Oh, summer, I hardly knew ye. When you weren’t hot as [redacted] you were raining cats and dogs/men/to beat the band. Only recently has the weather been nice, here at the middle of August, and the kids start school next week and the dollar store already has Halloween items out and prominently displayed.
Summer reading has now officially ended, and at my library our registration numbers for pre-readers (4 months-Kindergarten) and grade schoolers (1st-5th grade) increased dramatically. I believe that this happened because we dramatically simplified our program. Forget counting pages, books, or minutes read, and thank god, because how artificial is the minutes and pages way of keeping track? Who reads like that? Who sits down with a book, sets a timer, and then stops when the timer dings? Who starts reading, reaches page 100, and then shuts the book? If it’s a good (meaning a book you’re into) book, you’ll keep reading until your eyes hurt, you fall asleep, or you have to go to work, or some other pressing issue pulls you away. If it’s not to your liking, then you’ll stop after a few pages or a chapter, never to return.
So our requirements were to read a certain number of days for the summer, the number of days altering with the time you signed up. It was a weird percentage that my boss configured and I just accepted because I hate math and don’t want to ask about it.The basic gist was, “Read. Read most of the days of summer. Read whatever you want.”
We also had the same prizes for all ages: the omnipresent, themed, much loved rubber ducks. I love the ducks. They’re not a choking hazard, they have a collect-ability factor, babies love them as much as fifth graders, and they’re cheap. Love the ducks. Embrace the ducks. Be one with the ducks. (It’s hard to type ducks repeatedly without making a terrible typo.)
The book logs were formatted as calendars that had all of our programs listed on them. Attendance at programs counted as a day of reading, since all of our programs have a story/literacy component. On the pre-reader log, I listed the six early literacy skills, and while parents didn’t have to do anything with them, at least they were being exposed to them.
And that’s it! I think. My brain hasn’t been working so well the past couple of weeks. I personally think our program could be shorter, just to allow staff more of a mental break between OMG SUMMER READING and OMG SCHOOL IS STARTING.