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Library of Congress Honors 4-Year-Old Who Read 1,000 Books

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Some children dream of becoming an astronaut or the president. Daliyah Arana wants to be a librarian. At four years old, the youngster has already read more than 1,000 books, so working at a library certainly seems like a natural fit.

Daliyah has been participating in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program since she was two years old. That’s when she first started to take the reins from her mother, who has made a habit of reading to her daughter every day. 

Now that Daliyah is four, she can read entirely on her own. In fact, you can see Daliyah on YouTube reading a college-level text called “The Pleasure of Books” by William L. Phelps. She adorably enunciates five-syllable words like a pro.

Daliyah’s achievement caught the eye of another big reader. Carla Hayden, the nation’s Librarian of Congress, heard Daliyah’s story and invited her to the Library of Congress. Visiting the world’s largest library was a dream of the young girl. She got to shadow Hayden and be “librarian for a day.”

The two wondered the halls of the huge library, meeting staff along the way. Daliyah was in heaven. When she met the children’s librarians, they asked her if she had any suggestions for the library. Daliyah answered that they could put white boards in the hallways, so children could practice writing on them. The librarians said they would try to get it done.

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Carla Hayden/Twitter

While the Library of Congress is Daliyah’s “most favorite, favorite, favorite library in the whole wide world,” she also has a local favorite. She goes to the Hall County Library in her native Gainesville, Georgia. Her library card has allowed her to check out hundreds of books for free there.

If you’re afraid that Daliyah is peaking too soon in life, don’t worry. The 4-year-old has even bigger plans for her future. First, she wants to finish 1,5000 books before she starts kindergarten. Once she gets to kindergarten, she wants to help the teacher teach other children to read.

From there, she would like to be a paleontologist some day (if anybody can be a paleontologist and a librarian at the same time, we’re sure it’s Daliyah). She loves dinosaurs and would like an opportunity to unearth fossils.

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11 Alive

Daliyah also has the goal of reading in Spanish. Her father, Miguel, speaks Spanish fluently and is teaching it to his young daughter. She still can’t read it fluently, but she knows some words and is learning fast. We’re sure it’s only a matter of time until Daliyah is devouring books in two languages.

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. The program attempts to make reading more fun by having children keep track of their progress. Kids can count books that are read to them, as well as books that they read more than once. The goal of the program is simply to increase children’s exposure to books. Reading just one book per day for three years easily gets children to the 1,000 book mark. Consistency is the key.

Haleema hopes that Daliyah’s story will inspire other children to read. She said that Daliyah’s accomplishment and the recognition of it had special significance on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The young girl celebrated the holiday by reading Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” at a school near Atlanta.

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Carla Hayden/Twitter

We’re excited that this young scholar has been thrust into the spotlight. We can’t wait to hear about her accomplishments in the future.

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