Our Mission

Our goal is for all children to have books in the home and to have heard 1000 books by age 5. For children’s literacy, listening to books as a baby and toddler is one of the most important activities that a child will ever do. Handling books, listening to stories and enjoying time spent with an important adult builds language, imagination, and many important connections in the developing brain

1000×5 Children’s Literacy Team

Early Exposure To Books is Critical For Development

Begun in 2008 on the Peninsula, 1000X5 has grown to include families all across the capital region – from the tip of the Peninsula to the water’s edge in Victoria and out into the Western Communities: 1000X5 operates within 13 municipalities!

With help from people like you, we bring children’s literacy into more homes. Every month we donate over 1600 books for babies and toddlers. We invite families donate picture books; organise volunteers to sort and gift package; ensure our partners meet with parents and young children to distribute books to children. 1000×5 and you are creating real change for the children in the Capital Region. 

Why 1000x5

Reading to babies and young children daily is the single most important variable in literacy development. And literacy is the single most important variable in economic and social success. Many South Island families own few books.

Children begin to develop literacy skills at the same time as language skills: in early infancy. Handling books, hearing stories, enjoying time with books is vital to the development of children’s literacy. Families need books in the home to provide their children with this opportunity. 1000X5 is helping hundreds of children to become a member of the literacy club.

What We Do

Books are the key to success. We rely on donations from families and supporters of gently used books for babies and preschoolers at local elementary schools. Our partners also donate books or provide financial assistance so that we can purchase books. Our volunteers meet weekly to clean and sort the donated books. We use gift bags to convey the value of the books.

Books are carefully sorted into three age groups so that each child will receive books which are developmentally appropriate and engaging. The gift bags are then distributed to Strong Start Centres and various agencies that work with families. These organizations get the books into the homes of families with young children.

1000x5 Locations

Our leadership team and 20+ volunteers oversee 1000x5 in the the Capital Region, covering the Westshore, Victoria and the Peninsula. These three areas have distinct projects that operate with respected host agencies with charitable registration status.

Partnering For Success

1000X5 partners with 24 agencies offering about 60 programs to families. Within these programs, agency professionals give a child a bag of 3 books each month. Often, they take this opportunity to model the importance of early reading and to suggest a variety of ways to use (bedtime routines, relieving stressful moments, playful bonding…)

Agency leaders are beyond delighted to be partnered with 1000X5 in the Capital Region. We provide a resource previously unavailable to them. All program providers see first hand the common denominator of reduced literacy in the adults with whom they work and consequently the fewer literacy opportunities for their children.  Absolutely every agency leader has reported stories of how the books for children have been gently introduced to a hesitant adult and how patterns have changed in the home.

Get Involved

Through helping 1000×5, you are ensuring that we continue to give the gift of literacy to children all over the Capital Region. As an efficient community based charity, you can be assured that any donations or help you give to us goes right back into your promoting literacy in our community. We have programs in 3 locations: 1000×5 Victoria, 1000×5 Westshore and 1000×5 Peninsula.


A Mom of a past preschooler approached me to let me know just how 1000x5 and our preschool had helped her and her son through a difficult time.  1000x5 gave them the books needed to bond. The books came as a gift from the heart with no strings  attached. They found some sense of solace in being able to share the stories together, often taking them to a land of fantasy and better times. Mom and son looked forward to the evenings of sharing and at some points laughter. She would tell me books are expensive and with thanks to 1000x5 and our preschool program they are in a better place with goals to move ahead while still loving and learning from the gift of books. Mom beams with pride and appreciation of these two groups.

From an Early Childhood Educator

Families value the books provided by 1000 x 5 because they want the best for their children and they generally understand that reading, being read to and the world of stories is important.  They also appreciate the quality of books in terms of selection, condition and packaging.  We know this because parents tell us so.  We also see the positive reaction to the books when we offer them to parents using the services of our Food Bank. 

