1000 Books Before Kindergarten

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is a program that encourages reading aloud to young children beginning at birth. The tracking program Beanstack, available through the library website (also available as an app) offers an online framework that allows books to be counted and milestones to be marked with digital badges as well as stickers and other tokens picked up at the library.


One thousand sounds like a lot of books, but is only one book a day for less than three years or 3 or 4 books a day for one year! Reading aloud to children creates bonding, memory-making, and a love of reading. Many skills needed for entering kindergarten are learned through simply listening to stories. Document your little one’s reading journey with the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.


1,000 Books Before Kindergarten resources:

Downloadable Program Instructions

Downloadable 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading log  cover page   log page

Downloadable Early Literacy calendars from Demco



Why is reading aloud so important? Brain research tells us:

(Excerpt from The Importance of Reading to Your Children; California Children’s Bureau) Reading to young children is proven to improve cognitive skills and help along the process of cognitive development. Cognitive development is the emergence of the ability to think and understand; it’s “the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood.” It refers to how a person perceives and thinks about his or her world through areas such as information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, attention span, and memory.

When you begin reading aloud to your child, it essentially provides them with background knowledge on their young world, which helps them make sense of what they see, hear, and read. In fact, according to NAEYC (National Association of Educators of Young Children), “It is the talk that surrounds the reading that gives it power, helping children to bridge what is in the story and their own lives,” rather than just the vocalization of the words. Introducing reading into your young child’s life, and the conversations that it will prompt, helps them to make sense of their own lives, especially at a young age.

Consider this result of reading aloud:

“A child care provider reads to a toddler. And in a matter of seconds, thousands of cells in these children’s growing brains respond. Some brain cells are ‘turned on,’ triggered by this particular experience. Many existing connections among brain cells are strengthened. At the same time, new brain cells are formed, adding a bit more definition and complexity to the intricate circuitry that will remain largely in place for the rest of these children’s lives.”

Therefore, the more adults read aloud to their children, the larger their vocabularies will grow and the more they will know and understand about the world and their place in it, assisting their cognitive development and perception.

Learn more about early literacy here.





Firsties is a reading initiative for first graders at the public elementary schools in the Hamilton School District. This special program is built for budding readers and their families to help foster a love for reading and make the public library a destination for regular family visits. Firsties consists of fun monthly videos viewed at school (in library class, homeroom, or both!) that provide fun knowledge about our public library children’s department and invite the kids to visit the library with their families. Each video reveals a secret code word that earns a small prize for visiting the library that month. A friendly competition between elementary schools determines which school accumulates the most library visits!

All information about Firsties is available on your child’s school library website:

Maple Avenue Elementary

Marcy Elementary

Lannon Elementary

Woodside Elementary

If you have a Firstie in your family and have further questions, contact the Pauline Haass Public Library Youth Services desk at (262)246-5182.

You can also view our monthly videos and learn the secret code word of the month here!


The Firsties initiative has been funded by The Friends of the Pauline Haass Public Library. Thank you, Friends!

Friends of the Pauline Haass Library Logo