The ‘1,000 Books Before Kindergarten’ program builds vital skills
By Lori Belongia
Marshfield Public Library Director
Years ago when my daughter was attending first grade at Jefferson School, I waited my turn to confer with her teacher. We began talking about the various class reading groups: the Sky Rockets, the Purple Crayons, and the Dogs. My hackles were immediately raised because it was not too hard to figure out which group was made up of struggling readers.
I asked how the group names were chosen and had to sit back and ponder the answer, which was, “The groups named themselves.” After thinking about it for a while, I wondered if self-esteem played a role in the selection of a group name and then came to the simple conclusion that the vocabulary levels of each of the reading groups was likely the strongest influence.
We were speaking at the library the other day about how to make more people aware of the importance of our “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, and that experience came flooding back to me. It is the perfect illustration of how exposure to language through reading before kindergarten influences reading readiness.
General early literacy research notes six key skills to prepare children for reading and academic success. These skills are print awareness, print motivation, letter knowledge, vocabulary, narrative skills, and phonological awareness. These skills are developed as people read to children. Through what may appear to be passive reading, children are actively developing these skills. They see the words and become curious about them. They learn their ABCs, build a broader vocabulary, learn to tell stories, and understand new words.
Marshfield Public Library is pleased to support the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program to encourage adults to read to the children in their lives. The program offers simple and fun ways to track reading, but that is not all. There are prizes sprinkled throughout the program to keep things interesting.
One thousand books sounds like an audacious goal, and it is. However, if you are already reading even one book a day to your child, you can meet the goal within three years. Reading two a day gets you there in less than a year and five months.
It is easy to see that this investment of your time and in your child is a great way to set him or her up for a successful academic future.
Where can you find an unending supply of great books? The Marshfield Public Library is your main line for a wide variety of titles. Stop in, and we will help keep you and your child reading.