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‘1000 Books Before Kindergarten’ helps kids prepare for school

A study by the Illinois Department of Education shows that only 26 percent of children in the state are prepared for Kindergarten but one local program is getting kids excited about learning to prepare them

On Friday, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten kicked off at the Normal Public Library. Reading 1000 books may seem like a tall order for a kid but if their parents join in on the fun it can make them enjoy reading.

The study showed that 39% of Illinois children require additional support in math, social and emotional development as well as language and literacy.

“The idea is that parents will bond with their child and they’ll be reading together to increase language vocabulary and just kindergarten readiness in general,” Normal Public Library Librarian Randi Sutter said.

Children’s author and musician Jim Gill helped the program start by holding a concert for children and their parents to show that learning is a family effort.

“It’s about how do we engage a parent or grandparent or a care provider in reading with them because a little two-year-old doesn’t pick up a book and read on their own very often,” he said.

Their goal is to raise the number of children who are ready to go to school.

“It’s also a great way to get the grown-ups playing with them and sort of a very natural way. If you think about it if they’re clapping like that, if they’re singing like that and dancing together it’s also the same interactions you do when you put a little one in your lap and read with them,” Gill said.

Registration for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten is now open and participants do not need to live in Normal to join. For more information on the program and how you can join

Stephanie Rodriguez

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