TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — The Baltimore County Public Library launched a new reading program on Monday: 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.

The interactive program encourages parents and other caregivers to read to their young children regularly to ensure strong literacy skills as they enter kindergarten.

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The program, which has no minimum age requirement, was established across the country as a way to increase development of literacy skills.

“1,000 Books Before Kindergarten will help build little ones’ pre-reading skills, vocabulary, and love of reading as they prepare for kindergarten,” said Youth and Family Engagement Manager Conni Strittmatter. “Children will learn that reading can be educational, and also fun!”

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Here’s how to participate:

  • Register a child on Beanstack to track reading activity online or through the app, download and print a reading log or pick up a copy at a local branch via curbside service.
  • Start reading books and recording activity. Parents/caregivers can read to a child, attend a story time (they are virtual at this time) or listen to an audiobook. Little ones can also practice their own reading.
  • Begin collecting prizes for hitting milestones. Participants can bring a paper log to the library, or provide a name if they have been recording activity on Beanstack. For every 100 books read, children will receive a special sticker. Children who read 1,000 books will receive a special completion prize.

“When children complete the program and receive their prize, they’ll learn that accomplishments are worth celebrating and commitments are worth sticking to, even when they may take a long time to finish,” Strittmatter added.

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CBS Baltimore Staff