1000 Books Before Kindergarten

Prepare your child for Kindergarten and beyond!  The Huntsville Public Library is starting a new reading program called 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten!  This program encourages reading with children and children receive a prize for every milestone reached.  Sign-up is required and can be completed on the library’s website.  Ages 0-5. Register here.

1000 Books reader - Isaiah

“1000 Books Before Kindergarten --The concept is simple, the rewards are priceless.”  Read one thousand books to your children before they start kindergarten.  Libraries across America host this program with the hope that involvement will foster a lifelong love of reading and encourage family bonding through reading.  The Huntsville Public Library has participated in the program for roughly one year with over thirty children involved in it.  “We had our first child complete the program last month and it was so exciting,” says Children’s Coordinator Rachel McPhail.

Four year old Isaiah is the very excited pre-kindergartner to first complete the program.  Rachel McPhail asked his mother Esha to talk about their experience with the 1000 Books program. “We were really excited to start this program. It gave us a target, a goal to achieve. I explained to Isaiah that we are going to read 1000 books together and keep a log of them all… Once we started, we couldn’t stop. We had so [many] laughs reading books together. I will cherish these memories as Isaiah’s mom,” she says.

One thousand books may seem like a lot, so for parents wondering how to incorporate that volume of reading into a busy daily routine, Esha says to not focus on the large number.  “We figured that if we read 20 books per week, we can finish in one year.  We finished it in less than 6 months actually—so much sooner than we targeted,” she explains. 

McPhail breaks down the thousand books further: reading three books a day for a year exceeds the goal. “Instead of thinking one thousand, focus on the fun you can have.  Try to make it a game!  Share books you enjoyed as a child or pick books on different topics.  The good news is that the Huntsville Public Library doesn’t require that you read a thousand different books. It can be the same book as often as your child wants,” says McPhail.   

Isaiah definitely discovered a few favorites during the program experience.  “His favorite book of all time from the 1000 books was Hooray Hooray for Bread. It is written by an English author and the illustrations are so whimsical! It is definitely a must read. Also, bread is one of Isaiah’s favorite food so that surely played a role!” says Esha, “We kept a log of books that he loved (some because of its story and some because of the colorful illustrations), and we ended up with about 60 books in his “fav books” list.

As for Isaiah, he is very proud of his accomplishment.  “And now that we are so used to reading many books, we have continued [with it]. So reading [has] become part of our daily routine.  Huntsville Public Library has some great children’s books and we were happy to find some amazing reads along the path to 1000 Books Before Kindergarten!” says Esha.

Here are some of Isaiah’s other favorites read during the program and a short reason why he liked them.. 

  • The House in the Middle of the Town (great message)
  • 20 Trucks in the Middle of the Street (amazing artwork)
  • The Curious Garden (breathtaking illustrations)
  • Parable Treasury by Liz Higgs: “Miss Fanny’s Hat,” “The Empty Pot,” “Weslandia” (great life lessons)
  • As an Oak Tree Grows (history)
  • Grandpa’s Soup (heartwarming)
  • Grandpa’s Tractor (about family and heritage)
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas (awesome pictures)
  • Late for School, Farmer Cap, Amelia Bedelia Bakes off, Press Here (funny!)
  • Somebody’s New Pajamas (economic issues)
  • A Balloon for Isabel, Nurse Clementine,  Fish in His Pocket, Worm Gets a Job, When Marcus Moore Moved in, Mystery       Wine, To the Beach (good reads)
  • Books by Tim Egan (all of them are great reads, pick any and you won’t go wrong!)

1000 Books reader - LucienneAnother Young Reader

Congratulations to Another four-year-old Young Reader Lucienne on completing the One Thousand Books Before Kindergarten program at the library. Lucienne is a regular at the library and we enjoy her enthusiasm for reading.

Libraries across America have been incorporating this program to encourage a love of reading in young children. One Thousand Books Before Kindergarten is an early literacy initiative that encourages parents and caregivers to incorporate reading into children’s daily routines. The goal of the program is simple: read one thousand books before the child starts kindergarten. 

Lucienne completed this program during the month of May. Her favorite book that she read with her family during the program was Eloise, but she has also enjoyed reading all the Pinkalicious and Disney Princess stories she could find. At the start of the program, Lucienne was excited to track her reading progress at home since it’s something her older brothers do for their schoolwork. 

When she completed the program, Lucienne felt proud. Her mother made sure to show Lucienne her progress on the bulletin board in the Children’s room of the library which has stars with each participant’s name written on them. As each child reaches a milestone (100, 200, 300, etc.), his or her name progresses across the board. Lucienne’s mother explained that the stars were a simple way for Lucienne to see her progress as the numbers were a bit too abstract for her age. Lucienne and her mother enjoyed reading the email with the news that she had completed the program. She was also excited to come to the library to pick up her prizes for completing the program.

Lucienne’s mother explained that she knew that the goal of one thousand books would take some time to accomplish but reading is something that her family enjoys doing and they were confident they would finish before Lucienne starts kindergarten. “Reading has always been an important part of my life and it was important for us to pass on the love of books to our kids. We read at home with our kids all the time. It has been a pleasure to watch Lucienne feel passionate about reading too and we look forward to the day when she is able to pick up books on her own. However, even as she gets older, I hope we always make time to sit down and read together,” she explained.

Congratulations to Sebastian and Jessica!

1000 Books reader - Sebastian

Sebastian and his mom, Jessica, are regular visitors at the Huntsville Public Library.  They started the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge in January 2017. The library is pleased to announce that Sebastian and Jessica just completed the program in April.  The goal of this program is to encourage parents and caregivers to make a habit of reading to their children.  At the age of 3, Sebastian is the youngest community member to have completed the program so far. 

