1000 Books Before Kindergarten

On behalf of the Central Arkansas Library System and the 1,000 Books Foundation, we invite you to participate in this free program which encourages you to read 1,000 books with your child before he or she starts kindergarten.

What is 1000 Books

The concept is simple; the rewards are priceless. Read a book (any book) to your baby, toddler, or preschooler. The goal is to have read 1,000 books (yes, you can repeat books) before your precious one starts kindergarten. It may sound hard, but think about it this way: If you read just 1 book a night, you will have read about 365 books in a year. That is 730 books in two years and 1,095 books in three years. If you consider that most children start kindergarten at around 5 years of age, you have more time than you think, but it’s time to get started.

The key is perseverance. Make it exciting. When your child reaches a milestone, give him/her a small reward (stickers, backpacks, books). Be sure and visit the library and pick up a sticker each time your child reads 100 books. When you have read 1000 books, the library will give your child a free book for your home library!

Learn More

How To Participate

Participation in the program is easy. All participants have to do is read with a child and track the titles of the books that have been read. Parents can choose between tracking books read electronically via cals.beanstack.org or by using a paper log.

  • Log-in or sign-up at cals.beanstack.org and add your preschool child as a reader.  They can join the 1000 Books program and log books read to earn badges. OR
  • CALS will provide log sheets (at the bottom of this page) for each participant.
  • Participants can collect a sticker from their local branch for every 100 books read.
  • Once 10 stickers are collected, a prize will be given to that participant. Any child from birth to entering kindergarten may participate.
  • The program is self-paced; If you wish to keep a paper log, log sheets may be downloaded below or picked up at any CALS branch location.

Starter Reading List

The following list of 100 titles is simply to help get you started toward 1000 books. You are not required to read any of these books to participate in our 1000 Books program

Alborough, Jez: Where’s My Teddy?

Asch, Frank: Happy Birthday, Moon

Bang, Molly: Ten, Nine, Eight

Barrett, Judi: Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing

Barton, Byron: The Three Bears

Becker, Bonny: A Visitor for Bear

Bemelmans, Ludwig: Madeline

Bornstein, Ruth: Little Gorilla

Brett, Jan: The Mitten

Brown, Marcia: Stone Soup

Brown, Margaret Wise: Goodnight Moon

Brunhoff, Jean de: The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant

Burningham, John: Mr. Gumpy’s Outing

Burton, Virginia Lee: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Cannon, Janell: Stellaluna

Carle, Eric: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Christelow, Eileen: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

Coffelt, Nancy: Fred Stays with Me

Crews, Donald: Freight Train

Cronin, Doreen: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type

Day, Alexandra: Good Dog, Carl

Degen, Bruce: Jamberry

Dorros, Arthur: Abuela

Eastman, P.D.: Are You My Mother?

Ehlert, Lois: Feathers for Lunch

Emberley, Ed: Go Away, Big Green Monster!

Falconer, Ian: Olivia

Feiffer, Jules: Bark, George

Flack, Marjorie: Ask Mr. Bear

Fleming, Denise: Mama Cat Has Three Kittens

Fox, Mem: Where is the Green Sheep?

Freeman, Don: Corduroy

Gag, Wanda: Millions of Cats

Goble, Paul: The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses

Guarino, Deborah: Is Your Mama a Llama?

Henkes, Kevin: Kitten’s First Full Moon

Ho, Minfong: Hush!: A Thai Lullaby

Hoban, Russell: Bread and Jam for Frances

Hoban, Tana: Is it Red? Is it Yellow? Is it Blue? An Adventure in Color

Hoffman, Mary: Amazing Grace

Holabird, Katherine: Angelina Ballerina

Hutchins, Pat: Rosie’s Walk

Jenkins, Steve: What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?

Johnson, Crockett: Harold and the Purple Crayon

Juster, Norton: The Hello, Goodbye Window

Kasza, Keiko: The Wolf’s Chicken Stew

Keats, Ezra Jack: The Snowy Day

Kennedy, Jimmy: The Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Kent, Jack: The Caterpillar and the Polliwog

Kimmel, Eric: Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock

Kraus, Robert: Whose Mouse are You?

Kraus, Ruth: The Carrot Seed

Leaf, Munro: The Story of Ferdinand

Lionni, Leo: Little Blue and Little Yellow

Lobel, Anita: On Market Street

Lobel, Arnold: Frog and Toad Are Friends

London, Jonathan: Froggy Gets Dressed

Martin, Bill: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Martin, Bill: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Mayer, Mercer: Frog Goes to Dinner

McBratney, Sam: Guess How Much I Love You

McCloskey, Robert: Make Way for Ducklings

McFarland, Lyn: Widget

McKissack, Pat: Goin’ Someplace Special

McLimans, David: Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet

McPhail, David: Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore

Meddaugh, Susan: Martha Speaks

Mullan, Kate and Jim: I Stink!

Noble, Trinka: The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash

Numeroff, Laura: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

O’Connor, Jane: Fancy Nancy

Penn, Audrey: The Kissing Hand

Pinkney, Sandra: Shades of Black

Piper, Watty: The Little Engine that Could

Potter, Beatrix: The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Rathmann, Peggy: Good Night, Gorilla

Rey, H.A.: Curious George

Rohman, Eric: My Friend Rabbit

Rosen, Michael: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Rylant, Cynthia: The Relatives Came

Say, Allen: Grandfather’s Journey

Seeger, Laura Vaccaro: First the Egg

Sendak, Maurice: Where the Wild Things Are

Seuss, Dr.: Green Eggs and Ham

Seuss, Dr.: The Cat in the Hat

Shannon, David: Duck on a Bike

Shaw, Charles: It Looked Like Spilt Milk

Simont, Marc: The Stray Dog

Slobodkina, Esphyr: Caps for Sale

Taback, Simms: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

Wells, Rosemary: Noisy Nora

Westcott, Nadine: The Lady with the Alligator Purse

Wiesner, David: The Three Pigs

Willems, Mo: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Wood, Audrey: The Napping House

Yolen, Jane: How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

Young, Ed: Seven Blind Mice

Zimmerman, Andrea: Trashy Town

Zion, Gene: Harry, The Dirty Dog


Who can participate in this program?

Any child from birth until he or she enters kindergarten can participate in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.

How long will the program take?

The program will take anywhere from a few months to a few years. The program is self-paced and will depend on how often you read together.

How many of my children can participate?

All of them (provided they have not yet started kindergarten). Make it even more fun and read as a family!

How do I track my child’s progress?

Sign-up for an account at cals.beanstack.org and make sure your child is on your account as a reader.  He or she can join the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program and log the books you read to earn digital badges.  If you’d rather keep track on paper, you can print the log forms, or pick them up at any CALS branch location.