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Caldwell kids reach 1,000-book goal

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

Hannah and Hunter Caldwell, ages 5 and 3, haven’t started kindergarten yet, but they’ve already read 1,000 books with the help of their parents, Chad and Kimberly Caldwell.

The Caldwell kids are the first children to complete “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten,” a library program launched at Pulaski Library in September. The self-paced program is aimed at encouraging child and parent bonding through reading and also serves to kick-start the child’s education.

“Studies have shown that reading has been associated as an early indicator of academic success. Since most formal education doesn’t begin until around age 5, parents and caregivers should consider themselves their child’s first teachers. So, reading to your child is an easy way to kick-start their education,” said Jena Coalson, the library system’s youth services director.

The program was launched at the Pulaski branch, but is now offered at Free Memorial Library in Dublin, as well. Since it’s a self-paced program that could take months or years to complete, Coalson said participants can sign up at either branch anytime.

According to Coalson, participants color in bubbles on a sheet of paper for each book read. They do not have to keep track of the titles of the books read and, since children often have favorite books, the same book can be read and counted multiple times.

For every 100 books read, the child receives a sticker and can choose a prize from the library’s treasure chest. At 1,000 books, they receive a book.

Coalson stressed there is no cost to participate since those who don’t have books at home can check out books from the library. “I guarantee we have more than 1,000 to choose from!” she added.

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