Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer Reading Wrap Up and Reflection: Children's Edition

After 8 weeks of storytimes, programs, and general craziness our summer reading program is finally over. I always feel a mixture of sadness and relief: sadness that summer is almost at an end, but relief that I finally have a moment to exhale.

How We Did It:
This year we had record-breaking summer reading numbers. We had 1,568 children in grade preschool to 5 sign up to play our summer reading game with over 102 different schools participating. We even had a child or two from out of state sign up! Of those 1,568 kids here are the ones who finished their reading logs:

The Rock Wall of Fame
Being a small, independent library we do a LOT for our summer reading game. Here's a list of all of our activities:

1. The Summer Reading Log: This is the basis of our summer reading program. When the kids register they receive their Reading Log where they keep track of the time they read over the 8 weeks. At 5, 10, 15, and 20 hours they receive a different prize. After 20 hours of reading they also get their picture taken and posted on our bulletin board. Because this year's theme was "Dig Into Reading" we had the Rock Wall of Fame (pictured above). Then they can either continue reading with extra reading log sheets or they can choose to stop playing altogether.

2. The Game Board: Every summer I am tasked with creating a poster-sized game board. Every hour that the kids read, they get to take 1 turn on the game board where they could land on one of the following spaces:

  • Trivia - They have to answer an easy trivia question correctly to receive an entry form for our weekly prize drawing
  • Fun Sheet - We print out a different fun sheet (a.k.a. activity sheet) each week from the SRP Manual. It could be a word search, maze, coloring sheet, etc.
  • Enter the Weekly Prize Drawing 
  • Enter the Grand Prize Drawing
  • Instant Prize - They receive an instant prize from our ginormous bin at the Children's Desk. Prizes are small and include lots of things from the Highsmith catalog.
  • Roll Again
  • Go Back 2 Spaces
  • Go Forward 2 Space
  • Resting Spaces - This is where we advertise some of our series programming.
Our Game Board
3. The Mascot: Every summer, we choose a character mascot that goes along with the summer reading theme. This year, it was Diary of a Worm, Spider, and Fly:
We hide them in a different part of the library each week. The kids have to locate them to receive a stamp on a special log we create. This year we called it the Nightcrawler Notebook. At the end of the 8 weeks, they turn their logs in and we do a drawing where one lucky winner gets the mascot.

4. Movie and Pizza Party: Every time our registered participants come in to the library during the summer reading game, they get to fill out an entry form for a chance to win a movie and a pizza party for them and 4 of their friends at the library. 

We also had a plethora of program offerings for children this summer which included:
  • Campfire Storytimes
  • A potato garden/french fry party on our patio
  • Spy Academy for tweens
  • Superhero Training Academy for K-5
  • A digging animals program with the Akron Zoo
  • Movie nights with ice cream provided by one of our local businesses
How Did It Go?:
Our children's summer reading program is always huge! It's a constant stream of kids coming in to play on the game board, find the mascot, collect prizes, etc. There normally isn't a lot of time to get anything else done at the desk. This summer was no exception. Luckily, we utilize some older children/teen volunteers to run the game board for us, but we are still extremely busy. I know the kids love all of the activities we do for them over the summer, but sometimes near the middle I feel like we all suffer from a bit of burnout. Some days the only thing that keeps me peppy is the excitement of the kids coming into the library. We also over-programmed a bit this summer, which probably contributed to the exhaustion.

Normally, we would get a break during the month of August to recuperate and decompress from the summer. However, our supervisor applied for our library to receive a Harry Potter Traveling Exhibit, which can be viewed here. They are huge panels that detail the science, medicine, and magic found in the Harry Potter books. Thus, we were all tasked with coming up with a Harry Potter program to do with grades 3 to 8. I am planning a Potions program at the end of the month, which I'll do a write up about after it's finished.

What was your summer reading experience? What kinds of programs/activities do you offer for your patrons? Do you get a break in August?

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