Earlier this month, I posted at the ALSC Blog about starting our after-school programs at our local schools and today I wanted to post a little update about how they're going.
We've now been to each of our nine schools once and this week we'll start another round. For the most part, they're going really well. This new schedule is working and it seems like everyone is on the same page. All of the sites have been ready for us when we got there. We did have one site with 65 kids there, which was a little too much for us to handle, but we'll probably split them up into two groups next time we go there.
At one of my schools (I specifically took this site because I knew we'd had some troublesome kids there in the past), I have a couple of kids who are Just Not Convinced that the library has anything to offer them. My goal this school year is to prove them wrong, of course! In September when I went, I only read two books and then let the kids who weren't into doing the craft peruse the books I brought with me. They seemed to like this, so I'll do it again this month. And at the tail end of my visit, one of the too-cool-for-school kids sidled up to me and said, "So... what was the craft you were doing, anyway?" I told him and when I looked at the clock and said that it was too late, I'd be leaving in a few minutes, he said, "Well, I didn't want to do it anyway..."
This month, I am totally bribing them. We're going to decorate treat bags with Halloween stickers (and crayons) and anyone who decorates a bag will get a little candy to put in it. Heh.
So, what books are they digging?
I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry with How Big Is It? by Ben Hillman. They liked Biggest Thing and I generally get the laughs I'm looking for, but they LOOOOVVVEEE How Big Is It?! I don't read all the words or even show them all the spreads, but I open the book to a spread and explain what it is and read a few of the facts from the page. I show them 4-8 spreads, depending on how the group's doing. I always tell them that I'm not reading the entire thing because it's too long for our program but that if they would like to check it out of the library they certainly can! And I always mention the other Ben Hillman books that they can find at the library.
Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett. They absolutely crack up at all the illustrations. And their favorite is my favorite, too (the chicken!). And, of course, they're loving Elephant and Piggie. This time around I brought I am Invited to a Party! I saved it for last and one of the groups actually applauded when I brought it out (they remember Elephant and Piggie from last year!). It warms my librarian heart to hear them chanting "Party! Party! Party! Party!" as they start doing their craft. :)
Of course, each group is a little different and some of them are going to dig different kind of stories. I have one particular group that is very attentive and will pay attention to quieter and/or longer stories, so I brought out There's No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent for those kids. This was a favorite of mine when I was small and I'm all about spreading the love of MY favorite books. If just one kid grows up remembering the time a librarian read them that book, I have done my job. :)
Our craft this month was quite simple - we made our own bookmarks. We just cut up white cardstock into bookmark-sized strips and gave the kids crayons and stickers and let them go to town. A very important thing to know about kids and stickers: some of them will consider it a mission to use up every single sticker placed before them. Just know that before you set out your entire sticker supply.
So, that was September and now I'm looking forward to a fun October with our afterschool friends! I'll be sure and report back.