While Summer Reading is our flagship children’s literacy program at the Madison County Public Library, we now offer multiple year-round opportunities to inspire a love of reading and learning, especially in our preschool-aged patrons.
Kindergarten readiness is a primary focus of these programs. While there is no absolute definition of kindergarten readiness and every child has unique skills and abilities, Kentucky measures readiness through a variety of metrics. Children who are ready for kindergarten demonstrate general knowledge and curiosity of the world around them, have experiences in hands-on learning, as well as possess effective social, emotional, and interpersonal skills.
Funded through our partnership with the Madison County Early Childhood Council, the Madison County Public Library is hosting a monthly program focused on several readiness metrics. Get Ready for Kindergarten, offered every Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the library’s Richmond location, features simple, hands-on activities to help prepare children for kindergarten. The program closely follows the Kentucky Early Childhood Standards to teach practical skills like using tools, recognizing patterns, and effective problem-solving.
Get Ready for Kindergarten also provides an opportunity for children to engage with different learning stations and manipulatives. Each month, families can take home one manipulative, with the goal of having a complete Kindergarten Readiness kit by the end of the year. According to Ashley Householder, Youth Programming Coordinator and facilitator of Get Ready for Kindergarten, the goal of the program is to help every child feel confident as they enter kindergarten.
Another part of kindergarten readiness is being routinely exposed to the printed word. Reading to and with a child encourages the development of pre-reading skills such as expanding vocabulary, building knowledge, and understanding phonics. Early literacy is one of the best indicators of future academic success.
For many years, the library has offered a 100 Books Before Kindergarten reading list. In March, we expanded by partnering with the national 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program. A self-guided, ongoing early literacy program for children under 5, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten provides a fun way for parents and caregivers to track how much they read to their children.
The library’s Youth Services Department has compiled a list of favorite and classic titles that can serve as a great foundation for the 1000 books goal. While this may seem like a daunting task, it’s actually quite achievable; parents and caregivers who read just one book a night will have read over 1000 books to their children by the time they are 3 years old. Any book counts - it doesn’t have to be 1000 unique titles - and rereading a child’s favorite counts just as much. Books read at the library’s story time and toddler time programs count as well. Every book makes a difference, and every book counts!
Anyone wishing to participate in 1000 Books Before Kindergarten should pick up a welcome packet at our Berea or Richmond locations. The welcome packet includes a reading list, visual book tracker, and also a wooden chip for every 100 books read. Each time this milestone is reached, families can bring the chip to the library to be displayed on our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten wall.
For more information about these and other children’s literacy programs, please contact David Payne, Youth Services Manager, at (859) 986-7112.
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