Westerly Sun Column | ‘1,000 Books’ Fosters Early Love of Reading

February 05, 2024

As Children and Youth Services librarians, reading aloud is a big part of what we love to do. Reading aloud to an audience of young, eager listeners makes our day, and we want to share that joy with our community! The Youth Services Department at Westerly Library is thrilled to announce that the library will participate in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge. Designed for children from birth to kindergarten, this multi-year, self-paced program aims to encourage early literacy development by inspiring caregivers to read 1,000 books with their children before they start school.

This program is great for fostering a love of reading in young children and helping them prepare for school by developing the skills they need to succeed. By reading aloud to your child, you can help build their vocabulary, language skills, and cognitive development. According to the Department of Health, baby’s brains get ready to speak long before they actually do. Reading aloud increases the amount and kinds of vocabulary that provide those essential connections that help language develop in children. Plus, a study in the Journal of Pediatrics has indicated that the time spent with young children helps cultivate important emotional bonds that have been shown to improve attention. Even re-reading that favorite Mo Willems or Eric Carle book for the 100th time is helping to create lasting memories and skills; plus, each reading counts towards the 1,000 books!

Participation is easy: register your child at the Children’s Desk and receive a reading log to help track your progress. Each log contains 100 books. Once a log is completed, it can be brought back to the library to exchange for a free book! We have many great book suggestions and tips on reading aloud, including a free booklet from author Tish Rabe to get you started! Join us for our kickoff on World Read Aloud Day, Wednesday, February 7th, during our regular Wednesday 10 a.m. Storytime. Then, be sure to join us each Wednesday and our monthly Saturday Storytimes to hear more great stories because they also count towards 1,000 books.

Please reach out to Children’s Librarian Mel Fricchione, or Head of Youth Services Rebecca Graebner with any questions at 401.597.2877 x316. We look forward to celebrating these reading milestones with you and your reader!

By Mel Fricchione and Rebecca Graebner

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