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New 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program promotes early literacy at home

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Jessica Zubik for the information in this story.)

The Chelsea District Library (CDL) has introduced a new program encouraging parents of very young children to establish the practice of reading aloud at home.

Called 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, the program title describes its main goal: read one thousand books to your child before they enter kindergarten. The program is open to any child from birth through pre-K and parents can sign their children up and log books at

Participants will receive rewards for their reading: at the 100 book mark, earn a 1,000 Books bag (to carry all those library books back and forth!) and a button; at 500, earn a brand new book and another button; and upon completion of reading 1,000 books, earn another book, button, and a special certificate. Parents will receive monthly emails featuring early literacy activities, book lists, and read aloud tips from the CDL youth librarians. And yes—repeat reads count toward that goal of 1,000 books.

Research supports that reading aloud to children is an important part of developing early literacy skills and building the foundational blocks for independent reading and writing. Not to mention, it’s valuable parent-child bonding time, too.

Does the idea of 1000 books seem daunting? Use your library. Whether it is the newest Mo Willems early reader, or a beloved old board book, the CDL collection offers something for everyone. CDL youth librarians are happy to make recommendations during this time when the shelves are not open to browsing. 

“This program is fun, easy, and invaluable to its young participants. Reading aloud to your child is one of the best ways to grow a reader,” says Jessica Zubik, youth librarian at CDL in a press release. “While we can’t have our early childhood programs like Babytime and Toddlertime in-person right now, we can still promote the importance of the skills developed in those programs through 1,000 Books.”

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is a national nonprofit that encourages local libraries to start up their own version of the program. To find out more information about CDL’s program, sign up, and start logging books, visit or contact a librarian at (734) 475-8732, ext. 219 or [email protected].


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