Kasson-Mantorville Community Ed encourages reading through “1000 Books before Kindergarten” program
In 2014 after receiving a early childhood grant a Kasson-Mantorville Community Ed Committee came up with an idea to collaborate with the Kasson Public Library to start a national program called “1000 Books before Kindergarten” in the community.
Ever since then it has been a success.
Since the beginning of the program in the Kasson-Mantorville community over 142 children and their parents have participated.
The goal of the program is to encourage children and their parents to read 1000 books before they enter Kindergarten as it is proven to help with their reading skills and development.
As a way to encourage children to read as many books as possible there are prizes for every hundred books that a child reads.
When a child reaches five hundred books they receive a bigger prize which usually includes a t-shirt and when they reach the milestone of one-thousand books the child and their parent(s) are invited to the next school board meeting where they are presented with a certificate, a free book and a Komet Koin.
Encouraging children to read in a fun way is also apart of the mission of the national program according to their website.
“We provide an innovative, yet fun approach to establishing strong early literacy skills. Parents and caregivers keep track of the books that they read to their children. Parents and caregivers can use log sheets, journals, or even our iPhone and Android App to track their reading. We help parents and caregivers give their young children the confidence necessary to become strong readers and successful in school and life.”
Jenny Carrier, who is the Community Ed Director said that one of her favorite parts of the program is being able to see the growth of the young readers and also seeing them being recognized for their accomplishments.
“ Being able to recognize the children and parents for their impressive accomplishments is important, and seeing their faces during board meetings is priceless.”
Pat Shaffer-Gottschalk one of the librarians at the Kasson Library said that being able to collaborate with the school district is extremely important.
“It's so important for the public library to collaborate with the school system and Community Ed to help create lifelong learners who read to learn, to seek information and for enjoyment. It takes a whole community and we at the library are eager and grateful to take part and support this wonderful effort.”
Like Carrier one of Shaffer-Gottschalk’s favorite parts of the program is being able to see how excited the children are about reading.
“My favorite part is the twinkle and excitement in the eyes and faces of beginning readers when they read their first word, and the process of reading clicks for them. It's like a small miracle each time, and I'm so glad to be a part of it.”
Asides from the program the committee has also come up with other ways over the years to promote reading for children.
Some of these things include library shelves in different businesses around town and book houses outside of different businesses and houses in town.