Thursday, March 8, 2012

Is it summer yet?

No sight is more provocative of awe than is the night sky. ~Llewelyn Powys

It may not be summer, but it's time for me to start thinking about the summer reading program.  The beginning of March, and I'm fast forwarding to June. 

It's all about creatures of the night this year.  Or dreams.  Or space.  Or something.  The only thing I know at this point in time is that it's going to be fun.  I love bats, owls, stars, dreams, and reading.  I've got to come up with a project for six weeks of summer fun.  I already know one of the weeks.  Owls.  We actually made some last week for story hour, and again this week, since it was a different group of kids.  It occurred to me after we finished them last week that they could be made again this summer for the DREAM BIG READ program. 

I passed around an example of our owl creations at our Kick Off  For Summer Reading meeting last week.  With a little imagination and some inspiration from pinterest, we made some owls out of book parts.  When you're at a meeting with other people who are involved with children's literature, it isn't terribly surprising that attention was paid to the book that was used in our creation.  One copy of Little House On the Prairie was falling apart, and had to be taken out of circulation.  It's hard to throw out a book that looks lovely and holds so many good reading memories.  Good thing I found a use for it.   

One week done, five to go.  I need to find books to go along with my weekly theme.  I need to figure out what prizes would be most appealing.  We're a small library in a small community, so I average only about 14 participants.  That means that even with our tiny budget, we can get prizes for everyone. 

Prizes.  I can't remember what I did in the beginning.  For a lot of years I've had a prize store.  The kids enjoy it.  Me, not as much.  Every year it's a quest to get enough of the one thing they're all going to want.  I rarely hit the nail on the head.  As a parent, I don't want my kids to bring home all kinds of junk.  But, that's what kids like.  I order water bottles and T-shirts, and the kids pick out rubber balls and tiny stuffed animals. 

I've also been thinking about how I award prizes, and how I calculate who should get prizes. In the beginning, it was a list of books read. Well, that was kind of ridiculous. Kids would read books that were way below their reading level just so that they could rack up the number of titles on their list. Harry Potter? Forget it, that only takes up one line. I've done the time thing over the past few years. Color in the time you've spent reading. Except, that's kind of a pain as well. I don't keep track of how much my kids read. They read. I'm not going to get out the stopwatch every time they pick up a book. One children's librarian mentioned that for their summer reading program they just keep track of the days read. If you read at all during a day, you can check it off. I think that might be the way to go. It would certainly make my life; as the parent of a few participants of the summer reading program, easier. If it doesn't happen this year, I'll switch over to that next year. 

I've got some work to do.  Good thing I have a month and a half to figure it out.  I'm excited for this year's program.  It's a fun theme, and I think the kids will get a kick out of it.  Summer is a time to read whatever you want to read.  Lay under a tree with a glass of lemonade, and read.  Although, with the Dream Big-Read theme; it should be lay under the stars with your flashlight and read.  Sitting by the campfire, under a sky full of stars, mosquitoes buzzing around your head, the sound of waves crashing on the shore; book in one hand, flashlight in the other--aaahhhhhhh, summer reading!

Books - the best antidote against the marsh-gas of boredom and vacuity. ~George Steiner

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