1000 Books Before Kindergarten

navy background with stars and planets. Text: 1000 Books Before Kindergarten

1000 Books Before Kindergarten is a free literacy program for newborns, babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. The goal? Read 1000 books with your little one before they start Kindergarten. Take BPL's 1000 Books pledge—we'll cheer you on along the way. 

Track your progress by picking up a FREE 1000 Books chart in our branches, or use the stay-at-home version that you can print and colour yourself. Remember, you can repeat books as many times as you want, and virtual storytimes and audiobooks count, too. When you've finished 1000 books, come visit us to receive a certificate of completion.

Because your child’s learning starts at birth! Did you know:

  • The brain develops most rapidly during the first 1000 days of a child’s life.
  • Early experiences and interactions are key factors in a child’s brain development. According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, “early exposure to language—whether through books, words, or songs—can help prevent problems and promote health." (Canadian Paediatric Society, 2016)
  • A child’s ability to learn language skills is greatest before the age of 6.
  • Early literacy skills have a lifelong impact on educational, social, and occupational successes.
  • Being read to during early childhood is a predictor of school readiness & success.

Research shows shared reading is the single most important activity you can do with your child(ren) to help them get ready to read. This program is an intentional way to make shared reading a positive habit.

(1000 Books Foundation, 2017) 
(Ghoting, S. & Martin-Diaz, P., 2013)

Three easy steps:

1. Pick up a 1000 Books Before Kindergarten tracker 

Visit any of our seven branches to pick up your 1000 Books Before Kindergarten tracker, or print one at home. All children in your family from birth to just before Kindergarten can get a tracker.

2. Read and track (& repeat) 

Every time you read a book with your child, colour in a star on your tracker. Repeat, repeat, repeat (until you’ve reached 1000 books)! Our printable trackers have 100 stars per sheet, so you will need to complete ten of these. You can read one book or multiple books each day—it’s up to you.

  • Three books a day for 1 year = 1095 books
  • One book a day for 3 years = 1095 books

These librarian-approved tips for reading at home will help you make storytime special.

3. Celebrate! 

Once you’ve reached 1000 books, celebrate that achievement! Visit your local branch and show them your completed tracker. They will give you a special certificate to celebrate your achievement!

Q: How do I sign up? 
Drop by any BPL branch to pick up the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten tracker. You and your child can start participating as soon as they are born until they enter Kindergarten. Tip: Display your tracker somewhere everyone in your family can see it. Once you have your tracker, choose a few books and start reading them with your child.

Q: Do we have to keep track of the titles of each book we read? 
You can keep a list of the titles and authors of the books you read if you want, but it is not required.

Q: Can we count books that we have read more than once? 
Yes, absolutely. If you have read Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown five times, count that as five books.

Q: Is there a required reading list? 
Your child and you choose which books to read… any book in any language counts. If you’re looking for suggestions, ask staff for recommendations next time you’re at the library and explore curated Staff Lists.

Q: What if my child is already in school? 
This program is designed specifically for children who are not yet in school. While your school-aged child is not eligible for the tracker, you can absolutely set a goal with them to read 1000 books (or more).

Q: Can we count books that have been read to my child by someone else (for example, a librarian, babysitter, sibling, etc.)? 
Any book that has been read to your child counts!

Q: Is 1000 Books Before Kindergarten compatible with the library’s Summer Reading Club? 
The time you spend reading books for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten also counts towards your Summer Reading Club goal.

Q: My child likes to move and won’t sit for an entire story. Does it still count? 
Yes! Children need to move and explore the world around them—it’s how they learn. Young children have varying attention spans, and sometimes certain books just don’t capture their attention. You can keep reading while they move or simply count it as read even if you have not finished the entire book. Tip: Try reading interactive books or books that require the reader to participate.

Q: What else can I do (at the library) to help my child get ready for reading? 
In addition to reading books daily with your child, you can: