Jun 22

How To Help Your Child ‘Read’ 1000 Books Before Kindergarten

You all know how much I love to read, but there is one more thing I love just as much, and that is structure & organization. Now this could take many forms, but the thing that I use the most to bring structure (and also some sanity) in my life are Lists!

I make all sorts of lists, and I would get into details, but I don’t want to scare you folks, so let’s just say I have more lists than I would like to admit. Which is the main reason why I also have a list to keep track of my lists. I know it seems kinda nuts, because frankly it is. But worry not, I have learnt to thrive in-spite of all my Type A issues, however that’s not the point here, I digress.

Coming back to what I was saying – reading & lists are among my favorite things. So imagine my delight when I found a program that combines the two things. Not for myself, but for my 5 year old. Which is even better, because I am always looking for ways to share my love of books with him. If I can also manage to show him a way to structure his reading, and work towards a goal, it’s a double-triple win for me.

And 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, a program that I came across during my last trip to my public library, does exactly that. And more.

But let me back up a bit here, and explain what it is all about, as best as I can.


What is 1000 Books Before Kindergarten & Why is it Important?

1000 Books before Kindergarten is a self paced early literacy program that encourages families to read at-least 1000 books to their kids before they start Kindergarten.

This is important because research has shown that children need to hear a 1000 stories read aloud before they begin to learn to read for themselves. And this program is essentially a structured way to get our kids ready.

How to Help Our Kids Read (Listen to) 1000 Books Before Kindergarten?

First thing first, while I believe the above mentioned research will hold good for any 1000 books, I am planning to follow the suggested list of books (which I will come to in the next section) as it is curated specifically with the purpose of prepping the little minds. And also because it is simpler for me to follow the list than deal with curating my own.

Now that that is out of the way, achieving this goal of 1000 books, essentially boils down to taking stock of where you are at right now, where you need to be, and effective planning to reach the goal.

I believe the ideal start time would be when your kid is between 2 and 3 years old, and is receptive to listening to stories, by which I mean that he/she is basically over the phase of utilizing books as chew toys.

Because kindergarten usually starts between age  5 and 6 (at-least here in the US), and the early start would give you 2-3 years to get to all the books. Of-course this also depends on pace, as you could read 1 book a day, and reach this goal in about 3 years OR you could 3 books in a day, every single day, and be done under 1 year.

As far as we (me and my son) are concerned, we looked at the list and realized that we have read only 5 books out of the 1000. Don’t get me wrong, we have read many many books together, but they are not on this list (which like I mentioned earlier, is the one I intend to follow). So as far as this challenge is concerned, we have read only 5/1000.*

*Update: At the time of writing this post, I was under the impression that my library has a list of 1000 book recommendations, and they had released the list of first 100 or so, only to release the rest later. As it happens, that is not the case. Which means, we will definitely read all of the 100 odd recommendations and follow the list, but also include other books we have read. 

And considering that we have only a summer left before D goes to Kindergarten, the clock is against us. Nonetheless, we are determined, and overly optimistic at this point. However only time will tell how it all goes down.

I will definitely keep you guys posted on my social media, and do an update post here on the blog, when I have made some decent progress, and possibly also do a children’s book recommendations post.

Recommended Reading List, Rewards & Other Resources

As I mentioned earlier, here is the list of 1000 Books (*refer update above) that the program recommends. You could download it and/or print it out for your reference.

You could also visit this link, which has a lot of helpful resources, like the program instructions, answers to FAQs,  blank templates of reading log sheets, which you can use to track your and your child’s progress, and rewards!

That’s all from my end, folks. I would love to hear from you guys. Have you participated in the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge? Or any other kids reading challenge for that matter? If you have, do share your experience with me.

And if you intend to participate in this 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program, do let me know. We could cheer each other on!




  1. What a great post, Shantala. Reading begins very early on in life I think. Lot of people ask me how I got my son hooked onto reading since he was a baby. He’s now 13 and a voracious reader, and author of a storybook himself! Well, after reading your post, I have to refer it to them! 🙂

  2. Wow it is a very long list. Good luck to you and D. I have a question though – Does the 1000 books challenge take into account the repeated readings of the same book? Because there are many days when the child becomes fond of a particular book so much that he wouldn’t like to pick a new book for reading unless his fav book has been read and re-read for atleast 10 days in a row.
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted…7 reasons to have a second child #BarAThon 2017 Day 3My Profile

    • As far as repeated readings go, I guess it is up to you to decide if they are okay, since this program is self paced and self driven. When I asked my librarian, she seemed to think that they were fine.

      Though I personally am not counting repetitions, because then we don’t need to do this at all, as we have completed 1000 books many times over. ‘Cause I have read Are You My Mommy and Goodnight Moon 1000 times each (no kidding!). But I believe it’s your call. Whatever you feel most comfortable with.
      Shanaya Tales recently posted…When Dimple Met Rishi – Review and RaveMy Profile

  3. This is fantastic. I went through the list, and even we (my 5yo and I) have read only a few of these, but we’ve read other books. He loves being read aloud to, but the thing is, if he likes a book, he’ll stick to it for ages (till I can tell the stories from front to back from memory!) Of course kindergarten starts earlier here, but that isn’t stopping me from downloading this superb list.
    Sreesha recently posted…Lost Long RoadsMy Profile

  4. I was honestly a bit stunned reading the title and wondering how on earth that was possible (or even logical)
    But ya, it does make sense though it is gonna need some major effort. Also,kids do tend to favour certain stories over and over so that’s gonna add to the challenge to reaching 1000. But the effort must be made 🙂
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  5. I’m downloading to list and saving it for when I decide to have kids.

    Kids should read. A lot. That is what helps them grow. Not iPads, games and other faff.
    Soumya recently posted…The ‘Anything But Books’ TagMy Profile

  6. A very lovely post indeed and very informative. Thanks for sharing and greetings!

  7. Wow! That is such a huge number of books. 1000. But it definitely shows a commitment to reading that will be good for the children as they grow. I wish I’d known this when mine were younger. I’ve never followed any reading programme for them. Let me check the Net for one for older children. Maybe there is one.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…The MeetingMy Profile

  8. Wow! This is truly amazing. 1000 books is pretty huge, but am sure if followed will turn a child into a book lover for life!! Good luck to you and D for this programme. Cheers!
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…7 Reasons to Say No More OftenMy Profile

  9. A great list! My children love being read to and I will try and source these books.
    Neha recently posted…A house Spick and Span, What’s that?My Profile

  10. Great list, Shantala. Thank you for sharing. Kanna will start 2nd grade in August but I will make a trip to the library to find the books in the list. We have read only about seven books from the list. He is reading chapter books now. But I can use it to read to both the boys. Younger loves to toss his books around. 🙂 Reading out loud to the kids definitely helps in raising a good reader. And I enjoy reading to my kids. 🙂
    Vinitha recently posted…A Handwritten Poem #FridayReflectionsMy Profile

  11. Very useful one Shantala. As a Mom of a 2.5 year old who is bitten by the reading bug just like me, I couldnt be happier to read this. Initially kindergarten and 1000 books made me choke, as she goes to nursery next year (its earlier here in India as you know), but thinking of the time by she is 5 I do have a good amount of time. Look forward ti going through this list and seeing if I can take this up for her.

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