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Berkeley, Dorchester libraries promoting reading for toddlers, pre-K

Trident United Way has partnered with local library systems, including those in Berkeley and Dorchester counties, to promote reading to children from birth to age 5 and improve regional literacy gaps.

Recently, four libraries in the Tri-County area celebrated kick-off events for the effort 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, a nationwide outreach which aims to provide resources to the community for early reading. The goal is for parents to read hundreds of books to their children before the children start kindergarten, giving them a headstart on vocabulary and reading comprehesion.

The community was invited to attend the afternoon celebrations on Oct. 2 at the Moncks Corner Library, St. George Main Library and the Summerville Branch Library.

Parents and kids showed up to read together and learn more about the available literacy resources in their communities.

“Reading is more than just sitting down and being quiet," said Eva Smith, a parent who attended the opening celebration. "It can be exciting. They’re having a great time, both of them at the different ages, incorporating the different things like dance and play with reading and words. It’s just a fantastic time, and we appreciate the opportunity.”

In Berkeley County, the program aims to reach kids and families who may not be regular library users.

"The Berkeley County Library System is excited to collaborate with Trident United Way and neighboring library systems on the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program,” said Gene Brunson, Berkeley County Library System director in a press release. “Studies have shown the positive impact of reading for 15 minutes per day. Parents and children can enjoy the benefits of reading, spending quality time, and developing early literacy skills and school readiness by participating in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program."

The kick off celebrations were at several locations throughout the Tri-County area where officials hope the program continues to encourage reading and development in those early readers. 

To learn more about 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, visit 1000booksbeforekindergarten.org/.