By Beverly Stewart, M.Ed. – Published

As teachers know, the link between early literacy and future academic success is well-established. And, summertime offers the perfect opportunity to encourage a love of reading in your children.

A new movement, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, offers a simple concept for parents with an invaluable result for children. The goal? Read 1,000 books to your child before they begin kindergarten!

If that sounds overwhelming, take a moment to consider the numbers. If you read aloud just one book a night, that will add up to 365 books in one year. By the time your child reaches kindergarten age, you will already greatly exceeded your 1,000 book goal!

The first step is to keep age appropriate children’s books available at all times. An accessible “family library” is an absolute must for all homes. A “traveling library” for the car and for time spent waiting (in the dentists’ office, at the car repair shop) is another wonderful idea.

Books need not be new. Scour garage sales and thrift shops for gently-loved books – often for as little as .10 or .25 each. Or, you can download a huge selection of wonderful children’s books onto your iPad, Kindle or Nook.

Current statistics on the subject suggest that 100 age-appropriate titles at minimum should be available in each home (including those borrowed weekly from the library or shared among other families).

Next, remember to read aloud to your children every single day. As children grow, allow them to pick their favorites. Although this may mean that you read Fox in Socks every night for several weeks in a row, that’s okay. Fostering a real love of reading is the key.

If your child requests a favorite time after time, see how many ways you can read it to make it new, with varying voice or even actions. Or, add a second book if your child begs for a frequently repeated title.

Finally, track those books! A downloadable form is available at but you can also simply write down your books in a special notebook. As your child gets closer to kindergarten age and closer to the 1,000 book goal, they will enjoy seeing just how many titles they’ve heard.

If you’re unsure of exactly where to start, a range of award-winning book suggestions can be found in the sidebar on this page.

Time to hit the books!

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40 Must-Read Books
for Pre-K Children
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise
  • Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  • The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • The Mitten by Jan Brett
  • Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
  • Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
  • Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault
  • The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  • Are You My Mother? by Philip D. Eastman
  • The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
  • Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  • Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey
  • Arthur series by Marc Tolon Brown
  • Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
  • The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • The Art Lesson by Tomie De Paola
  • Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
  • Clifford, the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
  • The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch

Beverly Stewart, M.Ed.

Beverly Stewart, M.Ed. is President and Director of Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc., an area leader in 1-on-1 tutoring and test prep for children and adults, and translating/interpreting since 1985. In addition, Back to Basics is a Department of Education approved 1-on-1 Private School for K-12, as well as a Business and Trade School for ages 16+.
Email Beverly at, call her at (302)594-0754 or visit on the web at or

Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc. is located on 6 Stone Hill Road, Wilmington.

Beverly Stewart inducted to Hall of Fame of Delaware Women