1,000 Books Before School

What is 1,000 Books Before School?

1,000 Books Before School is a self-guided, early literacy programme which encourages regular reading to babies and toddlers (newborn to five). The program begins when your child is born and finishes once your child reaches 1,000 books, or turns five years old. 


Reading aloud to your babies and young children for just 10 minutes (approximately 3 books) each day provides them with a significant increase in their readiness for school, exposure to diverse vocabulary, amazing opportunities for snuggles and bonding with caregivers, and sets the stage for an early and long-lasting love of literacy. 

Other benefits include:

  • connecting with other parents at our library programmes
  • opportunities to take notice and slow down to enjoy these fleeting moments
  • teaching your children about the library and saving you money!

Who can participate?

The programme is open to all members of the Queenstown Lakes District Libraries and it’s free! Library membership is free too!  If you're not already a Library member, you can join here. And when you're ready to sign up your child to 1000 Books Before School, head to our online sign up form here.

How do I join the 1,000 Books Programme?

  1. First register online here.
  2. Decide how you would like to record your books; you can:
    * Visit your local library and pick up our booklet with reading logs;
    * Or if you'd like to avoid paper, use the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten app.
  3. Start reading! Borrow books from the library, & join us for our Wriggle & Rhyme and Preschool Storytimes.
  4. Each time you reach 100 books in your reading record, visit one of our friendly librarians for a special achievement sticker!
  5. Join us for our 1,000 Books Before School library celebrations!!
  6. Don't forget to let us know when you finish the programme by completing our online form here.


Can I count books that I have already read to my child before I registered?

Unfortunately not, only start counting the books from the day you receive your booklet. 

Do you have any book recommendations?

We have a brief list of books by age group to get you started, just click here.

My child likes to read the same book over and over again. How do I count that?

Repetition is hugely important for learning and each time you read any book it counts!  If you read the same book 27 times, mark or colour in 27 circles.

What books count? Do only library books count? 

No way!  Any time your child listens to an entire book, it counts! Library books, books at home, books read at preschool or kindy, even an audio book or books read on our online TumbleBooks or Nat Geo for Kids

How do I record books?

We offer two options for recording books, these are:

  • The 1,000 Books Before School booklet - filled with inspiring tips, some reading suggestions, and a spot to pop your milestone stickers. Pop into the library to get a copy.
  • The 1,000 Books Before Kindegarten app - this app was created by the 1,000 Books Foundation. 

Is it really possible to read 1,000 Books before my child turns 5???


If you read 1 book per day, after THREE years you will have read 1,095 books!

If you read 3 books per day, at the end of ONE year, you will have read 1,095 books!

My child turned 5 but hasn’t started school yet. Can we keep doing the programme?

The programme runs from birth and ends when your child turns 5 OR starts school-whichever happens first. Generally, children start school on their fifth birthday, but some parents might delay their start.  Either way, the programme runs until 5 years or until school starts – whichever is first.

My child finished 1,000 books! Can we participate again? 

Congratulations! Make sure you let us know you have completed by filling out this online form.

And yes, families can participate as many times as they like, before their child turns 5 or starts school. 

A big thank you to our generous sponsors