I recently had the chance to chat again with our friend, Jodi Oliver, director of the Beaver County Library System, to find out what else the libraries have to offer to our community. This month, we’re highlighting their 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. As I am a huge book nerd and, according to my mom, was born knowing how to read, I am thrilled to promote this program that encourages parents to read 1,000 books to their children before they enter school.

Why So Many Books?

First, let’s talk about the why. Quite simply, the importance of reading to children cannot be overstated. The library system’s website outlines six early literacy skills you can help children achieve by reading to them at a young age – each of them key in helping kids be ready to learn once they enter school.

  • Vocabulary – Knowing the name of things.
  • Print Motivation – A child’s interest in and enjoyment of books.
  • Print Awareness – Noticing print everywhere; knowing how to handle a book and knowing how to follow the words on a page.
  • Letter Knowledge – Knowing that letters have names and are different from each other, and that specific sounds go with specific letters.
  • Phonological Awareness – Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words.
  • Narrative Skills – Being able to describe things and events and tell stories.

When asked what Jodi would like our readers to know about this program, she says she wants them to “have fun with it and make reading a part of every day. Start reading to your child at a young age; it’s never too early to start…I’d like to emphasize that reading to a child at a young age it so important; it develops many literacy skills and instills a love of reading. It’s a wonderful way for parents to connect with their child. The program is easy to do if parents get into a routine and make reading a special time, perhaps before naptime or bedtime. It’s a great way to wind down after a busy day. I would encourage parents to take their child to the library regularly and have their child pick out books for him/herself. Children get excited when they can pick out their own books! They can even get their own library card. The love of reading is the best gift a parent can give to their child!”

How Do We Track This?

All right, now let’s learn about the how. First, download a registration form and book tracker here. Record the title of each book read – keeping in mind books can be read more than once. And you’re not alone in this! Books read at library story times, daycare, preschool, grandma’s house? Write them all down!

Once a tracking sheet is completed, return it to your local branch and receive a sticker. Once 1,000 books have been finished, participants receive a certificate and gift.

What Should We Be Reading?

Now for the best part – let’s talk about the what. Rose Celio, a children’s librarian with the Beaver County Library System, has got us covered. Rose gave some great pointers on selecting what to read to pre-kindergarten kids.

Here are some things to look for:

  • Some Illustrations – photos are colorful, clear, and engaging.
  • Simple, fun plots – action should move quickly.
  • Lively rhymes and repetition that children can remember.
  • Stories about everyday life and events.
  • Stories that review basic concepts, such as letters, numbers, shapes, and colors.

Rose also compiled a list of suggested reading to help get you started. Here are just a few:

Books for Toddlers Ages 0-2

Books for Children ages 3 – 5 (PreK – K)

Breaking Down the Numbers

One final thing… let’s talk numbers. Before anyone panics because they’re more likely to see a unicorn doing the Electric Slide than they are likely to get their 2-year-old to sit still through 1,000 books, consider this breakdown the libraries provide:

Child’s age at start of program

Number of books to read

per day to complete program

Number of books to read

per week to complete program

0 years old



1 year old



2 years old



3 years old



4 years old 3


So that’s it, guys! It really is an amazing gift we can give children, this early love of reading and learning. Thank you so much to the Beaver County Library System for helping the community get started.

For information on the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, as well as links to useful websites (with oodles more book suggestions), please visit http://www.beaverlibraries.org/1000books.asp or call your local library.

Rose and Jodi also provided a list of websites and books for our readers that could be useful as you begin the program. Enjoy!

Online Early Literacy Resources

Resources for Choosing Good Books

Abby Baker
Abby is a life-long resident of Beaver, so she is thrilled to be a part of this project. She loves this little town of ours! She lives in Bridgewater with her husband, Matt, and their favorite topics of conversation, their dog, Mabel, and their black cats, Ozzie & Gus. When she’s not busy hunting down stories to entertain you guys, she can be found with her nose in a book…or eating ice cream…or both. Usually both.