Partnering with 1000x5 has allowed the Mustard Seed to promote literacy with low income families who might otherwise not have regular access to quality books.  We tend to see many people on a regular basis who might not be connected to other resources such as the library.  1000 x 5 books have enhanced our service to the community by combining childhood literacy with emergency food supplies.   Recent information from 1000x5 stated that the Mustard Seed has distributed over 50,000 books to children under 6 years of age over the past few years through 1000 x 5 – that is amazing and wonderful news! 

The Mustard Seed

Artemis Young Parent Program supports pregnant teens and young parents in a nurturing community while also providing a safe, stimulating environment for their children. In the on-site licensed infant/toddler centre the staff of experienced Early Childhood Educators provide care for 12 children along with building respectful, trusting relationships with their families. We have greatly appreciated being a part of the 1000x5 book project. The children love getting new books each month and it’s always a gift to watch a mom sit down with her child to read together - for some of them this wasn’t an activity they experienced in their own childhood. We want to thank all of you for your generousity, time and work in organizing this project.

Artemis Young Parent Program

For 8 years, we have had a pink bin at our front door in which to collect books to send to 1000X5. It has become a familiar sight to see parents or children tipping books into that bin. We send newsletter updates that Eileen provides and sometimes mention the bin on the announcements. One of the most moving moments was when a student arrived in the office, saying “I just had a birthday and got lots of presents. I want to give something away.” and deposited a few books into the bin. We know how important books are to all kids, but especially in the early years. Thank you 1000x5 for all that you do to help more children enter school ready and happy to learn. 

Elementary Principal

Victoria Native Friendship Centre families have received in excess of 8,000 books since the inception of 1000 by 5.  What a gift this has been for our families! Each month the families, particularly the children, look forward to picking out new books to take home

I have noticed that parents are reading more to their children in the centre, which in the past was something that rarely happened in public.  The children are demanding to hear the stories that they have chosen and the parents are obliging. What this indicates to me is two things.  One, the attachment between child and parent is stronger and two, that reading is taking precedence over the other toys and stimulus in the room.  Both are amazing outcomes for our parents and their children. We can’t thank you and the people who take the time to package the books each month for the gift of words.

Victoria Native Friendship Centre

Thank you so much for all of your hard work on 1000 x 5.  This program makes such a difference for our Strong Start children and their families.  We so appreciate all of the support that you provide in ensuring that these wonderful books get in the hands of our wee Strong Start children.  Congratulations on your milestone of 130,000 That means 130,000 opportunities for early learners in our community to be confident, enthusiastic readers in the future.

Strong Start

Talking about 1000x5 and offering books to families helps promote early literacy at home. Some families in our postnatal groups have expressed that the books received through 1000x5 are the first books that baby reads/plays with.  Parents tell me their children love the books. Parents get baby books at a time when they might not have taken their babies to the library yet or tried to get any books for them so they are encouraging literacy at a younger age.  The parents see the pleasure babies get from books.

Esquimalt Neighbourhood House

Wow, awesome work.  Congratulations.  The books we get here at Vic West disappear to smiling people as quick as we can stock them up so keep up the great work.  Plus, we have a book exchange here so we do see books return and get shared around the neighbourhood. Could we get some books some time for our special events? We share your passion for increasing literacy in young children and find many times to share that with families.

Vic West Community Centre

As a Public Health Nurse, it is an amazing gift to be able to give books to families when we meet them at the Health Unit or do a Home Visit. It opens up the conversation for families to talk about reading with their children. It also allows us to role model for parents who may not be reading frequently at home. Sometimes I encourage parents to talk about the pictures or colours in a book if the child doesn’t want to sit and listen to the story. We know that this special time for children is essential to their literacy and future learning skills. Thank you to all the volunteers and people who make the 1000x5 program happen. I hope we can continue to recycle books in our community and get them into the hands of families with young children.

A Public Health Nurse


Books In Hands Of Young Children

Volunteer Hours Sorting Books

Children taking Home Books Monthly

Agencies Distributing Books To Families

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