‘1000 Books Before Kindergarten’ encourages reading to children early and often

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 5:29 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” is a nationwide nonprofit program that encourages parents and caregivers to read at least one thousand books with their child before kindergarten.

“We’d love, actually, to see every eligible child in the city of Davenport to be participating.”

Alison McGaughey is the earlier literacy coordinator at the Davenport Public Library and brought the program to the library last year.

She says it’s never too early to introduce reading to your child.

“We know all the research knows when reading early and often, when the children’s brains are rapidly developing in those early years, baby/toddler, they are absorbing so much more than we even realize, and so reading out loud to them encourages vocabular development and all kinds of skills that are going to improve their school readiness,” said McGaughey.

The program is free, and any child who has not yet entered kindergarten is eligible.

There are incentives along the way, including an at-home story time kit with a booklet of songs and rhymes for 100 books read.

Children in the program are able to pick out a brand new book to take home after reading 250 and 750 books, and their picture goes up on the wall after 500 and the goal of 1,000 books.

“When they get their picture taken, they hold a little sign that says ‘I’ve read 500 books!’ And then as they continue their journey on, they receive more incentives,” said McGaughey.

At 1,000 books participants receive a free t-shirt, another picture on the wall, and a personalized bookplate honoring their accomplishment.

The different prizes depend on how each individual library runs the program.

Parent Lindsey Brown was excited to get her children signed up.

“I really enjoy reading to my kids. And I do think that early introduction to books and reading is really beneficial. My husband’s a teacher, so we really try and advance learning in the kids,” said Brown.

Instilling a love for learning and a love for reading.

“My daughter, Madelyne, is so, she’s always loved reading books. So I thought it was a really cool idea, how to keep track of a thousand books, specifically, it’s a big number, before kindergarten,” said Brown.

“It’s bonding over the love of books, and hopefully setting the course for them becoming a lifelong lover of books and a lifelong reader,” said McGaughey.

In addition to the Davenport Public Library, Bettendorf, Rock Island and Moline’s libraries also have the “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” program.

There are also several other libraries in the TV6 viewing area that participate. Here is a link to find out if your local library participate. Click ‘Iowa’ or ‘Illinois’ to find out if your local library is included.

To sign up, you can visit your local library or sign up online at https://www.beanstack.com/