“1,000 Books Before Kindergarten,” a program of the nonprofit 1,000 Books Foundation, was presented to young children and their parents at the Rappahannock Community College-Richmond County Public Library on February 7, in order to encourage the practice of reading to newborns, infants, and toddlers. Twenty families signed up for the program; each of the children received informational handouts, a reading journal, and a pencil. They were then encouraged to choose a book from a selection of easy readers provided by the library. Children who reach such milestones as finishing 100 books will be rewarded with prizes, and will have their photos displayed in the library as well as on the RCPL Facebook page.
Left to right: Ashley Goodwyn, an early childhood special educator with the Northern Neck Regional Special Education Program, listens as April Walker, executive director of the Family Development Center at Walnut Street Day Care, reads “If You Take a Mouse to the Movies” to children attending the presentation. Studies show that families who read aloud to their children starting at birth can strengthen language skills, build vocabulary, and create a lasting bond.
Walker mentioned that sometimes parents ask what they will get out of reading to their children: “Why do it?” Her response is: “How do children spell ‘love’? T-I-M-E.”
College librarian Dan Ream, who also serves as director of the Richmond County Public Library, tells parents, “If you have a favorite book, the library will be glad to get a copy in for you to read to your child.” He suggests further that any extra copies be donated to the library, “so they can be shared.”