1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
On behalf of the 1,000 Books Foundation, we invite you to participate in the FREE program, which encourages you to read 1,000 books with your child before they start kindergarten.
Check out 1000BooksBeforeKindergarten.org to learn more about this program’s mission.
The concept is simple. The rewards? Priceless!
Read a book, any book ( yes, you can repeat books), to your newborn, infant, or toddler.
To read 1,000 books together before your little one starts kindergarten.
Does this seem difficult or impossible to achieve?
It’s not really if you think about it. If you read only one book a night, you will have read 365 in one year. That’s 730 books in two years and 1,095 in three. Most children start kindergarten at the age of five, so you have more time than you think.
The key is perseverance. Make it exciting! For every 100 books you read and log, please bring your child to the library to pick up their brag tag for that level and their next reading log.
Once you reach 1,000 books, bring them in to get their Certificate of Achievement and take their picture. We will then add their photo to our Bragging Wall.
How to Participate
- Read with your child. Studies have shown that reading with your child provides an excellent opportunity for bonding. Reading together is fun and will create life-long memories.
- Mark off or color one star for each book read on your reading log.
- Make it fun by keeping track of your child’s favorite titles at the bottom of the log sheet. Or keep track of each title in a journal and give it to them as a keepsake for when they are older.
- Also, where it is possible, keep track of any book that is read to your child, including those read at storytime, preschool, by caregivers, or other family members.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Reading Logs
Click on the images to download a PDF version of the Reading Logs.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Suggested Reading Lists
Click on the PDF Pages to download a PDF version of the suggested reading lists.
Suggested Reading List: ABCs
Suggested Reading List: Animals
Suggested Reading List: Colors
Suggested Reading List: Counting
Suggested Reading List: Dinosaurs
Suggested Reading List: Fairy Tales
Suggested Reading List: Favorite Titles
Suggested Reading List: Shapes
Suggested Reading List: Vehicles
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I sign up my child, who is 3-4 years old?
Yes! All children can be signed up who are not yet enrolled in Kindergarten. Remember, if you read three (3) books every night, that is 1,095 books in one year! Very doable!
Do we have to read books from the library?
No, they can be books from anywhere at any time – your home, grandma’s, preschool, or other libraries.
What should I read?
You can read any book; if you are having difficulty finding the right book come into any of our libraries and chat with our friendly staff, as they can point you in the right direction.
Can I count my child’s favorite book more than once?
Yes, you can enter the title more than once and are eligible to enter it every time you read it.
Should I count the books that are read at storytime?
Of course! Ask one of the librarians to write down the titles of the books read during storytime, and you can add them to your reading log.
My child “reads” books to himself. Should I count these?
While it’s a great start, if your child is only mimicking or pretending to read, you shouldn’t count these books. But congratulate yourself for influencing an enthusiastic early reader.
How long do I have to read 1,000 books?
There is no official end date. You have as long as you need to read. So don’t rush; take your time and enjoy reading with your child(ren).
Can I count books others read to my child, such as grandparents, caregivers, older siblings, etc.?
Yes! Every book read by everyone counts. They can write it on paper or give you a tally of every book they read with your child. Remind them that rereading counts, too!
Do I have to log the titles of books?
No, that is an option only if you would like to do so. You can log up to 100 books at a time.
Do audiobooks count, or books read on a device?
Yes! If the entire book is read, it counts. Check out Storyline Online, as they offer great picture books to enjoy with your child.
Do they have to be from the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading lists?
No, those are only suggestions. You are welcome to read any books that you and your child choose. You can also ask your librarian for additional recommendations.
What Should I Look For When Choosing Books?
Infants 0-12 Months
- Books with simple, large pictures or designs with bright colors. Images should be of familiar objects or other babies
- Small, stiff cardboard (board books) made specifically for small hands
- Washable cloth books to cuddle and mouth
- Vinyl or plastic books to use during bath time
Books for Young Toddlers (12-24 Months)
- Sturdy books that they can carry and handle
- Books with children doing familiar tasks (i.e., sleeping, eating, playing, etc.)
- Books with only a few words on the pages
- Simple rhyming
- Predictable text
Books for Toddlers (2-3 Years)
- Books that tell simple stories
- Books with rhymes and rhythms they can learn by heart
- Food, animals, vehicles, bedtime, and princesses are favorite subjects
- Books about saying hello and goodbye (great for separation anxiety)
Books for Ages 3-6
- Books that tell stories
- Books about kids who live and look like them
- Stories about children who are different from them (i.e., appearance, country, etc.)
- Books about counting, ABCs, shapes, and sizes
- Books about making friends and going to school
Tips for Reading with Your Child(ren)
Find a quiet spot that is comfortable and allows you to sit together
- Turn the TV, cell phone, music, and all distractions off
- Read the book to yourself first so that you know what is going to happen and you can pace your voice to the action in the story
- Talk about one or two of the pictures in the book
- When reading a male or female voice, match the character
- Slow down or speed up your voice depending on the different tempos of the story; make the story come alive
Early Literacy Moments Printable