Red Deer program encourages parents to read to kids

1000 Books Before Kindergarten through Red Deer Public Library

There’s two more pint-sized graduates of 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program in Red Deer.

Staff at the Dawe branch tweeted a photo of two young children in paper graduation caps holding their You Did It certificates on Monday.

Deb Isbister, youth services co-ordinator with Red Deer Public Library, said the newest graduates are among 75 youngsters whose parents have read them 1,000 books.

“There’s lots that are getting close too,” Isbister said on Tuesday.

Since 2015, about 850 children have been signed up for the free library program.

Isbister said the goal is to get parents to read to their babies, toddlers and children before they enter kindergarten.

“In a lot of cases we find that parents don’t realize how often they are already reading to their kids, but the goal is to encourage all of them to read as often as they can.

“One thousand sounds like a huge number, but once they get going and they start to realize how often they’re doing it, it inspires them to do more.”

Parents are asked to keep a record of books read, including any read to the child by a teacher or sibling. A reading log app for iphone and Android is available to keep track. Repeating books is allowed.

Isbister said reading online books is also allowed which are available through the library, but a parent reading from the pages of a physical book in their lap has more benefits.

Children receive a free book when parents register at any Red Deer library branch and when they graduate the program. Red Deer Public Library cards are also free.

“They can start at any age up to kindergarten. A lot of people don’t realize that. They don’t have to be little infants to take part.”

For older kids, the program goal can be adjusted, Isbister said.

1000 Books Before Kindergarten is a North American program operated by 1000 Books Foundation at

“This is a very popular program at many other libraries so we joined in and secured the funding to provide the books. It’s a big, big movement that we are a part of,” said Dawe branch manager Tatiana Tilly.

“I know for sure those kindergarten teachers who get those kids who have already been through so much reading, they are really lucky because those kids are well prepared.”

She said the mother of the youngsters who graduated the program on Monday still reads to them.

“Sometimes she would read two, three books every night and they really loved it and they were super excited to get their certificates. We have quite a few of those dedicated families who come to the library and get lots of books.”

Anyone who wants to provide funding to support the program can contact Red Deer Public Library.

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