. In three years, one book per night would equal 1,095 books.

“Reading triggers everything in the mind,” Ms. Lank said. “It is the beginning of all learning, so the sooner children are exposed to reading, the sooner they begin to develop the learning skills they will need to carry them through school.” Statistics support Ms. Lank’s statements as well.

According to the National Education Association, students whose parents read to them score 28 points above the national average. In addition, students who read for fun on their own time, not required reading for school, have higher reading scores, yet 16 percent of students say they never read for fun. The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is not only designed to encourage parents to read to their children, it is designed to promote reading for fun.

On February 4, Milford Public Library will hold a kickoff celebration. There will be a Readathon from 11 AM until 3 PM with local dignitaries, including Mayor Bryan Shupe, coming in to read their favorite books to the children. Teachers, Boy Scout Troops and others will also participate.

“We will have door prizes, refreshments, all kinds of things to encourage people to register,” Ms. Lank said. “As part of the program, children and parents can choose any book they want. In addition, books can be repeated as many small children want to hear the same book repeatedly if they really like it. We want to encourage them to enjoy reading, not push them to read things they may not want to read.”

Parents simply read the books to their children and then note them in the folder. Even books read to children by siblings, friends or teachers count toward the 1,000 books goal. For every 100 books read, the child will receive a certificate. Once they finish the first 100 books, the family also receives a book about the program.

The program’s website has many resources available to encourage reading among children. The program has an app available for iPhone and Android to assist parents with tracking books read. The program encourages parents to take photos of their child holding their certificates each 100 books and sharing them on social media with the hashtag #1000BooksB4K.

Sign up is available at the library at any time simply by visiting the Children’s Desk in the Library. More information is also available at www.1000booksbeforekindergarten.org.

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