We’re kicking off the New Year by launching 1,000 Books before Kindergarten, a program designed to foster relationship-building and a love of reading while preparing youth for kindergarten. Thanks to the Minnesota Department of Education through a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, LARL is committed to offering this program to the residents of the seven counties it serves, including Becker, Clay, Clearwater, Mahnomen, Norman, Polk, and Wilkin Counties.
This free program encourages parents and caregivers to read to children from birth to kindergarten and beyond. “We are excited to introduce 1,000 Books before Kindergarten to our communities,” said Tammy Thomasson, Branch Manager and Youth Librarian of the Crookston Public Library. “Getting an early start on literacy development is the key to future success in school, and with this program it doesn’t have to cost parents a penny.”
1,000 Books before Kindergarten is a nation-wide movement of parents and caregivers dedicated to getting children ready to read before kindergarten, creating the foundation of a lifetime of learning. According to the Zero to Three Foundation, a child’s brain is producing 700 new neural connections every second from birth until age three. “Language and literacy development begin at birth,” said Jenna Kahly, LARL’s youth service coordinator. “When you sing, talk, and share books together you are not only building a loving relationship with your child, but filling their minds with language. This is a critical time in your child’s brain development and you can make a huge impact by having fun together right now.”
To participate, families can visit a LARL library near them, or visit this page to sign up for the program. Families will receive incentives for each reading log they complete, with a special award for those who complete the program by reading 1,000 times before kindergarten.
“Reading to our children is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to prepare our children for kindergarten and academic success,” said Liz Lynch, the library system’s Regional Director. “The benefits associated with reading include strengthening brain development, increasing vocabulary and comprehension, and laying that vital foundation for problem solving and success. It is so important, and it only requires a few minutes a day.”