New Reading Program

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New reading 

program becoming popular at library

By Ted Pennekamp


The Prairie du Chien Public Library is offering a relatively new family reading project for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

The “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program is being provided as part of a grant through the Southwest Wisconsin Library System and Prairie du Chien is one of several libraries participating. 

“This is a different type of reading program,” said Prairie du Chien Library Director Nancy Ashmore. “It’s an ongoing program that can be completed at any time. We keep track of everything and give out the incentives, so it’s very easy for the parents.” 

Parents can sign up for the program at the library at any time and all books read to the child count, including books read by parents, caregivers, grandparents, or at preschool. “Everything counts,” said Ashmore. “So, 1,000 books may go by quicker than you might think.”

Ashmore noted that the library keeps a log sheet of all the books read as well as reading lists and other information about reading to your child.

“Reading to children from birth on is so important,” Ashmore said. “Reading to your child helps develop language skills, listening skills and helps prepare them for school.” 

Ashmore said that progress is tracked with reading cards, which are turned in after every 100 books read. After the first 100 books, the parents get a book bag and a growth chart for their child. Another incentive (not yet determined) is given after 500 books. After 1,000 books, the library will give a book for the child.

There is also a colored chart at the library for parents and children to look at which helps to chart progress. Book marks and posters are displayed in the window as well.

“If you read one picture book a day to a child, 1,000 books takes less than three years,” said Ashmore, who noted that 50 children are currently signed up. She said that 11 children have had their first 100 books read to them.

Reading for 15 minutes a day will help parents reach their goal of 1,000 books.

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