Books, prizes, and quality time unite in the North Mankato Taylor Library’s new program, “1,000 Books before Kindergarten.” Starting September 1 and continuing indefinitely, the Library will offer guidance and incentives to parents who commit to reading 1,000 books aloud to their child before he or she begins grade school. This program is part of a nation-wide initiative hosted by the 1,000 Books Foundation.
“I had a sweet little patron come in and ask about the program,” said children’s librarian Michelle Zimmermann. “Her family just moved to the area, and she had been doing the program at her old library.”
Interested families can stop in at the North Mankato Taylor Library to pick up a beginning reading log. Once they have read 100 books together, they bring the log back to the library, add a fish cutout to the program’s designated “Wall of Fame,” and take away another log to continue reading. At the halfway mark, kids receive a prize. After completing 1,000 books, they receive a Barnes and Noble gift card.
“There is no right way or wrong way to do this program,” Zimmermann said. “Some may finish in a few months; others may take five years to complete. It is all about instilling a love of reading in your children.”
There is no right way or wrong way to do this program. Some may finish in a few months; others may take five years to complete. It is all about instilling a love of reading in your children.Michelle Zimmermann
Families don’t need to worry about finding 1,000 books that their kids love to hear. Each read counts as one book, no matter how many times it is repeated. For parents who are unused to or unsure about reading aloud, Zimmerman has some tips.
“If you notice that you are losing your child’s attention, just stop reading for a while,” she recommended. “Let them play, or do something else. They may want to come back to the book later, or they may just be done for the day. There is nothing wrong with that. Don’t force your child to listen to a book. This may cause them to dislike reading in the end.”
Most importantly, the experience should be enjoyable for everyone.
“Always have fun!” Zimmermann said. “When your child sees you enjoying yourself, that is going to rub off on them. They will pick up on subtle hints that you don’t even know you are giving off. Also, they do not care if you can’t read very well. They will love the time you are taking to spend with them.”