“1000 Books Before Kindergarten” is more than a simple library program. Since it began at the rural Indiana Bremen Public Library in late 2005/early 2006, it has grown exponentially and spread throughout the country. It is a simple concept with priceless rewards.
Today thousands of libraries are helping to instill Early Literacy skills in our youngest learners by encouraging parents and caregivers to read 1000 books aloud to their children before they reach kindergarten.
So, what is ‘Early Literacy’ and what does it have to do with a child learning to read and succeed? Research shows that when we read and talk with babies and young children, we help to create brain connections associated with language development. Specifically, Early Literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read or write and is made up of these six skills which develop in young children starting at birth.
As noted on the popular web site Wikipedia, these include:
- Print Motivation: Enjoying books.
- Vocabulary: Knowing the names of things and concepts in the world.
- Narrative Skills: The ability to describe things and events and to tell stories.
- Phonological Awareness: Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words, such as rhymes and syllables.
- Print Awareness: Noticing print and knowing how a book works.
- Letter Knowledge: Knowing letter names and sounds. 
When a child does not have access to these critical building blocks of learning, they are at risk of beginning schooling behind their peers.
Moreover, early gaps only grow larger over the course of a child’s education, eventually influencing the trajectory of that child’s later working life. By encouraging and supporting parents in their efforts to read 1000 books to their children from 0-5 years, we are:
- Not only ensuring kids enter kindergarten ready to read, but also
- Instilling the lifelong love of reading in young children, and
- Reinforcing parents’ role as their child’s first and best teachers.
We know exposure to books and reading is key to a child’s development, but we also know that today’s lives are incredibly busy and 1000 is a daunting number! If you read just 1 book a night, you will have read about 365 books in a year. That is 730 books in two years and 1,095 books in three years. At three books a night, the goal can be reached in less than a year.
1000 Books is an attainable and impressive goal. There are three keys to making this a success. Of course, we want it to be free and fun, but to make this important habit stick we also need accountability!
Parents or caregivers are able to register their children at the library to participate. When they join, each child will receive a welcome packet and reading log. Participants are also encouraged to use our Beanstack site for logging their progress.
Each 100 books that are read earns the child a small prize such as a sticker or bookmark. At 500 a book will be given to the child and at 1000 a grand prize is given.
Call or stop by the Library for more information!
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergent_literacies#cite_note-4 Accessed: 09/10/2013