1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

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1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Read it and Reap!!

The Salem-South Lyon District Library offers a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. The goal is to encourage all families to read at least 1,000 books with their young children before they enter Kindergarten. Reading to children builds vocabulary, language skills, and helps prepare them with the skills they need for Kindergarten.  In as little as 15 minutes a day, families can build the skills for future school and life success.

Click here to download an informational handout.

By reading 1,000 books, your child will learn the Five Early Literacy Skills they need before they can learn to read:

1. Phonological Awareness: The ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words.

  • This helps with sounding out words.

2. Vocabulary:  Knowing the meanings of words: things, feelings, concepts, and ideas.

  • This helps children decode words and to understand what they will read.

3. Print Convention: (also Print Awareness) Knowing how to handle a book. In English we read from left to right and top to bottom of a page. Print is all around us. 

  • This helps children feel comfortable with books so that when they learn to read, they can concentrate on reading itself.

4. Background Knowledge:  Prior knowledge or things the child has learned. There are four areas of background knowledge: General Knowledge, Conceptual Thinking, Content Knowledge, and Book/Story Knowledge. 

  • This helps children understand what they will read.

5. Letter Knowledge:  Knowing that letters are different from each other; knowing that the same letter can look different; knowing letters have names and represent sounds.

  • This helps children as they decode words when they are learning to read.

5 Easy Steps for Participation:

  1. Sign up at the Salem-South Lyon District Library to receive a log to track your first 100 books, and a free Library tote bag to take your books home in.
  2. Record each book that you share together on the log.  The logs will make a great keepsake for your child! Repetition is great for learning, so feel free to record the same titles again and again.
  3. When you complete the log, bring it to the Library for a small prize and receive the next set of log sheets.
  4. Keep repeating this process: picking up book logs and turning them in for prizes.
  5. When you reach 1,000 books, your child will receive a certificate and ribbon acknowledging their GREAT achievement! Their photo will be taken and added to the Library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten photo album. Also, they will be able to select a new picture book to add to the Library’s collection. The book will include a bookplate with the child’s name on it and they will be the first one to check out their honor book.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is this really possible?

  • If you read one bedtime story every night for three years, you will have read 1,095 books. 
  • If you read three stories a day, you will have read over 1,000 books in one year.
  • If your child is entering Kindergarten soon, you may need to read 6 or more books a day to finish by the first day of school. However, the gain of skills is so important that you won’t want to miss the program. You may surprise yourself with how quickly it goes.

Do stories read at Storytime count?

If I read a book more than once to my child, can I count each reading?

What if I have more than one child?
If you read to them both at the same time, they both count the book that has been read.

What about an audiobook, an ebook, or apps with books?
If your child listens to or reads an entire story, you can count it!

What if my child “reads” books to him/herself?
If your child is pretending to read, please don’t count it.  If your child has memorized a book you read together frequently or actually reads it, then you can go ahead and count it.

What if my older child reads to my younger child?
Count any books that are read to your child, as long as they hear the entire story.

How can I keep track of all the books my child reads? 
There are a number of different ways to track the books. We can provide you with paper logs for every 100 books. Other choices include the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten app which you can find in the Apple store (there is not an Android app available) or Goodreads


The program has no end date except your child going into Kindergarten, so don’t feel rushed—just enjoy the experience! 


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Generously sponsored by the Friends of the Salem-South Lyon District Library.




Try TumbleBook Library

TumbleBook Library can be a great compliment to the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program. Choose from over 1,000 book titles to read electronically with your child.

TumbleBook Library is an online collection of animated, talking picture books which teach young children the joys of reading in a format they'll love! The collection has nearly 1,000 titles, with content most appropriate for children in grades K-6. TumbleBook Library is a free resource that can be accessed from every computer in the Library, or from your home computer or mobile device. Click here to get started with TumbleBook Library today!

The collection includes:Tumblebook logo

  • Animated talking picture books
  • Chapter books
  • Videos
  • Non-fiction titles
  • Graphic novels
  • Math stories
  • Books in languages other than English, such as French and Spanish