Scary faces and laughs help launch early literacy program

There was dancing, wiggling and laughing at libraries across the City the morning of Monday, Oct. 2., during the launch of a new literacy program for pre-readers. 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten encourages parents and caregivers to read with children.

“Experiencing books at a very young age opens up so many opportunities for children – opportunities that pay off well into adulthood,” said Misty Jones, Director of the San Diego Public Library.

To kick-off the program, Councilmembers and City staff participated in a synchronized story time, reading the same book at the same time all 36 branch libraries. Author Jan Thomas donated copies of her book “Can You Make a Scary Face” for the launch event, providing a fun and interactive experience for the readers and the children.

According to the National Education Association (NEA), 26 percent of children who were read to three or four times a week by a family member recognized all the letters of the alphabet. The ability for a child to recognize the alphabet drops to 14 percent for children who were read to less frequently.

“Bringing 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten to San Diego libraries give parents a clear path to follow to develop literacy skills in their children before they begin school,” said Jones.

Library patrons who want to participate in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program can register online or at any City library. Rewards are offered when parents, caregivers and children hit milestones on the way to reading 1,000 books. For more information, visit