Can you and your toddler read 1000 Books Before Kindergarten?

  • Pedestrians pass by the Spanish War monument in front of the Greenfield public library on Main Street Tuesday, February 7, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 2/4/2018 8:52:39 PM

GREENFIELD — The idea is simple: by reading one book a day for three years, you and your child will have read more than 1,000 books together by the time they enter kindergarten.

The Greenfield Public Library is launching 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, a literacy program designed to increase the number of books that parents and other caregivers read to young children.

The library will hold a kickoff party for the program featuring an interactive play, children’s party and cupcakes with youth librarian Kay Lyons and local artist and author Astrid Sheckels.

“It’s an effort to get parents involved in helping the kids become good readers by the time they’re in kindergarten and first grade. It also hopes to engender in the kids a love of reading. It also increases vocabulary, it increases familiarity with reading and the desire to read and learn on your own,” Friends associate member Terry Ruggles said.

Join the party

The kickoff party will be held Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. in the Children’s Room. Any child up to kindergarten age may participate in the year-round program.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. at the library’s Children’s Desk, where families will receive a special book bag with imprinted artwork designed by Sheckels. Families will have the option to track their reading via the 1,000 Books app or a paper packet. Certain milestones in reading progress will be recognized with special events and celebrations.

“Experiencing books at a very young age opens up so many opportunities for children — opportunities that pay off well into adulthood,” Lyons said. “By adding the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten early literacy program, we’re giving parents a clear path to follow to develop literacy skills in their children before they begin school.”

Data from the National Education Association show 26 percent of children who were read to three or four times a week by a family member recognized all the letters of the alphabet. The ability for a child to recognize the alphabet drops to 14 percent for children who were read to less frequently, according to a news release about the program.

Additional research from the Educational Testing Service found that having more types of reading materials in a home results in children having higher reading proficiency.

The goal of the program is to read 1,000 books before children enter kindergarten, and books may be repeated.

“It’s not that you have to read 1,000 different books, you in fact can read 10 books 100 different times if you want to,” Ruggles said. “Each time counts as one of the 1,000 books.”

In case of snow, the kickoff party will be held Feb. 17.

Families without a library card can sign up by bringing a photo ID from Massachusetts, or an out-of-state ID with a piece of mail proving Massachusetts residency, and a library card will be issued. Families who want to participate in the program, but are unable to attend the party, can register any time at the Children’s Desk.


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