Cabell County children and their families participate in reading challenge

September 22, 2018
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Teagan Gothan, 4, sits with her father, Russ Gothan, during the Cabell County Public Library's "1,000 Books Celebration" event Thursday in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — Children and their families who participated in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program came together Thursday evening at the Cabell County Public Library in Huntington to celebrate their accomplishments and their love of reading.

The program was funded by the West Virginia Leaders of Literacy: Campaign for Grade Level Reading Partner Grant, which awarded $35,000 to the Western Counties Regional Library System, which includes Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Putnam and Wayne counties. Children received incentives for every 100 books they read on their way to reading 1,000 books, and those who completed the task in the first year of the program were awarded with an Amazon Kindle at the ceremony.

Breana Bowen, assistant director for Youth Services at the main library, said in Cabell

County alone, the children registered for the program is in the thousands. Twenty-five children completed the program in the first year, as well as three day cares: Ceredo Playmates, Kenova Playmates and Westmoreland Playmates.

“We’re really excited to not only promote what the library does, but to promote the love of reading to such a young population,” Bowen said. “They always say your parents are your first teachers, so to be able to inspire families to read together and encourage family engagement and reading with children has been a blessing.”

Bowen said library circulation has gone up in the Cabell County system since the program was started. She said though she can’t directly attribute the program for the rise in circulation numbers, it is good that more people are reading and utilizing library services.

Lyla Flores, mother to a 4-year-old and 5-year-old, said the program brought her family together.

“Our kids really enjoyed reading every night/′ Flores said. “I think we even read books two or three times. They each have their own little distinct books they like, but every night they sit down and they read. It’s family time for us.”

Flores said the program helped her children figure out what kinds of books they like to read and helped them begin to recognize words and read on their own. She said her children enjoyed coming to the library to be recognized for reaching a milestone in the program, which made it interactive, and the librarians were helpful during the whole process.

Bowen said the program is ongoing and children are able to sign up to participate at any time.

The 1,000 Books Foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program nationwide and provides resources to parents and caregivers to participate.

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Facebook and Twitter @megosborneHD.

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