Library recommends 1,000 books before kindergarten

Have you ever noticed that children are like sponges that absorb everything around them? Because of this, parents and caregivers are a child’s first education provider. They hear what you say and watch what you do, so it’s important to make those early years together count.

One way the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library encourages parents and caregivers to embrace this educational role is through our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.

Your first reaction to the program might be that 1,000 books seems like an impossible goal, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you read one book every day, you and your child can finish the program in less than three years, and even sooner if you read more than one book at a time. Any child from birth to kindergarten age can participate, so while we encourage you to sign up early, it’s never too late to begin.

While formal education usually doesn’t start until age 5 or 6, the years before then are critical formative years for your child’s mind. Studies estimate as many as one in five children have difficulties learning to read. Reading skills contribute heavily to academic success, so it’s ideal to give your child a great start by reading to them constantly. Even babies absorb words and sounds, building their vocabulary and phonetic understanding before they can even speak. Reading together is one of the easiest and most beneficial ways of building a strong knowledge and learning base for your child moving forward. Plus it’s a fun way to spend time together.

So now that you understand why the program is important, you’re probably wondering how to begin. Simple – just visit the Youth Services desk at the libary.

When you start you’ll get a fun 1000 Books Before Kindergarten bag to carry all of your books, along with the first log sheet. Each sheet has 100 shapes representing one book each. When you read a book together with your child, have him or her color in a shape. Or if they’re too little, have some fun coloring it in yourself.

When you’ve colored in all the shapes on one page, bring it back to the library and we’ll give you the next sheet. There is a space on the back for you to write down your child’s favorite titles if you’d like. And don’t worry, you can definitely read the same book multiple times. Repetition of favorite books is good for children as it reinforces words and concepts utilized in the text. Plus it’s encouraging to let your child read what they enjoy, as it builds a love of reading that can last a lifetime.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly your child’s vocabulary and comprehension skills will increase as you read together. While you’re at the library picking out books for the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program, be sure to look for our Storytime schedule. We have Storytimes appropriate for all ages that are designed to promote early literacy skills.

We’re here to support you and your child, so be sure to visit us in the Junior Library.

Ashley Meece is youth services manager at Tiffin-Seneca Public Library.