The Vineyard Haven library has a new program where every opportunity to read aloud to a child, from the time they are born through kindergarten, becomes a valuable tool in documenting their earliest learning experience.

The 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program can begin at any time and at any age and all the tools you need to get started are already prepared, thanks to a grant from the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard and support from Friends of the Vineyard Haven Library.

Library director Amy Ryan wrote the initial grant after learning about the program through the Mashpee library.

“We want to help prepare children for reading in school,” Ms. Ryan said. “We went to the Permanent Endowment of Martha’s Vineyard to produce the notebooks and to help us give incentives as they reach levels of completion.”

The program comes with its own heavy binder with a bright illustration courtesy of Cape Cod children’s author Martha Day Zschock. Inside the book, parents and caregivers will find a log for the first 100 books read. Every time they complete 100 books and bring the log to the library, they’ll receive an incentive, such as a pass for overdue fines or other bonuses.

“We’ll be doing things all along to recognize those that complete the program,” Ms. Ryan said. “One of the goals of our long-range planning is to support early childhood literacy, and children who are read to come into school with more success, even if you’re reading the same book over and over.”

The binder includes tips from the American Library Association on passing down a love of reading from parents to children. Even the simplest storybooks and songs provide an opportunity to bond through language, Ms. Ryan explained. And every book counts, no matter who reads to the children.

“Studies have been done about the skills gained by listening and interacting with books,” she said.

Parents are their children’s first teachers, she explained, and each time a parent reads to, plays with or sings to a child it enhances the child’s language development.

Ms. Ryan said if 1,000 books seems a like a lot, when you do the math, the number really isn’t so intimidating.

“Reading three books a day for a one year is more than a thousand books, or one book a day for three years,” she said.

The library program is open to all Island children and can also be adapted for those more technologically inclined.

“You can print out your own materials at home or you can download an app for the program on your smartphone,” Ms. Ryan said. “Every book counts, even if they’re listening on the computer or iPad.”

For more information, parents can visit, or visit the Vineyard Haven library.