Library launches 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program

This February the West Linn Public library will be launching a new reading incentive program specifically for families with children who have not yet entered kindergarten.

Funded by Oregon’s Ready to Read grant, the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program will encourage families and caregivers to read to their young children on a daily basis from the day they are born. Families who sign up for the program will receive a reading log to help them track the books they share with their children and will be awarded prizes of books, stickers, bags and toys as they reach certain reading goals.

The library will also be collaborating with local preschools and child care organizations to make reading aloud to all children in West Linn a priority in 2014. Community members and local businesses will sponsor book buckets containing a selection of excellent read-aloud books and literacy activities that will circulate among early learning programs and schools.

The library is a wonderful community resource but there is a portion of our population that cannot visit the library to check out books on a regular basis and we hope these buckets will make this important initiative available to those families as well.

Over the course of just one year, these community-sponsored book buckets will put books into the hands of more than 300 children.

Why should families sign up to participate?

This is a fun and free program that encourages families and caregivers to read to their children at least 1,000 books before they enter school, a goal experts say children need to help build a foundation for learning to read. Reading aloud to your child helps develop critical pre-reading skills and also will encourage a love of reading that will last throughout their lives. Sharing books is also just a great way to spend time together. Children will enjoy tracking books they have read on their own reading logs and it will illustrate to them that reading is a priority in their family. Also ... there are prizes!

1,000 books! That is a lot!

You can do it. If you read just three stories a day, you and your child will have shared more than 1,000 books in just one year. This isn’t a race, you have until your child enters kindergarten to reach your 1,000 book goal. Also, you can count books shared at child care and during the library’s story times.

Why is reading with your child so important?

As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. Studies have proven that there is a definitive correlation between a child’s home environment and their future success in school and attitudes about reading. Children who are read to on a regular basis in the first few years of their lives will perform better in school and be stronger readers. It is that simple. By sharing books with your children you can help Oregon reach its goal of achieving a 100 percent high school graduation rate by 2025.

How do I sign up?

You can begin signing up for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program beginning Feb. 1. Visit the West Linn Public Library’s children’s area and register at any of our service desks. You will receive a reading log and a personalized pennant flag to be proudly displayed in the library.

We hope to see you all around the library in 2014. Happy reading!

Carson Mischel is the children’s librarian at the West Linn Public Library.

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