This week I've been doing Literacy Lunches at a local elementary school. It's a program we came up with in collaboration with our district school librarians. A librarian from our department visits a school during lunchtime and reads a novel out loud to the kids. The school I'm going to is the second school to participate in the program. One of my colleagues went to a school before Thanksgiving and read One Beastly Beast over a period of seven school days. He got a great response from the kids, a group of 40 boys.
The kids sign up for the program and bring their lunches to the library or a classroom where they listen while they eat. The kids in my group voted on and selected the book Whittington by Alan Armstrong. I must admit that it's a book I never would have picked up on my own, but I quite enjoyed it and I think the kids are enjoying it, too. I could see Whittington being on the next Caudill list. (And speaking of the next Caudill list, I am totally ready for it. I love many of the books on this year's list, but I'm ready to see what we'll be frantically reading in the spring and summer of 2008... I have awhile to wait, though... beginning of February, I think...)
It's also been interesting to read a novel out loud. It's actually something I've never done before. I've read countless picture books out loud, but it's totally different reading a novel out loud.
I have 20 boys and girls in my group (mostly girls) and we always have a teacher in the room with us. There's been no problem with discipline. The kids that are there want to be there and they've been remarkably well-behaved so far. We limited it to 4th and 5th graders.
I hope that this program becomes a regular event, perhaps annual or bi-annual. I hope the kids enjoy it enough to want to keep signing up. I hope word spreads and if we're able to keep doing it, that the 3rd graders look forward to becoming 4th graders because they can sign up for Literacy Lunches. Of course, every librarian dreams of that sort of success with their programs. I suppose we will just have to wait and see.