1,000 books before kindergarten

Preparing Minnesota’s workforce begins before kindergarten starts. Children who are school ready when they start kindergarten are more likely to grow up to be productive in the workplace, a key to economic growth. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s most recent school readiness initiative is 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. This program, in collaboration with 15 area libraries, parents to read aloud at least 1,000 books with their children before they enter kindergarten. Summer is a great time for families to get started! Participating libraries include: Balaton, Canby, Clarkfield, Cottonwood, Dawson, Fulda, Ivanhoe, Granite Falls, Lake Benton, Marshall-Lyon County, Minneota, Slayton, Tracy, Tyler and Westbrook. Enrollment into the program is ongoing and can be done directly at your local library.

Any child from birth until kindergarten can sign up. It will take from a few months to a few years, depending on how many books you read at a time. For example, if you read one bedtime story every night for three years, you will have read 1,095 books; if you read 10 books each week for two years, you will have read 1,040 books; or if you read three books a day in one year, you will have read 1,095 books. Enrolled children receive a canvas library bag with artwork on one side and a list of participating libraries on the other side, a reading folder with a reading log and program information. Children will receive incentive prizes throughout the 1,000 book journey and upon completion of the program a regional graduation party, held twice a year.

Program goals include:

Encourage families to read aloud frequently to children.

Introduce children to a wide range of excellent books to promote pre-literacy so children enter school ready to learn.

Encourage regular library use by families and enhance United Way’s existing mobile learning outreach to daycares, preschools and communities.

Complement United Way of SW MN’s existing programming throughout our service area; such as the Imagination Library, Wild About Kindergarten bags, summer/winter reading programs, parent education, etc.

For more information on 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten or other initiatives and programming supported by the United Way of Southwest Minnesota, give us a call at 507-929-2273 or visit our website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org.