Community Reads a Million Books Before Kindergarten

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Library System’s Most Popular Program Exceeds Goals.

By Prince William County

The Prince William Public Library System is celebrating a milestone of a million books read before kindergarten. This is part of the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, which encourages parents and their children to read 1,000 books before the children enter school. The program was first introduced in 2015 and even though the program has reached its goal since then, it continues to be the library system’s most popular program.

While hundreds of other youngsters from the greater Prince William area have participated in the program Mabel and Conor, a pair of pre-school siblings who regularly visit the Haymarket Gainesville Community Library, recently turned in their reading logs to put the library system over its million-book goal. Mabel and Conor were recognized with a prize package after enjoying Story Time at the library.

Children and parents who participate in the program can read any book they want to, and all reading can be tallied. All of the library branches have story times, and books read at a story time session count toward the 1,000-book goal, according to Rachel Johnson, the library system’s communications services division chief. “Books read at home, in library story time, or even at daycare count. We just want to introduce kids to the exciting world of reading.” 

Research shows that reading aloud to children is the single most important thing to do to help them prepare for reading and learning before they start school, Johnson said. “Children who are read to frequently are more likely to recognize all letters of the alphabet, count to 20 or higher, and can write their own names.”

The library system partnered with the Prince William Public Library System Foundation, which raised funding to get the program started in 2015 and has continued the funding every year since.

“1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is the most meaningful and relevant annual reading program offered to our patrons,” said Bryanna Altman, the foundation’s president. “For young children to have reached one million books read in just over three years speaks volumes to the excellent job done by our library staff in promoting this program. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers rave about the program and its effectiveness in introducing reading and books to children from birth to kindergarten.”

To learn more about 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, visit www.pwcgov.org/library where there is more information about all of the programs offered by the county’s libraries. 

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