Families in Timmins challenged to read 1,000 books before kindergarten

Families with young children in Timmins are invited to participate in the '1,000 Books Before Kindergarten' program. It's a free, self-paced program to encourage literacy among young children before they go to school.

To generate interest in the initiative, the EarlyON Child and Family Centre in partnership with the Timmins Public Library hosted a 'story walk' at the Hersey Lake Conservation Area.

"This program is for families with children from birth until they hit they kindergarten basically. It’s to encourage families to read 1,000 books before they hit kindergarten," said Gabriella Desmarais-Brunet, program manager for EarlyON Child and Family Centre Quality Assurance.

Helping them get started was local author Susan Reimer who read from her book 'Letters in the Woods,' inspired by her visits to the park.

"They discover that there are letters everywhere and some of the kids were pointing out Vs on the roots on the ground and things like that," Reimer said.

Many of the children participating in the 'story walk' were not able to read yet, but officials said it's never too early to start.

"Studies show that the sooner we can get kids loving books, loving reading, the better they do in school, said Erin Auger, assistant library director for the Timmins Public Library.

One parent, Canessa Kaltwasser, said it was a perfect opportunity to teach her son, Totem, about the alphabet.

"Sometimes you need like an outside source to make you be excited about teaching your child’s letters," Kaltwasser said.

Logbooks are available to help people keep track of the books they read and there are prizes for hitting milestones along the way. To participate, people may follow along with the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Timmins Facebook page.