Library Launches Early Literacy Initiative

500 by 5 logo with copyright (400 x 309)Queen Anne’s County Library’s “500 by Five” initiative challenges children to read 500 books by the time they turn 5 years old.

Reading logs are available at both the Centreville and Kent Island Branches. A new book will be given to each child, from birth through age 4, who signs up. Adults can write down titles of book as they read with their children. For every 10 books read, a square is colored on a tracking chart. When 50 squares are colored or 500 books listed, children will receive a paper crown craft and have their picture placed on the library’s “500 by Five Wall of Fame.”

The initiative began in Calvert Library and spread throughout Southern Maryland Regional Libraries, where some children completed their 500 books in a matter of months. Other families pace the program to last throughout the first few years of a child’s life.

Reading with young children on a daily basis is a lifetime gift for everyone that:
• builds a stronger relationship between adult and child
• increases basic speech and communication skills
• improves logical thinking
• increases vocabulary
• enhances concentration and discipline
• helps ease transitions to major milestones or other potentially stressful experiences
• promotes school readiness
• encourages a love of learning

Reading together is also fun! Parents, grandparents, day care providers, and pre-school teachers are all invited to sign children up for “500 by Five.”

According to Ready at Five, 82% of Maryland’s children enter kindergarten fully school-ready. That number increases to 88% in Queen Anne’s County, according to 2012-2013 data, with 73% fully ready in the language and literacy domain of learning. Full data is available at Ready At Five is a self-sustaining, board-designated program of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education.

Lifelong learning is a primary role of the public library. The Queen Anne’s County Library supports parents and caregivers as they develop early literacy skills in children from birth to age five. Research from the American Library Association reinforces the beliefs that: reading is an essential life skill, learning to read begins at birth, and parents and caregivers are a child’s first and best teachers.

For more information about library events, please contact the Kent Island Branch Library, 200 Library Circle, Stevensville at (410) 643-8161 or the Centreville Branch, 121 S. Commerce St. at (410) 758-0980, or visit the website at