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1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Why read 1,000 books before kindergarten?
"Numerous studies over the years have demonstrated the connection between reading and early stimulation for brain development, the acquisition of key literacy and language skills, as well as a child’s increased proclivity for future academic success. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to read aloud to children daily. The goal of the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge is to help guide parents and children on their paths toward developing and sustaining a healthy, daily dose of reading aloud age-appropriate literature."   

Besides, reading together is fun, and will create lifelong memories for everyone involved.

Here’s how it works:
An introduction to the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program:

  • Read any book to your newborn, infant or toddler. The goal is to have 1,000 books read before the child begins formal schooling.
  • Keep track of the titles of the books you read together. Make a record in a spiral notebook or on our convenient reading log sheets (available to pick up in the library or print on the library’s website). The journal itself will make a wonderful keepsake for your child. If you are able, keep a record of any book being read to your child, including at daycare/preschool, books read with family members and books read at library Storytime.
  • For every 100-book milestone you reach, bring your completed log to the library for verification, get a small prize and have the child’s photo taken. Photos will be displayed on the library’s 1,000 Books Wall of Fame and on the library’s social media pages.hen you reach 1,000 books, your child will receive a T-shirt and a library certificate.


Print your own logs here:img-Dewdney quote
Log for Books    #1 - 100 Log for Books #501 - 600
Log for Books #101 - 200 Log for Books #601 - 700
Log for Books #201 - 300 Log for Books #701 - 800
Log for Books #401 - 500 Log for Books #901 - 1000
Logs for Books #1 - 1000 (all 10 logs together)

Frequently asked questions:
Who can participate?
    Any child from birth until he or she enters kindergarten or the equivalent home-schooling level. More than one child can participate in each family, so if you read one book to two children, it counts for each of them.

How often do we have to read to make our goal?
    Each situation is unique, but if you read just one book a night, you will have read 365 books in one year. That’s 730 books in two years, and 1,095 books in three years. If most children start kindergarten at around 5 years of age, you have more time than you think! The key is perseverance.

If we start later than birth, can we go backward and write down books we’ve already read?
    The goal of the program is to encourage and reward reading. If you can recall specific titles you have read before and want to write them down, by all means, count them.

Can we repeat titles?
    Yes. Every time you share a book, it counts. Even if you read it every night. Over and over.

Who can read with my child?
    Anyone can read with your child. Count books read with siblings, grandparents or other family members, caregivers, teachers, librarians and friends. The objective is to discover the joys of reading and develop it as a daily habit. The rewards will be many and lifelong.

More resources:
1000 Books Foundation -  Includes book lists and convenient recording apps for your iPhone, Android device and iTunes.

This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.