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Library

Posted on: January 3, 2023

Milestone Programs

Library Director Message

We all know the importance of reading, but it’s tough to make time for it, especially in today’s world of 10,000 distractions. Just like setting a workout plan with milestones and goals that hold you accountable to exercise, a structured reading plan can do the same thing. We’ve seen how successful the summer library program has been for decades. And more recently, other programs have been created outside of and that can overlap with the summer library program.  If you want your child to flex their reading muscles more often, but don’t know where to begin, perhaps one of our year-round reading programs -- 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, 500 Books Before Middle School or 100 Books Before Graduation --  is the structure you/they need to get those reading muscles worked out. 

Research has shown that children exposed to 1,000 books before kindergarten are more likely to be ready to learn to read and develop an affinity for reading by the end of kindergarten. The Library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program helps parents structure and award those accomplishments. It’s never too early to start this program. While some kids even learn to fully read through this program, that wonderful outcome isn’t the main goal. The main goal is to have kids exposed to books, language, and the act of reading so that they are reading ready and come equipped to engage at school. The added bonus of this program is that it’s a wonderful opportunity for parents and caregivers to bond with a child by reading to them. Not only does the child develop reading readiness skills, but they also develop social-emotional connections.  

Once in grade school, the next milestone is Middle School. The Library’s 500 Books Before Middle School is a way to continue advancing reading enjoyment and skills over the K-5th grades.  

It sounds like a lot of books, but by breaking down each program, to what would be needed weekly, it’s not so bad. The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program averages to reading 3-4 picture books or easy readers per week. Bedtime story alone could potentially double that if it’s a new book each night. And the 500 Books Before Middle School averages 1-2 books per week. Much like the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, the books in the early grades of grade school are quite short, 32 – 64 pages mostly. So, in the first couple years, massive amounts of books can be read weekly to allow more time as they get older to read through bigger 5th grade level (or higher) books that may require more time. 

Lastly, the Library offers the 100 Books Before Graduation program. Whether a student is looking for their next step to be college or not, reading 100 books before you graduate will help put you on a better path in adulthood. Reading not only builds the cognitive skills that are so essential in the workplace and as citizens to think through problems and find solutions, but reading also builds social-emotional skills, even as teenagers and adults. Studies have shown that reading, especially reading fiction, builds empathy because we are forced to mentally put ourselves in the shoes of other characters.  

Each program is independent of the other, so any child can start at any time in any of these programs once they are in the programs target age/grade range.  

If you want your child to flex their reading muscles more often, but don’t know where to begin, perhaps one of these programs is the structure you/they need to get those reading muscles worked out. If you are interested in learning more about these programs, stop by a Library branch or go to www.sanleandrolibrary.org 

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