If you follow me on social media, you know that this week me and my daughter completed reading 120 books, since last March. This is ofcourse not the exact number of books she has read/heard so far. I have been reading to her since she was 3 days old (The Magic Faraway Tree book 1 was her first book!), and we haven’t looked back since then.
Being a bookworm myself, the one thing I wished I would live to see, was my daughter loving books. My wish came true the first time I saw her sitting in her room quietly, surrounded by numerous open books while she picture read a book wide-eyed. She was an 18 month old at the time. The house had suddenly gone quiet and when I went looking for her, really worried of course, I saw this scene! My heart melted and she didn’t even realize I was in the room. That day has been engraved in my heart and mind and whenever I am upset with her over something, I assure myself that at least she loves books!
You may ask what is the big deal? The big deal is that (and if you were an avid reader you would know!), if you love reading, you weave in and out of worlds without even moving. Okay, that sounded lazy, but you know what I mean. Books take you into another world and just reading a simple novel can impart more knowledge than scrolling through social media for hours. Honestly, you have to try it to know what I am talking about.
I eventually built a library (more like a large book collection) for her. But somehow that was not enough and I wanted an app like Goodreads so that once she grows up she can look back and see what she had read. Making a Goodreads account for her was a good idea, but I cannot log into multiple accounts at once (and my account is too precious to log out of, so that was inconvenient.
I searched a lot and came across today’s star app “1000 books before Kindergarten”. It is not only an app but a whole Foundation run in Nevada, USA. Read more about it here.
The app basically allows you to add multiple readers to an account (all your kids can go into one account) and shows each reader’s reading progress on the home screen. There are 2 options under every reader. “Finished a book” to mark a book that has been read, and “Reading List” to just go through the list of books you have completed reading in chronological order.
The next tab is for “Library”. You can either search for a book you have already added to the library, and read it’s details by clicking on it, or you can add new books. Once you click on the search box, the “Add New Book” button appears. Upon clicking it gives you 2 options to add books, “search for book” or “scan a book”.
I love the “scan a book” option as I can add multiple books just by scanning their barcodes. For “search a book” you can either just add the book name, or add the author and/or ISBN.
Sometimes books are not already in their database. In this case you have the option of adding the book manually. You can simply take a photo of the cover. Add the title and whatever details you like and it will be added to your library.
Then there is the “About” tab that tells us about the program and explains how it works. And finally the “Account” tab, where you can update your account info, change the password or sign out.
The app does lag a little, but overall it works seamlessly and does the job pretty pretty well! I have been using the app for exactly a year now and have had no issues. They encourage you to keep tabs on whatever is being read to your child at school or by relatives etc so that all books can be logged into the app and you have a nearly accurate number.
The 1000 books before Kindergarten Foundation website enumerates the many benefits of reading to your newborn, infant and toddler and why they stress on having read 1000 books before kindergarten, but one of them and I think the most important one is bonding. The time I read to my daughter (and even she knows and values) is priceless for me, almost sacred. When I look back now, the most precious times we have had together were during reading a book or while discussing one.
Being a working parent, one thing I made sure I did (and most of the time it helped with the guilt of being away), was read to her. And because shift work means, I cannot always be there at bedtime, I never made reading a bedtime thing. We read anytime in my home, first thing in the morning or just before snoozing. In fact, I have even used it to put her to sleep during naps!
How often do you read to your kids? Do you use an app to monitor their reading? I would love to hear all about it!