NEW LEXINGTON — You do not need to go outside to have an adventure; all you need is just a really neat book. For two local children, they recently celebrated a milestone in their lives as they just completed 1,000 books before entering kindergarten.
Four-year-old Nora and one-year-old Asher Kay were highlighted on the Perry County District Library’s Facebook page at the beginning of June for their completion of the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.
“The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program is an early literacy initiative that encourages the sharing of books and stories from the time a child is born through the earliest stages of learning,” Perry County District Library Director Melissa Marolt told The Perry County Tribune. “The simple and enjoyable act of sharing books helps children learn pre-reading skills such as understanding the sounds letters make, developing a bigger vocabulary, and building background knowledge — all important skills that help prepare children for learning to read and entering kindergarten.”
The Perry County District Library’s youth reading program is a fun and exciting way to introduce a child to the wonderful world of reading for those just starting, according to the library’s director. Any child, from birth to five years old, can participate in the youth program while also earning rewards to boot.
For every 100 books read, youth participate and receive small rewards that come from reading milestones. Goal reaching rewards can include bubbles, stickers, a book tote and other types of items.
After a child completes the 1,000 book library challenge, they, along with their family, come together for a small graduation ceremony. The child also gets a personalized graduation cap, a certificate highlighting the achievement and the ultimate prize; another book to read.
Normal scheduling allows for graduation ceremonies to be held at least twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter seasons. According to Director Marolt, this year the library is offering graduation-to-go bags if families desire to hold their own private ceremony.
While the challenge of reading 1,000 books can be seen to some as strenuous, Marolt stated that children can meet goals in less than three years.
“If you read three books a night, you could reach your goal in just one year,” Marolt explained. “Children can choose the books there are not specific requirements.”
The director added that the program is “very open” and encourages family interactions. Additionally, the youth reading program works hand-in-hand with the new Perry County Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library. Children ages zero to five years old can register with no cost to the family. Families can also receive a book each month up to a child’s fifth birthday.
“This will start a child’s book collection at home, while fostering a love of reading,” Marolt stated.
To register for either program, families can visit the Perry County District Libraries website for information or call 740-342-4194.
The county district library was able to start the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program by obtaining grant funding from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. The Perry County Governor’s Imagination Library was funded by a grant from state and local dollars from organizations such as Ludowici Foundation, the Perry County Community Fund of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio along with the United Way.