Read 1,000 stories before Kindergarten

Saying “It’s never too early to give your child a head start on reading,” the Fraser Valley Regional Library is launching ...

Saying “It’s never too early to give your child a head start on reading,” the Fraser Valley Regional Library is launching an innovative early literacy program for preschoolers this fall.

The program, “1000 Stories Before Kindergarten,” is self-paced and will help parents teach their children early literacy skills in the first years of life.

The program will encourage families to read 1,000 books with their preschooler before they enter Kindergarten.

The library system will provide each child with a free reading log to track stories read. Registration is under way at all 25 FVRL locations, including Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

The 1,000 Stories program is inspired by similar ones that have achieved success in other North American libraries. They all stress the value of building literacy skills at young ages.

Both the Canadian Paediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise parents to read aloud to babies. Activities like reading, talking and singing encourage brain development and provide positive, nurturing experiences between parent and child, says the society.

“Children’s librarians and teachers know how important it is to read to kids from a very young age. It can have a huge impact on their future success at school,” said FVRL librarian Frances Thomson.

“Once they reach Kindergarten, these kids will have bigger vocabularies, longer attention spans and a greater awareness of the world around them.”

While the idea of reading 1,000 stories may seem daunting at first, the program makes reading fun and easy for parents and children. The illustrated log book lets parents track their progress and offers many helpful tips on how to read, write, talk, sing and play with their child.

Parents can log stories read at home, preschool, daycare or library storytimes – they all count. If a child enjoys hearing the same story over and over again, each telling of the story counts, as well. A sticker is awarded to the child every time 50 stories are logged.

The program is self-paced. It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to complete, depending on how often parent and child read together.