1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

“The more books a child has read, the more words a child has heard, the better off they will be once they start school.” —Early Literacy Librarian Shelley Harris

Mom and baby reading a book
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

The goal of the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program is for children to read 1,000 books with their families before starting kindergarten. Reading so many books gives children “a strong foundation for learning how to read, for learning how to learn,” says Early Literacy Librarian Shelley Harris.

While the goal may sound overwhelming, Harris says, “If you read one book a night, you’ll finish in less than three years.”

For every 100 books read, kids earn one sticker to take home and another one to add to a collage at the library, creating a visual measure of the community’s progress. An Oak Park Public Library card is not needed to sign up.

Once a child finishes 1,000 books, they can pick out a book to take home and keep, have their photo taken, and attend a graduation party at the library. “It’s our way to celebrate their accomplishments and cheer them on,” Harris says.

Sign up babies, toddlers & preschoolers for the long-term program anytime

You can now sign up and track your reading from wherever you are with Beanstack!

Beanstack is an easy-to-use online platform where you can track your reading and activities. Download the Beanstack Tracker app—available for iOS and Android—to your mobile device for convenient registration and logging.

Beanstack features include:

  • Barcode scanner: Scan barcodes to quickly add titles to your log.
  • Reading session timer: Record reading sessions to keep track of what you’re reading.
  • Reading stats: View totals and averages of your time spent reading and titles read.
  • Family accounts: Manage each member of your family’s reading log and view their stats.

Read books, get prizes

When families reach the milestones of reading 300, 700, and 1,000 books together, they earn prizes! Our prize fairies will be mailing prizes to help keep everyone safe until the library enters Service Level Four. Be sure to watch your email inbox later this fall for information on how to set up prize delivery!

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