1,000 Books Before Kindergarten!

Here is our May update for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten!

Remember, if you have not yet registered, there are two ways to participate in 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten:

  • You can visit a Library location to receive a paper log. Staff will take your information and provide you with a booklet to keep track of all the books your child reads. 
  • Or sign up on Beanstack to track books online, the Library’s online reading platform. Just create an account and log books as your child completes them. You can even download the Beanstack app to log books by scanning their barcode with your phone!

Literacy at Home

Whether it’s a silly rhyme or a heartfelt ballad, singing is a universal pastime enjoyed by people throughout time and around the world. Singing is also a fantastic way to bond with your little ones and build those early literacy skills. Let’s explore how!

From listening for words that rhyme to using your imagination to make up new verses to familiar tunes, singing is one of the best (and most fun!) ways to work on early reading skills. But don’t just take our word for it: child development experts recommend singing to and with young children, too! Singing is one of the five core principles of early literacy promoted by Every Child Ready to Read, along with reading, writing, talking, and playing. This short article by the National Association for the Education of Young Children highlights ten ways babies learn when we sing to them. Many of these learning benefits extend to toddlers and preschoolers as well.

Here’s just one example of how singing is a great tool for preparing little ones for reading: sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star'' or “Mary Had A Little Lamb” to yourself as if you were singing it with a child. Do you sing through it quickly, or do you take your time and break the words up into syllables? Recognizing syllables is a major component of phonological awareness, and singing rhymes and songs is a fun and natural way to build those skills with your child.

For more tips about how to incorporate singing and music into learning and playtime, see this article by our good friends at Reading Rockets.

Book Recommendations

Here are some books you can check out to get singing with your little one!

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little StarTwinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Jane Cabrera is perfect for a cozy bedtime. Jane has adapted and illustrated lots of other books you can sing along with like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”, and more! 

The Neighborhood Sing-alongThe Neighborhood Sing-along by Nina Crews combines songs to sing and colorful photos of children: two things that will really appeal to babies’ and toddlers’ senses.

Old MacDonald Had A Boat
Old MacDonald Had A Boat by Steve Goetz sees our favorite farmer spend a day not on his farm, but on his boat! Kids who love construction sounds and things that go will love this fun take on “Old MacDonald”.

The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round
The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round by Wendy Wan-Long Shang is another flavorful reimagining of a familiar song: Nai Nai sips hot tea with a “hoo, hoo, hoo” and a multi-generational family enjoys a meal with “yum, yum, yum”s all around!

One Love
One Love by Cedella Marley: Singalong books don’t always have to be nursery rhymes and kid songs. They can be songs you hear on the radio, too! Get together and feel alright with Cedella Marley, Bob Marley’s eldest daughter, and Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s One Love.

What A Wonderful World
What A Wonderful World by Tim Hopgood is another charming book version of a song that grownups can appreciate, too! Share Louis Armstrong’s classic ballad with your little one and celebrate everything in your life that’s wonderful.

Don’t forget, for every 100 books read, stop by your local library location and redeem for a prize book! Check out this list of all of our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten prize books!

For Caregivers

A Modern Parents' Guide to Nursery Rhymes by Jennifer Griffin is the crash course for everyone who wants to give their child the simple pleasures of traditional nursery rhymes but can't remember a single one past the first line. With its hip approach, witty headnotes, smart packaging, and link to an album of downloadable music, A Modern Parents' Guide to Nursery Rhymes (previously published as Humpty Who?) is the ultimate curated collection of 75 classic poems, songs, lullabies, rounds, and riddles.

For those of you just starting out with our program, try Read-aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease: a classic since its first publication in 1982, now on its eighth edition. Including both research and book recommendations, this carefully curated handbook is a great aid for cultivating a love of reading when you’re not sure how to start.

If you’re nearing the end of our program, and are wondering: what’s next? Try Living Literacy at Home by Margaret Mary Policastro, a guide for parents to aid in continuing literacy development that is aimed at parents of children from kindergarten to eighth grade (although their tips can be adapted for any grade level!). 

Library Updates

We’re so excited to welcome Pakistani American author and activist, Saadia Faruqi, as she shares her popular Yasmin series and discusses her journey as an author! Join us at Buder Library on April 6 at 6:00; open to all ages, but ideal for children in grades 2 to 5.

Can you believe it’s already time to get excited about our Summer Reading Challenge? Last year, St. Louis readers blew our summer reading goal out of the water – we challenged you to read 40,000 books across the city, and you read almost 70,000 books! How many will we read this year? This year’s challenge starts June 1: visit the Beanstack website or app to pre-register or visit any St. Louis Public Library branch to pick up a paper reading log.

There are so many fun in-person programs and events going on at your library! Check out our events page to find out what kind of Early Childhood programs we have planned near you. Tell or bring a friend with you, we love to meet new friends!

Happy reading!