Library celebrates preschool 1,000 Books reading program _lowres

Photo provided by SONYA GORDON -- A child cups her mouth as she watches children’s author Will Hillenbrand sign her copy of his book, 'Off We Go!,' as part of the Library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading completers’ party March 6 at the Main Library at Goodwood.

Children and parents spent the day March 6 celebrating love of reading with East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s first-ever party for children meeting the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program challenge.

Award-winning children’s book author/illustrator Will Hillenbrand demonstrated how he created his stories and signed copies of his book “Off We Go!” for those in attendance during the celebration at the Main branch on Goodwood. This book was used as the grand prize for each child completing the program.

A child’s brain develops more rapidly during the first three years of life than at any other time during the lifespan, according to the 1000 Books Foundation. By listening to stories, children, even babies, learn new words and sounds. By asking simple questions, children become aware of the color and shape of the world around them and develop a lifelong love of reading, a news release said.

Children who are read to just a few minutes each day likely will have an easier time in school and learn to read at a faster pace when formal schooling begins. Reading to children does not teach them how to read; it makes them ready to learn how to read.

Parents/guardians can read a book to a child or children — infant, toddler or preschooler — as part of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program, with the goal of reading 1,000 books before the start of kindergarten. Rereading the same books is encouraged, if the child requests it.

This is an ongoing program that launched in the spring of 2015. Since last March, more than 2,200 children have registered in the program, and 50 children already have read 1,000 books. Parents can enroll in the program at any local East Baton Rouge Parish Library branch’s Children’s Room. When a child reaches the goals of 250, 500, 750 and 1,000 books, they receive reading incentive gifts.

For more information or to sign up, visit your local library branch’s children’s section or contact Pabby Arnold, the Library’s Children’s coordinator, at (225) 231-3760 or

Library information can be found at or by calling (225) 231-3760.