Read one book a night to a newborn, infant or toddler. Within 3 years, that’s over 1000 books! That’s the simple idea behind the 1000 books before Kindergarten program -– a little at a time adds up to a lot.
“Reading opens up so much knowledge and curiosity and excitement about the world around us,” says Dr. Stephanie Chan, OD, mother of Lily and Micah Chan.
Lilyana (Lily) Chan was the first child in Globe to post 1000 books. She began the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program just over a year ago, at 4 years old. Her younger brother Micah surpassed the 900 mark in January. He’s only 2.
“They both love reading,” says Stephanie. “The program was motivational to me.”
Hosted by the Globe Public Library and funded by the Friends of the Globe Public Library the program encourages parents and guardians to keep a record of any book that is read to their child. Some use a free app called READsquared. It’s okay to read the same book many times, which most kids love.
“Read, read,” says Micah, bringing a book to his mother.
He likes The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Where’s Spot? Almost any book with a flap to lift up. Lily likes the Berenstain Bears, Splat the Cat. She recently tried a chapter book.
“We read to them both as babies,” says Stephanie. “We always read before napping and bedtime. Sometimes Grandma reads over Facetime.”
Experts agree that reading to children should begin as young as possible.
“0-5 is the most crucial time in your child’s life,” says Sylvia Ducharme, a Quality First preschool and daycare provider. “Their little brain is going to learn more than any other time in their life. Google it.”
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“The staff here is wonderful,” says Stephanie Chan. “When I was teaching, they were super helpful.”
Stephanie and her husband Kenneth Chan moved to Globe 8 years ago. She works part-time as an optometrist at Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center in Globe. Before Micah was born she taught at the Schoolhouse Cooperative in Ice House canyon.
The Chan family comes to the library often. They take advantage of “Grab and Go” kits and attend Storytime with Robin on Mondays at 10:30 am.
“Research has shown that children who are read to regularly in preschool become better readers,” says Robin Wurst, a retired preschool education specialist and library volunteer, “and being good readers is critical to learning in all areas.”
Sylvia Ducharme emphasizes the importance of social skills as essential readiness for Kindergarten. In all areas, she says, parent involvement is key.
“It’s great that parents are helping kids be literate,” she says. “They also need to learn self-help and socialization for all-around success in school.”
Lily Chan is in her third year at Sylvia Ducharme’s preschool. She is starting to read on her own. She can count to 100. And while putting together a puzzle with her peers at Sylvia Ducharme’s preschool, she is learning that a heart is more than a shape. It’s a muscle.
“If you instill the love of learning in them now, it will last,” says Sylvia Ducharme. “Early readers, early learners will always be readers and learners.”
A traveler, Patti Daley came to Globe in 2016 to face the heat, follow love, and find desert treasure. She writes in many formats and records travel scraps and other musings at daleywriting.com.