Your Child Can Read 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Have you heard about the 1,000 Books Foundation? I love this idea–read 1,000 books to your preschooler, before the little one starts kindergarten.

It’s okay to count books that you re-read. That’s great, because kids–like adults–grow attached to books and want to re-read familiar ones over and over.

I learned about the 1,000 Books Foundation after reading about the four-year-old phenomenon, who has already read more than 1,000 books. Little Daliyah Arana of Gainesville, Georgia, got to shadow the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, at the world’s largest library, which she has declared her favorite.

At only four years of age, Daliyah reads on an advanced level, not only the books of her older siblings, but also some college-level texts her parents have introduced to her.


Take the Challenge


The goal of reading 1,000 books before kindergarten may sound overwhelming, but if you read one book a night every night, that’s 365 books in a year. It would take less than three years to meet the goal, and if you start at your child’s birth, you’ll have plenty of time!

Although Daliyah is a precocious reader, don’t make learning to read a goal for your child. Some children may learn to read on their own by the exposure; others won’t, and that’s okay.

The real goal is simply exposing your child to lots of words, cultivating a positive relationship to books, and equipping them with the knowledge that we can learn about things and be entertained by reading.


Great Books for Little Ones


The 1,000 Books Foundation includes a list of books that children should have read to them before heading off to school. I scanned the list for some of my children’s favorites:

  1. The Story of Ferdinand is an enchanting story about a bull that would rather smell flowers than fight a matador.
  2. Stellaluna is about a bat who is raised by a bird. My daughter loved this book.
  3. Happy Birthday, Moon is a wonderful, simple story about kindness and giving.
  4. Goodnight Moon is a classic, and everyone’s favorite bedtime story.
  5. Madeline is excellent. I recommend reading the whole series.
  6. The Story of Babar is another great series to read that is clever and hilarious.

Augment the list with your own favorites. If you need more ideas, ask your local librarian.


Check out the 1,000 Books website here.