Sisters read 1,000 books before Kindergarten

Brielle and Zoey Matthews are the first children to read 1,000 books before Kindergarten, as part of a national literacy program sponsored by the Northumberland Public Library.

Every 100 books, the children brought in their 1000BooksB4K reading log and received a special little prize, reported children’s programs coordinator Jan Bates.

“But the biggest prize of all was hearing all those stories,” said Bates.

Natalie Matthews, Brielle and Zoey’s mother, is the computer lab teacher at the Northumberland Elementary School. She said being at school every day is an advantage because she is able to check out lots of books and carry them home for the girls. She started at the beginning of the first shelf in the picture book area and just kept right on going from shelf to shelf, reading and reading.

NES library staff started pulling books they thought the girls would enjoy to add to her daily stash. The family also makes frequent visits to NPL, where they are still discovering books they have not yet read, said Bates.

Natalie Matthews said they girls read right after school, while cooking dinner, before bedtime, waiting for their big brother “Q” to start his basketball game, at halftimes….whenever and wherever they could fit in a book, they did.

Even Q Matthews got into the mix, as he delighted the girls with his own take on books, changing his voice to match the characters in the stories, said Natalie Matthews.

“The girls love it when Q reads to them using his ‘funny’ voices,” she said.

“This family is a real inspiration for other families in our community,” said Bates.

She encourages all families of preschoolers to strive to read 1000 books before Kindergarten. Anyone can sign up and start any time.

“As a retired reading teacher, I can report that children who go through this program will definitely be at an advantage over those who have not been read to when they begin school” she said. “It’s fun and starts a love of reading that will continue for a lifetime.”

To get started, visit NPL, 7204 Northumberland Highway, Heathsville, or call 580-5051.