1000 Books Before Kindergarten

1000 Books Before Kindergarten logo

1000 Books Before Kindergarten is an initiative to promote early childhood literacy and prepare children for Kindergarten and beyond. The Marshall-Lyon County Library partners with United Way of Southwest Minnesota to provide this program. Participating children receive milestone prizes, and those who complete the program are celebrated at our yearly 1000 Books graduation ceremony.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can sign up for this program?

Any child from birth until kindergarten can sign up. It will take from a few months to a few years to complete, depending on how many books you read at a time.

How can I sign up my child?

Visit the Balaton, Cottonwood, or Marshall library and ask to join the program. In Balaton and Cottonwood, please ask at the main circulation desk. In Marshall, please ask at the desk in the Children’s area.

Why is it important to read to very young children?

Developing literacy skills begins at birth and continues throughout the toddler and preschool years. The best way to ensure a child has the skills necessary to learn to read is having someone read aloud to them.

Can you really expect to read 1000 books to your child before kindergarten?

If you read only one bedtime story every night for three years you will have read 1095! If you read 10 books each week for two years, you will have read 1040. If you read 3 books a day in one year you will have read 1095!

Do we have to read books from our Public Library?

No, you can read books from anywhere–your home, the doctor’s office, preschool, Grandma’s house, other libraries, etc. We have compiled a list of books that every Child Should Read Before Kindergarten. One hundred of your 1000 books will come from this list. They represent both popular and classic titles. You can view or download the list here, and a printed copy will also be included in your sign-up folder.

I read the same story every night to my child. Can I count that book more than once?

Yes, write down the title (or an abbreviation of it) each and every time you read the book.

I have more than one child I read to. Can I count the same title for each child?

Of course you can! And if one of your older children reads to their sibling, you can count that also.

Can I count books that are read at library Story Time?

Yes, just ask the librarian for the titles.

What about the books that my preschooler hears at school from the preschool teachers?

Yes, you can count those.

My older children like to read to their younger siblings. Can I count those books?

Count any books that are read to your child, no matter who reads the books. It can be a brother, sister, grandparent, babysitter, teacher, etc. As long as they hear the entire story, you can count it.

How many times can my child participate in this program?

Only one tote, program prizes and graduation party will be awarded per child, but we hope that this will will be only the first of many 1000 books that your child will read in their lifetime.