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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

City Launches "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge"

Tuesday January 21, 2014

Library, partners launch ambitious new preschool reading initiative

The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge is a new Library program – sponsored by the Library Foundation and the Community Foundation of Louisville – that encourages all families and caregivers to read at least 1,000 books with their young children before they enter kindergarten.

Recent findings of Kentucky’s first Kindergarten Readiness Assessment found that just 35 percent of Jefferson County Public Schools’ incoming kindergartners were prepared for school, with the basic skills needed to learn. LFPL’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program aims to help change that!

“Parents are a child’s first and best teacher,” said Library Director Craig Buthod. “The Library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge helps parents build the skills for their child’s school and life success.”

“It is absolutely essential, on many levels, that we prepare our children to learn and succeed from day one,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “And the critical importance of early childhood awareness, preparation and learning becomes clearer every day. So I urge the entire community to get behind this fun and important learning initiative.”

Studies have shown that families who start reading aloud to their children at birth help build language skills, cultivate an extensive vocabulary, and improve attention spans and listening skills – important tools for beginning to learn to read in kindergarten. By reading together, families build a habit and love of reading that creates cherished memories for the whole family and gets young readers started on the road to a lifetime of learning success.

Participation is easy and FREE!

Reading 1,000 books before kindergarten is as easy as 1, 2, 3. The average children’s picture book takes just 5 minutes to read. If you read 3 books a day - just 15 minutes - for 1 year, you and your child will have read 1,095 books.

Getting Started – Pick up a 1000 Books Before Kindergarten reading log at any Louisville Free Public Library location, fill out the registration card, and start reading. Reading logs include a list of recommended books and information on early literacy and free children’s programs and resources available at the Library.

Track Your Reading – Each time you read a book with your child, record it in your reading log. Remember, if you read the same book over and over again, it counts each time. Stories read to a child at daycare or preschool, at the Library’s Storytimes, or at grandma’s house count too!

Show Us Your Reading Logs – Each time you and your child reach a milestone, bring in your reading log and receive a special prize. Read 1,000 books before kindergarten and your child will receive a free book of their very own. Plus, every 1,000 book reader will be entered for a chance to win one of three $500 Barnes & Noble gift cards.

Special Kickoff Event!

Help us kick off this exciting new program with a special family event at the Main Library featuring Harold and the Purple Crayon! Imaginations will run wild from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, January 25 with books, art activities, and games inspired by Harold and his crayon, including a special performance by StageOne Family Theatre.

The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge and the kickoff event are free. For more information, call 574-1620 or visit