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1,000 books before kindergarten

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 SARAH BEACH

The News-Democrat Intern

Aiden Lilley, 5, was the first person to complete the Carroll County Public Library program called “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.”

While children of ages one to five are elligible for the program, Lilley was already five before he began. This left him only from January to August to read the allotted 1,000 books.

He completed the task in July, a full month before the start of school, when he would enter kindergarten and be too old to participate.

Lilley has his own library card which he used to check out most of the books he read. He learned to read from Michelle Long, his teacher at First Baptist Church Preschool. He said that his favorite books were “Curious George” books. Every time a child in the program reads 100 books, they receive a free book, meaning Lilley has acquired 10 new books during the course of the program.

Lilley’s grandmother, Debbie Wilhoite, read many of the books with him. “We had a bond,” she said. “We read together. It’s the best program ever.”

Wilhoite said that it only takes 15 to 30 minutes a day to read with a child, and the benefits are huge.

Youth Librarian Leslie Sutherland said that 150 children, ages one to five,  are currently participating in the program.

So far they have collectively read 13,300 books, which means that the library has given away 133 free books. The library has also given away 17 books as birthday gifts to those children who have had their birthday during the program.