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Ashley Atkinson
Editor, Branch Out

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

By Amy Darger-Stewart, FCPL Early Literacy Assistant

It is well known that reading to and with young children has a multitude of benefits. Before they even know how to speak, children are making brain connections based on the words spoken to them and the world they live in. Reading books to little ones introduces them to even more words and helps create connections and a well-developed mind.

Other benefits of reading aloud with your children, according to the Children’s Bureau of Southern California, include:

  • Improved language skills
  • Preparation for academic success
  • Developing a special bond with your child
  • Increased concentration and discipline
  • Improved imagination and creativity
  • Cultivating a lifelong love of reading

To help parents and caregivers introduce reading to their children, Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) and several other libraries around the country have implemented the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge. Introduced to FCPL in November 2016, the program is designed to encourage a passion for reading among children and help prepare them for one of life’s big milestones: kindergarten.

Participating is simple. All you have to do is read 1,000 books with or to your child before they begin school. There are small incentives along the way to encourage everyone to keep reading together including stickers, a free book, finger puppets and a tote bag.

Since the beginning of the program, more than 786 rising kindergarteners have completed the challenge and FCPL hopes to add many more children to this group in the years to come. You can now sign up and start logging your books in Beanstack at or visit any FCPL branch to receive printed logs. You can also learn more about the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program by visiting

Milestone Breakdown!

Learn about the different milestones to reach in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge!

  • Read 25 Books: You've officially started the challenge!
  • Read 100 Books: Visit the library to receive your prize – a refrigerator magnet!
  • Read 250 Books: Visit the library to receive your prize – a finger puppet!
  • Read 500 Books: Visit the library to receive your prize – a tote bag!
  • Read 750 Books: Visit the library to receive your prize – Friends of the Library book sale coupons!
  • Read 1,000 Books: You’ve finished the challenge! Visit the library to receive your prizes – a certificate of completion and a free book!
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