Library offers national pre-K literacy program

Kamaria Kabir reads to her daughter at Lee Road Library. Photo courtesy Heights Libraries.

Heights parents and caregivers can now visit a branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library and join “1000 Books before Kindergarten,” a national literacy movement.

“1000 Books before Kindergarten is a fun new program that encourages caretakers and parents to read 1,000 books with, or to, their child before that child starts kindergarten,” said Maggie Kinney, youth services librarian who is among those spearheading the program at Heights Libraries. “The program comes from a national nonprofit of the same name that promotes literacy in early childhood and gives program guidance to teachers and librarians to use in their community.”

Some parents may be daunted by the large number of books in the program’s title, but Kinney explained that it’s not nearly as intimidating as it sounds. 

“One thousand books does sound like a huge goal, but if you read one book a night to your one-year-old child, you’ll reach 365 books in a year,” said Kinney. “So, by age 2 you’ve already hit well over 600, and by age 4 you’re over 1,200. And if your child loves Green Eggs and Ham, and they want to read it 50 times, you can count that book 50 times. It’s not 1,000 separate books. It’s how many times you read.”

“We end up reading Pat the Bunny at least five times in a row in my house,” she added, laughing.

According to Kinney, reading with children from the time they’re born creates a positive experience around books and reading. If a child is having fun and feels loved while being read to, that experience creates a lifetime love of books and reading. It also expands vocabulary, imagination and other early literacy skills that help children learn once they start kindergarten.

Kinney and other youth services staff have made the program simple and fun, and parents and caregivers can enroll a child at any time and at any age before that child starts kindergarten.

Staff will provide parents with activity sheets to track a child’s reading progress and, for each 100 books, kids will get a sticker to put on a big caterpillar mural at each branch. “We’ll also have prizes and activities along the way,” said Kinney.

The program offers a free user-friendly app for iPhone or Android devices, to help parents track their books. Users can find it in the app store by searching for “1000 Books before Kindergarten.” 

For more information, visit or stop in at the Coventry Village, Lee Road or Noble Neighborhood libraries.

Sheryl Banks

Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 10:39 AM, 01.03.2017