A consortium of eleven Allegan County libraries is partnering with the Allegan County United Way to promote families reading aloud with their young children. United Way has granted $7,000 as five years of support for the project, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.
Families with children ages birth to five will pick up a 1000 Books Before Kindergarten welcome packet at their local library. Inside they will find an attractive tracking sheet for recording the books they read aloud with their child. Families may read library books, books they receive from the Allegan County Imagination Library project, or any other children’s books. When the family has filled a sheet by reading 100 books, the library will provide a bookmark, completion sticker, and the next tracking sheet. When a family has completed 10 sheets or 1000 books, the child will receive a prize and recognition at the library.
The eleven local libraries featuring the project are: Allegan District Library, Charles Ransom District Library (Plainwell), Dorr Township Library, Fennville Public Library, Henika District Library (Wayland), Hopkins Public Library, J.C. Wheeler Public Library (Martin), Leighton Township Library, Otsego District Library, Salem Township Library and Saugatuck-Douglas District Library.
Reading aloud to young children, starting at birth, “is one of the most effective ways to expose them to enriched language and to encourage specific early literacy skills needed to promote school readiness,” according the American Academy of Pediatrics. Libraries around the country use 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten to promote early literacy, which increases the likelihood of school success. Allegan County libraries, with the help of United Way, will now offer 1000 Books Before Kindergarten to all Allegan County families.
The program will start in late summer or early fall. Families should watch for an announcement from their local library.