In January of 2017, Smyrna Public Library launched its “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” reading incentive program. The program challenges families of preschool-aged children to read 1,000 books before the first day of Kindergarten. The objective is to encourage families to make literacy a priority and to expose their children to the written word and language in order to prepare them to be independent readers.
Hearing words (lots of words) and language in context is important for literacy. Studies show that children with rich parents are exposed to 30 million more words by the age of 3 than less affluent peers. This “word gap” affects school readiness. “Proficiency in oral language provides children with a vital tool for thought. Without fluent and structured oral language, children will find it very difficult to think.” (Jerome Bruner, Child’s Talk: Learning to Use Language)
“I love the ‘1,000 books Before Kindergarten’ program because it’s a great incentive for the family to read together. We definitely read a lot more now since starting,” noted Susana Jennings, mother of Jackson, age 2.
To date, 374 children have signed up for the program at Smyrna Public Library. Eighteen have already completed their 1,000 books. Children who successfully complete the program receive a certificate, their name on the wall in the children’s department of the library, and a coupon for a free ice cream for the whole family to celebrate.
The ice cream certificates are generously donated by Dairy Queen at 1641 Spring Rd SE, Smyrna. Dairy Queen Spring Road has been a tremendous supporter of the Library’s Youth Services programming.
Smyrna's Strategic Vision Plan represents the goals and values of the community. It lays out specific initiatives as well as broad goals that the city should work toward. The original 2014 plan identified 52 initiatives to pursue over 10 years. The city's vision plan has been further updated by the Comprehensive Plan adopted in October 2017 which lays out a 25-year vision.