The Ouachita Parish Public Library will culminate the summer reading challenge with the Read Strong challenge on August 3. Library Director Robin Toms has set the goal of 19,000 pages read in one day. “I’m challenging everyone in the parish to come into any branch, pick up a book, and just read,” Toms said. “It doesn’t matter what type of book, it doesn’t matter how many pages you read, it doesn’t matter how long you read. All that matters is that people in Ouachita Parish are making literacy a priority at Read Strong.” If patrons report the number of pages read to a librarian on August 3, they will receive a snack (while supplies last). “We’re also encouraging parents to read aloud to their children. They can register their babies and toddlers for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten,” Toms said.
1000 Books Before Kindergarten is a nation-wide early literacy campaign. The Library is celebrating this initiative by giving a book, library card application, and a 1000 Books Before Kindergarten informational packet and log to every child born on August 3 in Ouachita Parish. All three local hospitals are partnering with the Library for this program. “It’s never too early to read to your child, which is why we are giving books to children born on August 3,” said LaKeisha Bosworth, youth services coordinator. “Children who have been exposed to books before they start school are more prepared in vocabulary, speech, and even social development.” Children who complete the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge will receive a free book from the Library, as well as small prizes for every 100 books read. “Parents are the first teachers of a child. If a parent reads just one book daily to their child, the child will have read more than 1000 books by the time they turn 3 years old,” Bosworth said.