MASON COUNTY — The Mason County Library System will be joining libraries across the country in offering a new program to preschool children.
“1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” is being offered at the Point Pleasant, Mason and New Haven libraries. It is aimed at developing skills that help prepare children for learning to read and entering school.
The idea of the program is for parents or others to read 1,000 books to their preschool child prior to the child entering kindergarten. Pam Thompson, Mason County Library Director, said the fete can be achieved in approximately one year if three books are read daily, or about three years with just one book being read each day.
Children who are signed up will receive incentives along the way, Thompson said. For every 25 books read, the child will be able to choose a small toy or treat. To celebrate each 100 books read, the child will be given a larger toy, and upon reading 1,000 books, each participant will receive a board game. Graduation parties will also be held twice during the year.
The larger prizes for the program are being supplied by the Cabell County Library System, which received a $35,000 grant to purchase the supplies. Thompson said the Cabell library has already sent one shipment of prizes, with another expected soon, and a third to be delivered in January. The 100-book prizes include board books, puzzles, dry erase boards and many other age-appropriate gifts.
Parents can keep track of the books read to their children in one of two ways. The library will provide a paper reading record, or parents can download the smartphone app and simply scan the book’s barcode. Thompson stated the same book can be read and counted multiple times, and books read by others, such as at story hour, can also be counted.
Once the program is up and running for individual children, Thompson said library employees will be contacting preschool classes and daycare facilities in the county to see if they would like to participate. Prizes will then be awarded to the classrooms or centers upon reaching each level.
Big, colorful “Walls of Fame” have been placed at each county library so children can see their progress throughout the year.
The “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program is available to all families with children between birth and five years of age. Registration is free and now open. For more information, phone the library at one of the following numbers: Point Pleasant, 304-675-0894; Mason, 304-773-5580; or New Haven, 304-882-3252.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley publishing, email her at email@example.com.