1000 Books Before Kindergarten - 6 Month Update

So how goes this initiative after the first 6 months?

We are happy to have over 400 kids in the program; with just a touch under 50% working actively and returning to the library to trade in their 100 book-level sheets. We have twelve kids who have reached 1000 books and as you can see from the picture, our garden is starting to fill up with color as kids add dots as they finish levels (The 100-400 levels are on the bottom and getting the most color so far!)

We have had over 1,100 visits to the library by participating families during the six months of the program. Our circulation of Picture books, Board books and Easy Readers has gone through the ceiling with an average increase of 20% over last year (usual increases hover at 2-5%).

Parents have been enthusiastic participants and the kids are pretty avid as well. As usual with preschoolers, the congratulatory stickers and  stickers to put on the giant flowers are the big hits for them. The fingerpuppet and book at the 500 and 1000 levels don't quite compare to those sticker treats along the way. Parents do appreciate their little "thank you" rewards (lanyard, window cling and date-due slip magnetic holder) as they go along. But I think even without those parental rewards, they would be on board!

Publicizing the program is ongoing. We talk it up at storytimes. We have sent info to kids in area daycares.  Our schools have been enthusiastic supporters of this effort and we hope to keep reaching out and growing the program as we go along. We were invited to many of the schools during Kindergarten orientation and talked about the initiative and encouraged parents to read alot before the kids start school in fall. We are connecting with the Reach Out and Read program at the health clinics and providing posters and bookmarks for parents at "Well Baby" check-ups. We present at service clubs and organizations in our area.

How is it for staff?  One of our staffers keeps her eye on supplies. We planned for 1000 participants so all that material is ready when we need it.  Otherwise, it consumes very little of our time and the reward for a "passive" program and quality time encouraging kids and parents on their great job is worth every minute spent at "check-in" when they trade in their sheet. Everyone loves the extra time and interaction with the kids and parents and watching them beam as we praise them.

We think we are off to a great start...and more importantly, so are the kids!!

To find samples of our materials, check out our Winding Rivers Library System Youth website and scroll down towards the bottom of the page!

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