Fun, Free Way to Encourage Your Preschooler to Read


1000 Books Before Kindergarten

Have you downloaded the 1000 books before kindergarten app? If not, it’s a great way to incentivize your child to read. Hundreds of libraries around the U.S. participate in the program – you can find your closest participating library on their website. If there isn’t one nearby, you can start your own!

My local librarian shared she started this program from birth, documenting every time they read her daughter any book. My approach has been a little different – we waited until my son turned two to start the program. He is really proud when gets to check off books. At our local library, he gets to put his name on the bulletin board and gets a small prize (100 books was a bookmark, 200 was a coupon for a free Chipotle kids meal, 300 was a free book).

You can repeat books. It’s also a self-paced program with no requirements to read a certain amount in a certain timeframe. Some voracious readers could feasibly complete the program in a few months, while other kids may stretch it out for years.

We love this program – and have compiled a few other programs that reward reading for kids.

  •      If you’re already participating in the 1,000 books before kindergarten program, why not also participate in Book It!? If you grew up in the 1980s or 1990s, you are probably already familiar with the Book It program, that rewarded readers with a free personal pizza from Pizza Hut for reading 10 books. Today, this version of the program still exists, but they’ve also developed a preschool program. Families who read 20 minutes a day, five days a week for eight weeks can enter to win a prize pack.
  •      Texas Roadhouse offers a free kids meal if a teacher or parent signs off that the child has read three books. Offer based on availability; may not be available at all locations.
  •      Check your local parenting blogs and your local library to see if there are any specific programs for kids in your area.


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