(Posted on behalf of Alex) As a Youth Services Librarian, I often hear from parents who worry whether they are doing enough to help prepare their child for kindergarten. As a parent myself, I understand this worry. As a librarian, however, I can confidently say, “As long as you’re reading to your little one every day, you are doing enough.” Decades of literacy research has shown that reading to your child from infancy, every day, sets them up to be lifelong learners and, statistically, they do better in school and in life.
At Vaughan Public Libraries we want to ensure that you and your family start off on the right foot, and that is why we partnered with the 1000 Books Foundation to offer the program 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. We want to encourage you to read lots and lots of books with your little one – at least 1000! This may sound like a lot, but it really isn’t. If you read only one book a night to your newborn, infant, toddler, or preschooler, you will have read 365 books in one year, 730 books in two years, and 1095 books in three years! If you consider that most children start kindergarten at around age 4, you and your child will have had more than enough time to complete this fun and exciting challenge.
So now you’re probably wondering, “What books should I read to my child for this program?” I want to make this very clear: there is no wrong book to read to your child. They are all good, but the very best book is the one they choose for themself. If they bring a book to you and you’ve already read that book fifty times that week, read it again, because every time you read the book, your child will get something new out of it. Repetition is necessary and good.
However, I am a Youth Services Librarian, so naturally, I will always have a few recommendations to share with you.
One of the first books I received when I was pregnant with my first child was from a fellow librarian who knew that the baby book, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, should be on every new parent’s reading list. This sweet rhyming book features babies of diverse backgrounds and highlights, of course, their adorable baby fingers and baby toes.
At around 18 months, toddlers begin to notice colour differences (although they might not be able to verbally tell you the colour till much later). This is a great time to introduce books that talk about colours. Dog’s Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting, by Emma Dodd makes learning about colours fun, as poor Dog seems always to be underfoot when someone makes a mess. By the end of the day, he has 10 colourful spots!
The Word Collector, by Peter H. Reynolds, is a great read for preschoolers whose language skills are exploding and who are discovering their voice. In this extraordinary book, Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him and their impact when he shares them with the world. Plus, it’s a great book to introduce more complex multisyllable words to your preschooler that you may not ordinarily use in everyday conversation.
If you’re looking for more book recommendations, you can always check out our digital book recommendation list or contact us by phone, social media, or email. We’d be happy to help you find loads of choices for you and your little one to read on your journey to 1000 books. Vaughan Public Libraries will help to make the journey even more exciting by providing a Reading Log where you can track your reading travels – and when you reach a milestone (100, 200, etc.), let us know, so we can give your little one a small reward.
As poet and author Emilie Buchwald wrote, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents,” so snuggle up with them and enjoy the adventure you are about to embark on together. The memories made will be well worth the journey, and the benefits will last a lifetime.