Library featuring '1,000 Books Before Kindergarten' today

Program aims to introduce children to reading at an early age

Local infants and toddlers will have an opportunity to hear hundreds of stories before they enter kindergarten through a national early-literacy program offered through the Pleasanton Library Saturday.

The purpose of the "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten" initiative is to encourage families of participating toddlers and infants to expose their children to reading early on in their lives, according to library officials.

"Shared reading time is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a child," Sandy Silva, acting library director, said in a statement. "Having been read to as an infant and toddler has been identified as one of the strongest predictors of success in school."

Sandy Silva heard about the 1,000 books program initiative through one of her staff members at the Pleasanton Library.

"One of my staff members in the children's department of the library had heard about the program and another staff member was taking a class about grants, so I decided it would be great to seek grants to move forward and put on the event," she said.

The kick-off event is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the library on Old Bernal Avenue. It will begin with an opening presentation during which families can sign up for the program and learn more about the early initiative literacy program and its purpose. Shortly after the opening presentation, there will be a musical presentation by singer-songwriter Amy Wigton.

"Reading is an enjoyable activity and strengthens the connection between the child and the reader," Silva said.The mission of the 1,000 books initiative is to provide children with a strong foundation of literacy prior to entering kindergarten, officials said.

During the event, the participating children will leave with a free canvas tote bag and a reading log for families to keep track of the books they have read with their infants and toddlers.

The 1,000 books before kindergarten program recently partnered with the 1,000 Books Foundation in exercising their mission of early literacy and making sure libraries worldwide have enough reading materials stocked for early readers to become accustomed to reading.

"Research shows that the most reliable predictor of school success is being read to at home during early childhood. The brain develops more rapidly during the first three years of a child's life than at any other time during the lifespan," said Anthony Diaz, media representative with the 1,000 books program.

Parents interested in participating in this program with their toddlers will now be able to be virtually involved in the book program through downloading the 1,000 books before kindergarten iPhone application.

The mobile app is free and allows users to scan their books at the library and lets users click the books that their child has read and track down every book until the child reaches to 1,000 book end goal.

The city of Pleasanton and the Pacific Library Partnership have supported the event through grant contributions. The grants given to the library for this event will also "allow the Pleasanton Library to offer this program at off-site venues as well, with the aim of including children whose families find it difficult to come to the library and participate physically in the program's initiative," Silva said.

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