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Reading at Home

Why is reading at home with your child important?  

Reading aloud to your child could help improve literacy, reading comprehension, and even family togetherness. Here at the West Chicago Public Library District (WCPLD), we are dedicated to promoting youth learning and early literacy for the proven benefits it could have for young people, families, and our entire community. 

What are the benefits of reading with your child? 

  • Supported cognitive development. 
  • Improved language skills. 
  • Preparation for academic success. 
  • Developing a special bond with your child. 
  • Increased concentration and discipline. 
  • Improved imagination and creativity. 
  • Cultivating a lifelong love of reading. 

How We Could Help You

Whether your child is an infant, still learning their ABCs or tackling chapter books on their own, the West Chicago Public Library District’s Youth Services department is here to help you find the right books and materials for your child.  We are by your side, ready to help at all ages and stages! 

Grow a Reader with our Early Learning Kits

You are your child’s first teacher, so let us help you grow your reader right from the start with our specially crafted early learning kits (for ages birth to 5 years old). WCPLD has over 50 Early Learning kits available in both English and Spanish.  Each kit contains books, toys, puppets, pretend play supplies/prompts, puzzles, and much more!  All our kits come with a parent’s tip sheet suggesting further reading for you and your child, how to use the kit with your child at what age, and extension activities that introduce basic math, writing, science skills, and art activities.  Being such an important teacher to your child can seem daunting for many parents, but we are here to help you through it! Our dedicated Youth Services staff are experts in youth literacy, storytime, and all the things necessary to grow your young reader. To learn more about our Early Learning kits contact your Youth Services department or click here to see which Early Learning kits are currently available for check out. 

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

This early literacy program is designed for children from birth through the first day of kindergarten. Reading with your child strengthens your bond and provides them with the skills they need to learn to read. Numerous studies have established that a child’s brain develops most rapidly during the first 1,000 days of life. A toddler’s brain could create as many as two million new connections every second!  

Early experiences and interactions are a key factor in a child’s brain development. The ability to learn language skills is greatest before the age of six, providing the perfect window for your young one to become a reader. Early literacy skills have a lifelong impact on educational and occupational success. According to many experts, the single most important predictor of school success is being read to at home during early childhood. 

We invite you and your child to participate in this free program which encourages you to read 1,000 books with your children before they start kindergarten. Patrons and their children who complete the challenge will receive a completion prize and certificate. Visit the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten website to learn more about this national early literacy initiative.   

While 1,000 books may seem like a monumental task, if you and your child read just one book a night, you will read 365 books in a year. In two years, that number will grow to 730. In the third year, you will surpass the goal at 1,095 books. Given that most children start kindergarten at age 5 or 6, you have more time than you think, and it is never too late to start! 

Why Should My Child and I Read 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten? 

Studies have shown that reading with your child provides a prime opportunity for bonding. Reading together is fun and will create life-long memories for both of you, whether you are reading books your family owns, picking them out on a visit to the library, or downloading them onto an e-reader device from any of the free services we offer in our Digital Library. Many experts agree that children who learn necessary literacy skills early, do better in school and later in life. Participating in 1000 Books Before Kindergarten could help put your child on the right track.

How Do I Start the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program? 

Use this link to access the digital reading log for 1000 Books before Kindergarten.

  • Stop by the Youth Services desk to sign up.  You will receive a welcome bag and folder with all the information you need to get you and your child started on your reading journey! 
  • Pick out books at home or at the library and start reading to your pre-kindergarten age child today (this is one of our favorite parts)! 
  • Keep track of the titles of the books you read or that a caregiver or family member might read to your child. 
  • Bring each completed 100-book log to the Youth Services department to receive your next log and a prize.  Your book logs will make a great keepsake for your child later.

