One of our local libraries started a new program two weeks ago called “1000 Books Before Kindergarten.” They handed out trees with apples to color in. Three double sided sheets have the first 300 apples for the project. We took them home and set them in a place I would remember to color the apples in.

In truth I thought it was a silly program for someone like my daughter who requests stories to be read to her all the time. We will sometimes read the same story a dozen times in a row. I laughed and thought how ridiculous the program was. We would be done with the first tree in a week I thought to myself.

Here we are two weeks later and we have 54 apples filled in. I’m not sure if that’s because I just can’t remember to color in the apple after a story, if I’m underestimating how many books we’ve read when I get back to my desk after a long reading session, or if we really have only read 54 books in the past two weeks. I’m not saying that’s bad by any means, just that it’s less than I expected.

Reading 1000 books to your child can sound like a lot if you don’t read often, or even if you do, but it is a challenge that is completely worth tackling. If your child is one day old, read to your child. If your child is a screaming three year old that only wants to read books about dump trucks or sword fights, read to your child. Even if your child starts kindergarten in a week and there is no chance you will finish the challenge in time, read to your child. If your child is twelve and willing to listen to you read out loud to them, read to your child. Reading to your child is never amiss.

Hearing us, as parents or caregivers, read out loud to them and seeing us reading for our own pleasure are great ways to show children that reading is fun and what child doesn’t want to do something fun.

Are you going to take on the challenge with your toddler?

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