Here’s what Sebastian (in his own words, with help from Jessica) said.

Q. What are your favorite books?

A. Curious George!

Q. How did you like coming to the library to find books?

A. I go to the library and get books. I like it. It’s good. 

Q. You’ve read 1000 books. Was that hard?

A. Nah.

Q. Now that you’ve read 1000 books, what should you and Mom do?

A. Let’s buy a cake!

Q. Jessica, did you find yourself incorporating more reading time into your daily activities as a result of starting the program?

A. We were always going to read a lot with him, but I think having the challenge in mind helped me search out new books for us and find creative ways to make reading fun for him. We’ve had book picnics, set up reading forts, and invited imaginary friends to read with us.

Q. Jessica, is there anything else you would like to say about your experience with the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program?

A. More than the program itself, the trips to the library to participate in storytime and get new books is one of the best activities in his baby/toddler life. The library is where he’s met all his best friends, both real and imaginary. I am eternally grateful as a mom that the library offers such great programs and resources and is so warm and open to its youngest patrons. 


1000 Books reader - Juniper

Hooray for Juniper! 

The Huntsville Public Library is pleased to congratulate Juniper for completing the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program at the library. Juniper started the program in April 2018 and completed the program in late August 2019. Her favorite books to read feature Peppa Pig and Curious George. According to her parents, Juniper loves to read at least three books at bedtime. Her parents felt that the goal of 1000 books seemed manageable given their daughter’s routine. 

Juniper, who is three and a half years old, attends storytime at the library with her parents regularly. Her parents found that participating in the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program motivated them to visit the library more often.

Since Huntsville Public Library implemented the program, Juniper is the fourth child to complete the program. It’s easy to join the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program at the library.  Interested parents can register their child at myhuntsvillelibrary.com and log every ten books they read with their child. 

1000 Books reader - Mary Elise

Congrats, Reader!

Mary Elise is another young reader to have finished the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten literacy initiative at the Huntsville Public Library with the help of her family. Three-year-old Mary Elise especially loved reading Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious Books for the program. Her mother Amanda added that Mary Elise was so fond of the family’s copy of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” that the binding fell apart, though the book had also been previously lovingly used by Mary Elise’s siblings. Mary Elise was so sad by the book’s falling apart that Amanda bought a new copy of it for her. 

Amanda logged Mary Elise’s first book for this program in August 2019 and set a goal to finish in one year. The family had enjoyed participating in the library’s Summer Reading Program over the previous summer, and Amanda felt that she could keep the reading momentum going with her children. Once Mary Elise saw her name on the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten bulletin board in the library, she felt special and enjoyed looking at her name on the board and tracking her progress every time she came to the library.

The goal of this literacy initiative is to help parents and caregivers form the habit of daily or weekly reading with their young children. As part of her experience with this program, Amanda realized that initially she had read to her older kids faithfully at bedtime to the point that she had likely read 1000 books to them. As her older children started to grow up and read on their own, Amanda found the habit of reading together faded through busy schedules and a rough pregnancy.

Amanda found out about the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program at the Huntsville Public Library and read the stories on the library’s website about other children who had finished the program. Inspired by the stories and wanting to rekindle the habit of reading with her children, Amanda started the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program with Mary Elise. After finishing the program, she estimated that they read on average 50 books per week.     

Mary Elise was very excited to find out that she and Amanda had finished the program. For Amanda, the program was not as hard as she thought it would be, especially once she developed a routine of taking pictures of the books as soon as she finished them. Then she would log the books on the library’s website when she had the time. Amanda stated, “I didn’t really have to go out of my way or think about it much at all. I’ve loved the opportunity it’s given me to spend more time with my younger kids, and I’m looking forward to doing it with my youngest daughter now.”

Hooray for another family of readers!

1000 Books reader - Luke

“It Took a Lot of Days” 

Let’s take a minute to celebrate another enthusiastic reader. Five year old Luke and his family are regular attendees at library events such as Story Time. I am very excited to announce that Luke has completed the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten literacy initiative at the Huntsville Public Library. 

His dad learned about the program a few years ago and decided the family was up for the challenge. By coming to the library, Luke saw the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten bulletin board in the Children’s Room and was excited to join the program. 

After completing the program, Luke’s parents felt that the number 1000 barely scratched the surface. 1000 books was a lot for his parents to record but ultimately, they felt that Luke read way more than that. Through completing the program, Luke’s parents noted they paid more attention to his reading than they probably would have otherwise as the program gave them a specific goal. 

Luke felt “it took a lot of days” to reach 1000 books. “I’m so happy I got to 1000. I was amazed,” he told his parents. 

Over the course of the program, Luke fell in love with Dav Pilkey’s Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series. Luke’s mom estimated that when the family stayed home during March and April, the family read all nine books every day for several days. Luke also enjoyed reading the Bad Guy Books by Aaron Blabey. In his earlier days of participating in the library’s program, Luke also enjoyed reading Pete the Cat books. 

The most exciting part of the program for Luke was seeing his name on the Bulletin board in the Children’s Room, because Luke could look for his name each week and even point out his progress to his friends. Luke’s family also expressed how much they enjoy attending Story Time because these events introduced the family to good literature and taught Luke the habit of going to the library every week. The family also appreciated my children’s book recommendations. 

It is truly a pleasure to see children who regularly attend library programs develop their own love of reading and find authors and series they enjoy over and over again. Congratulations, Luke!