The Cullman County Public Library System kicked off its second year of "1,000 Books by Kindergarten" by honoring children who read - or had read to them - at least 1,000 books.
Rehana Sutton, 6, daughter of Dr. Suhana Chikatla and Royce Sutton, and Clara Hullett, 2, daughter of Rachel Hullett, received gift packs sponsored by Dollar General for their reading in the "1,000 Books by Kindergarten" program last year.
Children's librarian Jamielle Dimbo said she knew the program would be a great thing to do even before she began organizing it. "It's a wonderful time to spend with your children, bonding and getting close to them," she said.
The program offers educational benefits as well. "Research shows that children who read at least 1,000 books before kindergarten do so much better educationally and socially," she said. Books, she added, are a way to introduce children to other countries, people and cultures.
To participate in the reading program parents can stop by the Cullman library to pick up instructions and materials. Children receive a book that includes a log for them to keep track of books they've read. Parents reading books to their children count as well, even a favorite book read multiple times.
For every 100 books read, the child receives a small incentive to keep going, and will be featured on the Wall of Star Readers at the library. In May, the children who reach the 1,000 book milestone will be honored with a certificate, book and graduation hat to mark their achievement.
While story time for children is currently on hold at the library, Clara and Rehana got to have their own story time with Dimbo Tuesday morning, as she read to them from the book "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten."
"Have you read a book about pirates yet?" she paused to ask her listeners. "That's the good thing about books, there's always another one you can read."
Editor Amy Henderson can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext 216.