Shared reading improves early learning and literacy

Picton Branch of the Prince Edward County Public Library. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

According to the Canadian Paediatric Society Early Years Task Force, “reading aloud together—early and often—appears to stimulate cognitive development more than other family activities. Shared reading is focused, immersive, and invites frequent, rich interactions and language exposures that positively predict language development.”

Reading together with children is key to early learning and literacy development. At the County of Prince Edward Public Library & Archives, library staff are committed to helping children cultivate a love for reading through programs such as “1000 Books or More Before Kindergarten.” This initiative encourages children to read at least a thousand books before starting school.

Public libraries are free and welcome everyone to visit and stock up on reading material, ensuring that no one is left out of access to books. Staff at each of the six branches of the library are available to help readers find just the right book or books. In the same way that counting the number of steps taken each day can be an encouragement to take the stairs, tracking the number of books read and setting a reading goal can encourage families to read a little more. One more book each week makes a significant difference over the critical early learning years. Recognizing milestones along the way, such as 100 books read, helps children to understand that reading is worth celebrating.

“Recently, a boy named Jude reached the goal of 1000 books read before kindergarten,” said librarian Gisa Iannaci. “He visited the Ameliasburgh Branch Library to tell us about this achievement. You could see the pride in his face as we celebrated this milestone with him.”

On Thursday, August 24 at the Picton Branch Library at 2 p.m., all are invited to a story time party. The party will be hosted by the volunteer co-ordinator of the 1000 Books program, Nancy Puddy, along with new library staff member Kyra Pearson. Pearson brings a wealth of early learning experience as well as enthusiasm for libraries and reading.

This party is designed for children who will be starting kindergarten in September, giving them an opportunity to celebrate this significant milestone as well as get registered for the Impressive Reader Society – a program for school age children. Attendees are not required to have been actively participating in the 1000 books program – all are welcome. Preschoolers are welcome and they can sign up for the 1000 Books program during the party. The party will have stories, crafts, a photo booth and of course some surprises and treats too.

RSVP at or call Kyra Pearson at the Picton Branch Library at (613) 476-5962.

-Liz Zylstra