1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

You are your little one’s first teacher. Starting early with literacy — before kindergarten — is key to a child’s success when they begin school. The Melrose Public Library is here to support you and your little ones as you begin your journey toward reading 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten!

Rewards Are Forever

  • Reading aloud builds vocabulary and listening skills, important stepping stones in early literacy
  • Reading aloud surrounds little ones with rich language that develops oral language skills
  • Reading exposes little ones to new experiences and helps them empathize with the world around them
  • Reading with your little one brings you closer together and creates memorable bonding moments.
  • Reading aloud models the importance of reading and shows little ones that reading is fun!

How to Get Started

Come into the Children’s Room at the Melrose Public Library to pick up a book bag with instructions, the first tracking sheet, and book suggestions. Your new book bag makes a great library bag for your little one’s reading journey! Track your reading on the paper sheet or on the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten app.

Every time you and your little one reach a 100 books milestone, come check in with the Children’s Room to get a new tracking sheet and to put your little one’s name up on the wall to celebrate. When you and your little one reach 1,000 books, you’ll get a certificate and a prize.

100 Books Every Child Should Hear Before Kindergarten

Check out these lists of books from Growing Book by Book of excellent board, picture, and chapter books every child should hear as they grow up. A printable version can be found in the links below, and in the 1,000 Books welcome bag.







Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How early can I start this program with my baby?

Birth! It’s never too early to start reading with and talking to your little ones.

Do the books we hear at story time count?

Of course! Every single book your little one hears, no matter who reads it, is an important part of their reading journey.

How can I log books we’ve read?

Every time you and your little one read a book, color in one of the circles on your paper tracking sheet or add the book to your reading list on the app.

I didn’t know about this program and now my little one is in pre-K, can we still start?

Absolutely! You can start any time before kindergarten. Check out the infographic below about how long the program will take depending on about how many books you read a day.

What books can we read?

Any book! The options are endless. We’ve got some suggested reading lists above for kids to read before kindergarten (check out the printable versions here and here – and in your sign up bag!).

I don’t know that many books…

Don’t worry, the librarians will help you find lots of books! Also, you don’t have to read 1,000 different books – you can read books more than once. Reading the same book 100 times counts as 100 books.

It’s More Than Just Reading

Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR), an initiative from the Public Library Association and Association for Library Service to Children, identifies 5 key practices to develop early literacy skills: talk, sing, read, write, and play. Library programs will focus on bringing these key practices to the forefront, as well as demonstrating ways to involve them daily in the lives of little ones. Check out these early literacy tip sheets on each of the 5 key practices from CLEL (Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy), which has wonderful resources for parents and caregivers on early literacy development.