picture book in focus with adult and child facing the book reading

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten sets children on the path to success . . . one book at a time.

1000 Books Before Kindergarten LogoFamilies are invited to join the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program at Cochise County libraries. 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is a nationwide challenge that encourages parents and caregivers to regularly read aloud to their children. By reading just one book a night, families can reach the 1,000-book goal in three years and provide their children with essential early literacy skills.

Cochise county library district friends logoResearch shows that the most reliable predictor of school success is being read to during early childhood. Reading to children from an early age can help close the vocabulary gap and prepare children to enter kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed. Most importantly, sharing books with children promotes a lifelong love of books and reading.

The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program is available to all families with children between the ages of birth and five years.  All libraries in Cochise County offer 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten programs, but the program in Sierra Vista operates independendently.  For details of the program in Sierra Vista, or to sign up, contact Sierra Vista Public Library.

For 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten programs at other libraries across Cochise County, which are sponsored by the Friends of the Cochise County Library District, contact the Library District (aricketts@cochise.az.gov / 520-432-8935), or visit your local library.


How it works | Frequently Asked Questions

How it works:

The goal of 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is just what it sounds like: to read 1,000 books with your child before they start kindergarten. That might sound like a lot, but if you read one picture book every day, you will reach 1,000 books in less than three years!

The fun thing about this program is that you can read whatever books you and your child like. They can include library books, books from your collection at home, or books you find when you are out and about. If your child likes to hear the same story more than once, read-it-again books count however many times you read them.

To get started, just let your local library know you would like to participate. They will give you a reading log and make note of your child’s name and age. When you finish a reading log showing you have read 100 books, stop by the library for a sticker and a new reading log.

When you reach the 1,000-book goal at one of the the libraries participating in the countywide program (Benson, Bisbee, Bowie, Douglas, Elfrida, Huachuca City, Portal, Sunizona, Sunsites, Tombstone, or Willcox) your child will get to choose a t-shirt or tote bag along with a certificate celebrating the milestone.

Ready to sign up? Your hometown library will be happy to help you get started.

Still have questions? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions, below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why read 1,000 books before kindergarten?

According to First Things First, 90% of brain growth happens before age five. Reading to young children on a regular basis helps build vocabulary and other skills that will help them become successful readers and learners. The 1,000-book goal is a fun reminder to read to your young children early and often.

Which Cochise County libraries are participating in this program?

As of fall 2023, all public libraries in Cochise County are offering 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten programs. Sierra Vista Public Library has an independent program that has been active for several years, and the other libraries across the county are offering a program sponsored by the Friends of the Cochise County Library District.  T-shirts and tote bags for program completion are available at the locations sponsored by the Friends of the Library District.

Who can sign up?

Any child in Cochise County who has not yet started kindergarten is eligible to join the program. Just let your library know you are interested, and staff will help you get started.

What books count toward the 1,000-book goal?

Whatever books you like! The only guideline is to start counting after you sign up for the program. From there, you can read whatever books you and your child enjoy. If you read the same book more than once, it is fine to count it each time. You can also count books read at storytime, books an older child reads to a younger one, and books read by other caregivers. The goal is simply to read regularly, and make it fun.

How do we track the books we read?

Your library will provide a simple reading record that lets you or your child mark off one shape for each book you read. Each reading record includes spaces for 100 books. If you prefer to make a list of book titles, you can list them on the back of the sheet.

After each 100 books read, stop by the library. Your child will get a sticker and lots of encouragement, and you will get another reading record so you can keep tracking your progress.

What happens when we reach 1,000 books?

100 books read tshirt design At the libraries participating in the countywide program, you and your child can choose a t-shirt or a tote bag marking your accomplishment, and you will get a certificate of achievement. If you would like to take a picture to celebrate the occasion, the libraries will have a special sign your child can hold.

What if my older kids would like to participate?

The more the merrier! Big kids are welcome to track their reading (whether you read to them or they are starting to read on their own), and pick up stickers and encouragement along the way. Big kids who reach 1,000 books will receive a certificate of achievement.

What if I still have questions?

If you have questions that were not addressed here, check in with your library or contact the Library District (aricketts@cochise.az.gov / 520-432-8935).