Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Summer Reading Club (yeah, everyone is still calling it "program" but I am determined we will be a CLUB)

So, this is how our summer reading is working this year. Summer reading goes from June 11 (tomorrow!! Agh!!) to August 13. We have a separate program for...
  • Ages 0-5. This is the Beginners Reading Club.
    • What they get when they sign up: Activity log, some stickers, and a bookmark
    • What they do: On their log are rows of activities. Each row includes reading (or listening) to a book, some kind of outside activity, some kind of art activity, a library activity (visit the library or attend a library program) and something random. All the activities are things that can be done for free - even drawing a picture, if they come to the library and use our crayons and coloring pages, and we have several lakes within walking distance (although it's a loooooong walk) so I threw that in too.
    • What they get: Each row they fill in, they get to come in and get a prize. Prizes consist of books, small stuffed animals and beanie babies (donated and washed) teething links, small bottles of bubbles, safety pops, etc.
  • Ages 6-12. This is the "regular" summer reading club.
    • What they get when they sign up: They get a log, stickers, tattoo, and bookmark when they sign up. They also get to pick a free book (garnered from donations, bookmooch, and some mini grants).
    • What they do: Every 15 minutes they read, they fill in a square. On the back of the log, are "library challenges" similar to the beginners reading log, except they have to do...I think it's 8 or it might be 10 things to earn a prize. There's a library set, outdoor set, and art set.
    • What they get: When they've read 2 hours, they get a prize. Prizes include candy, mini squirt guns, super balls, etc. Everything cost under 60 cents. When they reach 10 hours, they've officially finished the program and get a big packet of passes to various places donated through our library system - rodeo, water park, historical sites, planetarium, etc. Some of the passes require you to purchase an adult ticket, some are buy 1 get 1 free, some require driving, but there's enough variety that everyone should be able to do something. They can continue reading and earning 2 hour prizes until they hit 20 hours, when they get a personal pizza from a local pizza parlor and they're done.
  • Teens. Anyone 13-19 can sign up, but generally the few 16+s who sign up do the adult program.
    • What they get when they sign up: They get a free book when they sign up.
    • What they do: Every book they read, they fill out a little form - they rate it with stars, say who they'd recommend it to, their favorite character, best and worst part of the book, and then they put that in for a weekly drawing.
    • What they get: I have 9 weekly drawing prizes, and they're mostly collections of books from ALA Midwinter and other stuff. For example, there's a "survival" drawing prize which is a stack of dystopian galleys, beef jerky, chocolate and marshmallows, compass, and duct tape. Yes, I have a very strange sense of humor. Most of the prizes are pretty girly - bags with "girly" books and craft supplies, gift certificate to a beading store etc. but I mainly have girls who sign up so...If a teen's name gets drawn twice, they get to pick a "consolation prize" from a collection of dollar movie candy.
We also have a teen pizza party for teen participants and an end of summer reading party for all ages with ice cream, cookies, pinata, and professional facepainting. This year we'll also be having a Scholastic book sale.

In the past, we've done drawing prizes for the younger kids and some people would like me to do "grand prizes". I am really resistant to this b/c I don't want the prizes to overshadow the reading - plus, most younger kids simply can't grasp the concept of reading all summer so they might win a big prize. Little prizes keep them going and keep the focus on the reading. Also, getting a free book when they sign up (although it's a lot of work to get enough together...) makes sure that even if they're gone all summer or never come back to the library, at least they've got one book!

I would be happy to send our logs and other materials to anyone interested! This is the first year we've done a 0-5 program. We handed out bags to the 0-2s last year and the parents asked for a specific program for that age. Also, the 3-5s didn't fit well with our older kids (plus, most of our passes are specifically for ages 6-12). Last year I had about 40 teens sign up and 20 participated, we gave out 85 bags to 0-2s, and our total summer reading participation was about 800. 200 kids got to the ten hour mark (but we only went through July last year, so maybe we'll get more in...) and about 100 kids hit 20 hours.