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Mayor, JCPS, and Louisville Free Public Library Celebrate Success of 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge

jcpsWith thousands of kindergarteners across Louisville successfully starting the school year, a special celebration today recognized one Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) district preschool for helping prepare its students to start classes ready to learn.

At the Unseld Early Learning Center in Newburg this morning, Mayor Greg Fischer, and Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Hargens joined Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL) Director Jim Blanton in congratulating Unseld Center staff for having 100 percent completion in the Library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge last school year. The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge, a free Louisville Free Public Library program, encourages families, caregivers, and educators to read at least 1,000 books with their young children before kindergarten.

“While 1,000 books may seem like a lot,” Blanton said, “it can be accomplished in less than a year by reading as little as 15 minutes a day—that’s just three picture books.”

The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge — sponsored by the Library Foundation and the Community Foundation of Louisville — is free and open to children beginning at birth, and their caregivers. Spending just 15 minutes a day reading to preschool-age children builds vocabulary, language skills, and helps prepare them with the skills they need for school.

“We want to encourage all families, caregivers and concerned citizens in Jefferson County to help us create a city where all our kids are reading at least 1,000 books before they enter kindergarten,” said Mayor Fischer. “The people here at the Unseld Early Childhood Center have shown us the way. Because of their work, hundreds of children started kindergarten this fall ready!”

Thanks to the Unseld Center’s commitment to the program, and having all 300 students complete the Challenge, the Center was the recipient of a $500 Barnes & Noble gift card prize drawing from the Library.

“Developing an early habit for reading not only builds our youngest student’s language skills and gets them ready for school, but it pays dividends for years to come by creating a lifelong love for learning,” said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens.

The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge, which originated at the Bremen Public Library in Bremen, Ind., was launched at the LFPL in January 2014. And the challenge to read has been met with great success. Since the program began, nearly 20,000 children have signed up—with more than 2800 having reached the 1,000 books milestone.

For more information, call (502) 574-1620 or visit 

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