Children don’t usually start formal education until ages 5 or 6, but the years before this period are critical for brain development and literacy skills. To help set up children on the path to a bright future, Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) has introduced “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten,” a new reading program that launched March 22.
The program, which has been implemented in libraries across the country, encourages parents and caregivers to regularly read to their children, starting at an early age. Reading out loud offers parents a fun, manageable way to help their kids develop early literacy skills, including speaking, listening and communicating.
According to Conni Strittmatter, BCPL’s youth and family engagement manager, “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten helps build little ones’ pre-reading skills, vocabulary and love of reading as they prepare for kindergarten. Children will learn that reading can be educational and fun!”
Parents can keep track of the books they’ve read by either registering on Beanstack, printing or picking up a paper reading log at their local BCPL branch. Kids can collect special stickers for each 100 books they read and will receive a special completion prize once they reach 1,000 books.
“When children complete the program and receive their prize, they’ll learn that accomplishments are worth celebrating and commitments are worth sticking to, even when they may take a long time to finish,” says Strittmatter.
Parents are encouraged to find books at their local BCPL branch or attend a virtual story time to listen to books read by library staff.