“Literature is the most immortal part of history,” 4-year-old Daliyah Marie Arana says in a YouTube video in which she reads a college-level speech.
If that seems like an advanced vocabulary for a child who has not yet reached kindergarten to you, you’re right. But developing a stellar vocabulary is inevitable when you’ve read as many books as Daliyah has.
The Gainesville, Georgia, girl has already read over 1,000 books, according to CBS 46. Her passion for reading caught the attention of Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress who invited Daliyah to shadow her as “librarian for the day.”
It was a dream come true for the girl, who comes from a family of readers. As an infant, she listened to her parents and older siblings books out loud every day and by 18 months old she had begun recognizing words in the books her mom read to her.
At that point, “she wanted to take over and do the reading on her own,” her mother, Haleema Arana, told The Washington Post.
Daliyah read her first book on her own one month before her third birthday.
After that, Haleema got the idea to sign her daughter up for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, which the pair learned about last year on one of their trips to the local library.
Daliyah has already reached the program’s 1,000 book goal, and hopes to have read 1,500 by the time she starts kindergarten this fall. She has her own library card and wants to become a librarian when she grows up.
“I like to check out books every day,” Daliyah told the Gainesville Times. “And I want to teach other kids to read at an early age, too.”
While Daliyah hasn’t yet had her reading level tested, she is able to read her 10 and 12-year-old siblings’ books. On YouTube, she can be seen reading the college-level text “The Pleasure of Books” by William L Phelps and pronouncing words like “punctiliousness.”
After Daliyah was invited to serve as “librarian for a day” at her local library, her mom wrote to Carla Hayden, the first woman and the first African American to hold the title of Librarian of Congress. The library responded with an invitation for Daliyah and her family to spend the day with Hayden.
Daliyah wore a bright pink dress with matching bow for the occasion and spent the day touring the children’s section of the library, sitting in on executive meetings and –of course—reading to Hayden and other library staff.
“She just kept saying how the Library of Congress is her most favorite, favorite, favorite library in the whole wide world,” Haleema told The Post.