Ouachita Parish's first reader completes the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program
Emilia McGarey is 13 months old. Her parents Alex and Taylor registered her for the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program at the Library. This school-readiness program builds reading comprehension, behavioral and social skills for little ones. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to bond with your child. Register your little reader here. Below is a Q&A with Emilia’s dad Alex.
How did you accomplish 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten so quickly?
It all started when I signed her up for the program. I brought home a huge tote bag full of books to try with her. We read some to her and her grandmother read to her even more. She liked it and so we continued. She might get the same 10 books read to her around 10 times before they got returned, so it was easy to rack up to 1,000 over the course of 9 months.
What are Emilia’s favorite books?
She seems to really enjoy Llama Llama books, but she is not what I'd call picky when it comes to books. Whether its Elephant and Piggie, Llama Llama, or anything in between, she seems to really enjoy story time, especially with her grandmother who watches her during the day. That said, Emilia does have her books that she doesn't care for as much. Those don't get read as much. There are times where she may bring you a book and want to be read to, so in a general sense, she enjoys it.
Why is reading with Emilia a priority in your family?
We want to make reading a priority with Emilia because her mother and myself are both avid readers. We love books, love reading, and even love to write. We want to pass that on to Emilia as much as we can. I firmly believe that reading is the gateway to imagination and intelligence, and I would love nothing more than for Emilia to have a vast wealth of intelligence and imagination.
What advice do you have to parents who want to read more with their children?
Making time can be hard, I get it. My first tip is to try and make time. If your child brings you a book, read it to them. They'll thank you for it later. My second tip is to enlist help. My mother-in-law watches Emilia during the day and did the majority of reading to Emilia for the challenge. If you have a family member who watches your child, bring them some books to read to the child. It takes a village sometimes and making sure your child is read to is one of those times where it may take more than just you. Thirdly, make sure your child has a relationship with the library. Emilia is still a little young for this, but it is in my plans to make sure that she has a working relationship with the library. Being able to go to story times and programs and check out books to read. Above all, I would say to never neglect reading to your child. Not only is it fun and entertaining, but one day, once they're grown, your child will thank you for the bedtime stories and all the times you gave them the gift of reading.