Friday, August 4, 2017

Read and Grow: 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

We moved this one column over and
now we're using caterpillars instead of squares
and have butterflies at the top for completion
We've had increasing interest in this program; I had more kids ages 0-3 doing Read and Grow than involved in summer reading this year. So I took the first week after summer reading finish to revise and update the program.

How it works
Parents can pick up a folder from the box at any time. When they have read 100 books together, they get a caterpillar to add to the reading chart. At 500 books they get a pot and seeds. At 1,000 books they get a free book and their picture on a butterfly. Throughout the program they pick up stickers for their logs.

Supplies and insertions:
  • Folders (bought in bulk at back to school sales)
  • Sticky labels (printed at a local print shop and I have a lifetime supply because I couldn't find them and had more printed!)
  • Instructions
  • Read and Grow logs (now with caterpillars!)
  • Bookmarks with reading suggestions (haven't uploaded them yet)
  • Stickers are collected from a variety of sources, but the most popular are the foam stickers I get from Amazon (Purple Ladybug Novelty)
  • Books collection from donations, review copies, and Scholastic Book Fairs
People often ask if it's ok to re-read books, what if they forget to write them down, etc. It's all good! I don't have time or the inclination to police the finer points and I don't really care. The big thing is that families are reading.

Marketing flyers - 8x11 poster and 11x17 tv flyer. I periodically update these with new book covers.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Library on the Go: Park/Head Start and Evaluation


Summer school finished last week and I had to decide whether I was going to run this program in August or not. August tends to be really slow in my town, not much going on, although the kids don't go back to school until after Labor Day.

I had asked the pool manager if I could set up at the pool and I figured I'd try that at least once. I set up at 9 and it was pretty dead. They have an adult exercise class then so there were just a couple kids wandering over to the park or waiting for the pool to open. Once it opened to the public at 10 there were a lot more people but I was in the wrong area to connect with them - they come around the other side.

At 11 I noticed a lot of kids up at the Lion's Den (this is the picnic area that can be rented) and I went up to investigate. I found all my Headstart friends! We had missed each other in the communication of who was where when! So I hauled everything up there, checked out over 30 books, had more than 30 kids making crafts and chatting, some day camp kids wandered over as well. However, this isn't repeatable - the Lion's Den is usually booked for parties and the people who can afford a pool pass aren't really the group I'm looking for anyways. I decided to call it a successful start to the program and I have plans to take LotG to the next Headstart play group in September and make the materials available to classrooms during the school year. About 70 books are still in circulation but I expect most of those will eventually make their way back to me.

Notes for the future

  • Summer school, especially now that they're offering free lunch and afternoon classes, is the best venue for June/July. I need to remember to take water and a folding chair!
  • I have some potential venues for August next year - the only county shelter that takes families and is about 10 miles out of town. A partially disused camp/vacation site that is in close proximity to the townships and students who live out of town. Trying to do something with the low-income housing sites in town didn't work out and I'm kind of leary of trying again.
  • Things I need to add/change for next year - I need a handout that explains what the books are. I had a nice bookmark with all the dates and places on it, but when those changed it wasn't useful anymore! I need it to be in Spanish as well as English.
  • A minor point, but I need to make sure when I check the books out on the outreach card they have a due date of never.
Overall, I think this was very successful. I checked out over 140 books, signed up about 45 kids for summer reading, and usually had 20-30 kids doing crafts and chatting about books at each visit. I won't count up the number of non-returned books until the end of August (and still expect some to come back through school later) but I did lose 4 books to water damage.