Dorchester County Library addresses literacy concerns with new products program

The Dorchester County Library has launched an initiative to address literacy rates among young children.
Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 5:47 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2023 at 7:36 AM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - In an effort to address concerning literacy rates among young children, the Dorchester County Library System has launched an initiative.

The “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” program is set to make a significant impact on early childhood education.

This program is open to all children who have not yet entered kindergarten.

Dorchester County Library statistics show that 57% of Tri-County children are deemed unprepared when starting kindergarten, and more than half of third graders in the Tri-cCunty area are not reading at their grade level.

The program is in partnership with Trident United Way, Berkeley County Library System, and Charleston County Public Library.

The libraries will provide a list of reading recommendations, but parents can choose the themes for their kids to create a fun educational experience.

To give them a head start parents can sign their kids up through the library website, QR code, or in person.

Dorchester County Services Librarian April Marks says programs like these really make a difference and create a love for reading in children.

“We have seen a lot of benefits. We’ve watched a lot of children grow up and watch them jump from reading, you know the beginning reader books to reading giant chapter books so quickly,” Marks said. “And so many parents like to stop by and tell us how advanced a reading level these children are on. So, these ones that come in and participate in these reading programs and come and see us every day. We do see a huge benefit and we love hearing all about that.”

As an incentive to keep the kids engaged during the program kids will receive stickers & bookmarks for every 100 books they read and a goodie bag for completing 500 books.

Once they get to 1,000 books, they will receive a certificate of completion and a free book.

To ensure kids are not behind the libraries provide reading programs all year round.

“It builds that reading habit of reading every day. So, this one is starting out with the parents teaching the children that healthy habit of picking up a book and reading every single day,” Marks said. “And then we have our summer reading programs and our winter reading programs that encourage once they’re in school to continue reading during the breaks.”

Though the program is already in full swing, the Dorchester County library is set to have an event to continue getting the word out about the program this fall.

To sign up or stay updated on the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program click here.