JAY — The Jay-Niles Memorial Library, located at 983 Main Street, is challenging local parents with pre-kindergarten children to read as much as they can with their child, with the goal of reaching 1,000 books read before they enter kindergarten.

Jay-Niles Memorial Library is challenging parents to read 1,000 books to their pre-kindergarten children before they head off to kindergarten. This wall display seen on Thursday, March 25, tracks the progress of each child, and for every 100 books they read, their star moves up. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

Partnering with the 1000 Books Foundation, Jay-Niles is hoping the program will increase the amount of exposure children have to books before they enter kindergarten, but also allow parents to have more opportunities to bond with their child.

“Numerous studies estimate that as many as one in five children have difficulties learning to read,” it states on the foundation’s website. “Reading has been associated as an early indicator of academic success. Public formal education does not typically start until ages five-six. Before then, parents and caregivers are the first education providers during [those] early critical years.”

The concept of the program is very simple. From the time a parent and their child/children enter the program to when they begin kindergarten, they are encouraged to read any kind of book, read as much as they like, and keep a record of the books read for the library to track.

The children’s section of the library features a wall display that tracks the progress of every child currently enrolled in the program with their name on a star. For every hundred books a child completes, their star moves up on the wall and gets a little bit closer to the end goal of 1,000 books.

“Moving their stars up whenever they read 100 [books] is really exciting for these kids,” Children’s Librarian Lindsey Hopkins shared with the Livermore Falls Advertiser.


According to Hopkins, she estimates 25 kids were in the program, but it has been steadily growing since they started it in the fall of last year.

Hopkins, who has been with the library for the past three years, shared that community outreach and keeping libraries relevant has been a big focus for her since she joined.

“I think it’s just so much more than just books,” Hopkins said. “I really wanted a program that would empower caregivers to really just praise their [children]. Every little bit counts, and every 100 books that a child reads is a celebration in itself.”

The program allows parents to read books with their children at their own pace, and they can read it as many times as they want with each individual reading of the book counting towards the goal of 1,000 books.

“The great part about the program is, you know, anyone who has kids knows they like to hear the same book over and over,” Hopkins said. “So, they can read the same book 10 or 20 times, and that counts.”

When children finish the program, Hopkins shared the parents will get a keepsake to remember the experience in the form of a binder that includes all the reading logs and a certificate of completion. She often tells parents who enroll in the program she wishes her children were young enough for her to participate.

“The feedback has been really great from the parents,” Hopkins said, stating the parents she has spoken with have shared their enjoyment of the time spent with their children and the feeling of accomplishment for both the child and them.

Hopkins shared that exposure and developing an early interest in reading are the key factors to the program.

“A lot of kids that young age can’t really read independently all that much,” she said, “but just the fact they’re turning the pages, being book familiar and knowing how to hold a book and those kind of early pre-literacy skills are as important as reading.”

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