[kids-lib] Summer reading and early literacy ideas from the 2015 Ready to Read grant reports

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Thu Feb 11 10:10:30 PST 2016

I just finished the 2015 Ready to Read Annual Report-read it here<http://www.oregon.gov/osl/LD/youthsvcs/ReadytoRead/2015R2R-AnnualReport-FD.pdf>. While reviewing all your grant reports, I created a list of things you are doing that other libraries might want to know about. You are all doing good work so it was hard to choose, but here are a few that particularly jumped out at me-enjoy!


*         Big Book Storytime: We were able to introduce more complicated story lines with these books, children regularly wanted to check out these books in their smaller format, and we were able to actively encourage participation in acting out the stories with these books. Parents reported their children started playing 'storytime' at home.

*         Family Storytime Solution: Struggling with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in family storytime, we changed our format so at the beginning we do a short lapsit time while preschoolers work on a craft and then invite families with only lapsit children to an area in the library with a baby mat and developmentally appropriate toys where they can chat and play while the preschoolers (and some younger siblings) have storytime.

*         Own That Word: At each storytime the librarian chooses a particularly interesting and likely unknown word from one of the stories they read. The librarian tells kids about the word before the story, highlights it during the story, and at the end of storytime each child gets a book-shaped paper cut-out with the word on it to put in their "word bag."  Caregivers are encouraged to use the word throughout the week and children are told that by the end of the week they will own that word as part of their growing vocabulary. Kids look forward to hearing what the word will be and eagerly collect it at the end of storytime. Some words they learned are: peculiar, nibble, contraption, sigh, curious, hunch, and distinctly.

*         Stay and Play: this year we created a stay and play area with age-appropriate educational toys, games, books, an alphabet rug, a book shelf for the items. More than 61% of storytime families stayed and played 10 or more times. Parents were more apt to look for books to check out while their children were playing.

*         Storytime Parent Poll: I have found that I really need to ask and listen to my parents about what they would like to see more of or less of at our storytimes. I poll my parents on a regular basis to make sure the majority is pleased.

*         You're Invited: Head Start teachers started having their "home visits" at the library so kids could come to storytime. Some families readily signed up for library cards, but many didn't. After our 'Welcome to the Library Night' and our personal invitation to get library cards, many families felt more comfortable with the library and library staff, and were excited to get cards.


*         Best YA Books Read This Summer Booklist: We used a new teen summer reading log where participants rate the books they read over the summer with 1-5 stars. At the end of the summer, we compiled a Best of YA Books Read This Summer list and displayed them in the young adult section.

*         Engaging Outreach: At free lunch sites we weren't getting people to listen to stories or participate so we started a raffle. At every visit we asked youth to fill out a raffle entry with their name and what they like about summer reading. After storytime we would draw a couple names and those kids would get superhero capes and free books. This immediately increased the number of people participating in storytime at the free lunch site from 12 to 40-50 people. The prizes pulled them in, but once they started participating in storytime they got into it and would ask for favorite books to be read and re-read. After a few weeks the raffle entry forms quickly turned to, my favorite thing about summer reading is... "My sister reads me books at the park." and "I like it when my mom reads to me at night." I knew the program was a success when a little girl asked me, "Are you going to be here next week to read to us?"

*         Good Partnerships: "I was at a counseling appointment with my son and asked his counselor what we should do all summer. The counselor handed me your flyer and told me to go to the library!"

*         Library Fine Voucher: We gave out $5 library fine vouchers as summer reading prizes and they were very popular, 410 people used them at the time of this report. They have no expiration date so they may continue to be used throughout the year.

*         Non-Finishers Follow-up: We are following up with the families who signed up for the summer reading program, but didn't complete the reading activity. Our Friends of the Library agreed to pay all postage to mail a survey to these families with a postage paid envelope for their return responses.

*         Promotional Capes: Librarians wore superhero capes with the library's logo on it everywhere--during school visits, storytimes in the community, at the reference desk, etc. It immediately made library staff identifiable as being special and having an important message. Children paid attention! When they came to the library children saw everyone wearing capes and made the connection, "Oh, capes! Capes at the library! I remember someone came to my school wearing a cape and talked about the summer reading program. I want to join!" This year staff want jerseys with numbers and the Deschutes Library logo.

*         School Heroes: I asked each local school to pick a hero from their staff. We took 'Read' photos of them and made posters, bookmarks, and buttons. When I visited schools to promote summer reading, the kids were thrilled to see their school represented. We use buttons as prizes (like earning scouting badges or digital badges) and the kids were anxious to earn their hero button each week. This was a great way to get the schools excited about our summer reading program.

*         Survey Incentive: Families who turned in completed surveys at the end of summer were emailed a photo taken of their child "flying" in the library.

Katie Anderson, Youth Services Consultant
Library Support and Development Services<http://www.oregon.gov/osl/LD/pages/index.aspx>
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528
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