Attending storytime or participating in the Summer or Winter Reading Programs at the Library also counts towards your total! While we always encourage people to read different and new stories, fully exploring our collection, we understand that your may have some favorites they just can’t get enough of. Don’t worry, each reread still counts towards your 1,000 book total! Many of our participating parents hang on to their reading logs as keepsake of the time spent reading with their child. 

What happens when we complete 1,000 books? 

After reading 1,000 books before kindergarten, your child will receive a special completion award and certificate for display in your home.  Best of all, you and your child could enjoy the feeling pride of accomplishment of reaching this goal, and the priceless memories made reaching it together. 

Storytimes at Home

Can’t make it to our storytimes every week or missed a past one?  Did your kid want to experience the storytime again?  We’re here for you! Cozy up with your little ones, their favorite stuffed friends and blankets in your favorite reading nook and try some of these ideas right in the comfort of your own home.  Together, you could check out an Early Learning kit, or try out our DIY storytime suggestions. Keep reading to learn more about the free resources we offer to enjoy with your child at home, or check out some of the other resources specifically offered for parents, teachers, and homeschoolers!

Specialized Book Bundles

We are happy to create individualized lists and put together materials to support your child’s reading pleasure, you just need to let us know how to help, and come pick it up once we’ve put together a customized bundle that’s just right for your reader!  For more information on this time-saving service, contact the Youth Services department or click this link to fill out our Book Bundle form. The more information you provide to us, the more we can tailor the bundle to contain resources your child will really want. 

Our Digital Services

We have a wealth of resources for you and your young readers to use from home.  Whatever age, stage, or mood your young reader is in, we probably have (and certainly could get for you)  a variety of resources that could help! Our digital library contains tons of tools, apps, and resources covering almost every subject imaginable. Below are a few of our favorite digital tools for kids and parents! 

Databases for Kids

Not sure what to read next, or is your kid asking all sorts of questions about how the world works again?  Check out our databases just for emerging and independent readers. These resources are created with kids, and their curiosity, in mind. Each database has a wealth of information on thousands of subjects, all at an appropriate level that is easy for young readers to take in. These resources are a great way to ensure your child is finding accurate, age-appropriate, academic information. Our kids databases could help your student with research for school, or just answering their burning questions when they just have to know how something works! Keep reading to learn more about the powerful database tools we offer for kids. 

Check out our eBooks or listen to Audiobooks for free from home using Digital Library of Illinois (Overdrive, formerly Axis 360) or ERead Illinois to access the Illinois Digital Library. There are thousands of titles right at your fingertips including books, magazines and more for kids.  All you need is your West Chicago Public Library card!  Do you have questions?  Need us to walk you through the process?  Give us a call, send us an email, or drop by the library, we’re happy to help! 

Overdrive ERead IL

TumbleBooks are animated, talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading in a format they will love. This digital programs are created by taking existing picture books, adding animation, sound, music, and narration to produce an electronic picture book which you can read, or have read to you. The sounds, lights, and movement could help even reluctant readers to jump in! TumbleBooks often also include fun puzzles & games, world language learning, non-fiction titles, and even graphic novels. 


Is your child not sure what they want to read next, are you not sure this is the right book for your child, uncertain what the Lexile score isThen use this database to find good reads for your elementary-aged children.  Includes Lexile scores, reviews, genres, and themes*Access anywhere with your valid library card and PIN.  

Novelist K-8 Plus

Primary Search With full text for over 80 of the most popular elementary school magazines, Primary Search is designed for elementary school children. 

Primary Search

Whatever age or stage your child is at, the dedicated staff of the West Chicago Public Library District’s Youth Services Department could help you access the resources necessary to start reading at home with your child.

From early literacy exercises to get your kid started right as a reader, to databases that will help your child explore the world around them, we could be your team, helping you navigate your child to literacy, academic success, and fulfillment. If you have any questions about reading at home, or our early literacy materials, please contact us at 1-(630)-231-1552 ext. 117, send us an email at, or drop by and visit us in person. See you at the library!