Have you signed your baby, toddler, or preschooler up for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten yet? It’s a new program from the Spring Lake District Library to help encourage a love of reading in our youngest patrons! We know you already read to your children and bring them to library programs like Storytime or Toddler Time, but this helps you know exactly how many books your child hears before entering kindergarten. The idea is simple – read 1,000 books to your baby or toddler before he or she goes to their first day of kindergarten.

Why? Research has shown that families who start reading aloud to children at birth help strengthen the child’s language skills and build their vocabulary – two important tools for beginning to read. One thousand is a big number, but if you read one book a day, that’s 365 books in a year. Two years would be 730 books, and in three years, you would have read 1,095. Repeats always count as do books read at storytime or by grandparents, older siblings, etc. By keeping track of books read to your child, you’ll create a keepsake to look back on of their early years – and a way to know that you really did read Llama Llama Red Pajama aloud 367 times.

So how do you get started? Stop by the Youth Services desk at any time to sign up and get a log book to keep track of books read and a tote bag to help keep books organized! For every 100 books read to your child on the way to 1,000, your child will get to choose a book to add to their home library. Children who reach the 1,000 book goal before starting kindergarten will join the library’s wall of fame!  Reading with children is the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers and prepare for academic success. Any child from birth until they start kindergarten is eligible to sign up.

Funding for this program was generously provided by the Mary Ann Sherwood Families and Children Fund and the Youth Fund of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.