Some of the most cherished memories for parents are the “firsts.” A child’s first steps, first time tying their shoes, first time riding a bike or first time jumping off the diving board. These milestones can be captured in a photo or marked on a calendar. However, some milestones, like when a child learns how to read, are less easy to distill into a single moment. Thinking back on our own lives, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when those squiggly lines and shapes begin to have meaning. Learning to read is a gradual process that requires time and effort from parents, siblings, grandparents and caregivers.
A great way to make the process fun and memorable is to participate in 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten at Menomonee Falls Public Library. This free program encourages parents to read 1,000 books with their children as a way to develop early literacy reading skills before entering kindergarten. These skills include letter knowledge, phonological awareness, narrative skills and vocabulary-building.
It’s easy – and free – to participate. Visit the Children’s Desk to register and receive a reading packet and log to keep track of your child’s progress. Then, you can start reading and recording! Does your child have a favorite book they like to hear again and again? Repetition builds early literacy skills and it’s okay to record the same book more than once! Books read to children at storytime, at daycare, or by others also count. Return to the Library after completing 100, 300 and 600 books to earn prizes. After finishing 1,000 books, children receive a hardcover book and a certificate, and get an awesome jumpstart on success in school. They also can have their picture taken as a way to capture this important “first” milestone.
The program is also an opportunity to tell and talk about stories together, say nursery rhymes, sing songs, and attend Library programs. By reading just three stories a day, parents and children can reach the 1,000 book goal in one year – as well as share many special moments along the way.
While reading a book for the first time may not make as big of a “splash” as jumping off the diving board for the first time or be as exciting as a first birthday, each story you share together adds up to make a big positive difference in a child’s life.
The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program is sponsored by the Menomonee Falls Library Friends.