News Flash

Executive - Press Release

Posted on: April 25, 2017

New Castle County launches early childhood reading initiative

Wilmington, DE – On Thursday, April 20th County Executive Matthew Meyer visited a New Castle County Library Kirkwood branch Story Time session to announce the launch of the New Castle County Library System’s latest early childhood reading initiative 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. The program provides resources and guidance to parents and caretakers of children from birth to 5 years of age, along with fun incentives that support children and their families on their journey to literacy.

“Reading to children every day is vitally important to their future of our country,” County Executive Meyer said. “Through the new 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, we build upon the New Castle library system’s commitment to have every child read every day.”

Research demonstrates that reading to children helps build language, literacy and social skills and helps prepare children for school:

Benefits of early access to books

  • By the age of 2, children who are read to regularly display greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies, and higher cognitive skills than their peers.
  • Creating a steady stream of new, age-appropriate books has been shown to nearly triple interest in reading within months.
  • In middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods the ratio can be as low as 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children.

Correlation between early reading and academic achievement

  • Children’s academic successes at ages 9 and 10 can be attributed to the amount of talk they hear from birth through age 3.
  • There is almost a 90% probability that a child will remain a poor reader at the end of the fourth grade if the child is a poor reader at the end of first grade.
  • Children who aren’t reading at grade level by the end of third grade are four times as likely to drop out of high school.

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, which leverages resources and materials from a national program developed by the 1000 Books Foundation, expands on the New Castle County Library System’s longstanding Story Time program which provides reading and socialization activities for children from birth through three years of age. These resources include recommended reading lists, tracking logs, and a Smartphone app to help families record their progress through the program. Parents and caretakers are encouraged to visit their local New Castle County library branch or visit to learn more.

Watch a short video of the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Launch Event produced by New Castle County TV at


Contact: Jason Miller, 302-545-1462

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