Preparing Minnesota's workforce begins before kindergarten starts. Children who are school ready when they start kindergarten are more likely to grow up to be productive in the workplace, a key to economic growth. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota's most recent school readiness initiative is 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. This program, in collaboration with 15 area libraries, parents to read aloud at least 1,000 books with their children before they enter kindergarten. Summer is a great time for families to get started! Participating libraries include: Balaton, Canby, Clarkfield, Cottonwood, Dawson, Fulda, Ivanhoe, Granite Falls, Lake Benton, Marshall-Lyon County, Minneota, Slayton, Tracy, Tyler and Westbrook. Enrollment into the program is ongoing and can be done directly at your local library.