New reading program promotes early literacy in young people

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The Jasper-Dubois County Public Library hopes a new program it is launching will help children’s literacy and strengthen the community.

Parents of children under five are invited to participate in the “1000 books before kindergarten” program. Hundreds of libraries across the country use this program to promote reading and literacy to newborns, infants and toddlers. The goal of the program, as the name suggests, is to read 1,000 books to your child before they enter kindergarten.

For the Jasper-Dubois County Public Library, the new program is part of its mission to inspire creativity and foster learning.

“The centerpiece of our current strategic plan is community collaboration,” said Library Director Christine Golden.

In a recent meeting with community leaders, Golden included the “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” program as one of the library’s top initiatives for 2022. The program has generated a lot of interest.

“Our community leaders asked questions, actively participated in the conversation about the program wanting to know more, and before I left the meeting that day, I had a sponsor to offset the start-up costs of the books from reading accompaniment,” she explained.

According to Golden, the impact of the program could be significant depending on the number of children under five in Dubois County.

“The most recent census numbers show that about seven percent of Dubois County’s population is five and under, so that’s a bigger part of our population than some might think,” Golden explained. “Kindergarten is a magical experience for children, but we all know that expectations of what students should know by the time they start kindergarten have changed dramatically over the years. Reading with a family member builds relationships and early literacy skills, which are the cornerstones of academic success.

Participating in this program can help develop a child’s academic readiness, improve vocabulary, and improve cognitive development. Plus, the 1,000 Pounds Before Kindergarten program offers a simple, innovative, and fun approach to building strong early literacy skills.

“I think back to the sculpture dedication that happened this summer outside the cultural center,” Golden said. “The artist talked about ‘Boundless Imagination’ and spotlighted young children expanding their horizons and tapping into their creative side. The sooner you start using these skills, the more successful I think you will be.

To participate, register on the Beanstack application and go to your library (Jasper, Ferdinand, Dubois or Birdseye) to pick up the accompanying notebook. Participants will use the Beanstack app on their digital devices to track their reading. They will also receive an accompanying notebook containing stickers and fun activities. For 100 books read and saved on the app, participants will enter the library to be recognized.

While we hope to see immediate returns on this program, long-term success will be measured over a three to five year period when we expect most completions to occur,” Golden said. “As we review the program every quarter over the next few years, I want to know how many are starting the program, but more importantly, how many are completing the program. If we see the successes that I expect and hope for, I want that it fits into a curriculum for elementary school students, then middle and high school, and then adults.

For questions, call the Jasper Public Library at 812-482-2712 or visit www.jdcpl.us

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