Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Reading Club (Week 1)

Photo Credit: TheCreativePenn
Yes, Summer Reading Club has begun at my library. I'm aiming to write a post about it every week as we go through the summer and today I'd like to talk about sign-ups.

I already talked about our promotional visits to the schools. We finished up the last of our visits this week (hooray! No more early mornings!) and starting signing kids up on Monday. To sign up, kids or parents come in to the library and fill out our registration slip. We enter all the registrants into a computer database that our IT guy created, but we have paper slips so that we can keep track and so that when we have a line at the desk, more than one person can be filling them out at once.

For the first few weeks of summer, we have a special table set up at the entrance to our department. This table is staffed in the morning and afternoon and is only for SRC sign-ups. We have all the materials on a cart so that in the evenings when we have only one staff person, we can wheel it over to the reference desk. We'll take this table down once sign-ups start to slow down.

We allow parents to sign up their kids even if their kids are not present, but of course kids can sign themselves up, too. When people sign up for the Summer Reading Club, each child gets a sign-up packet and a plastic bag to hold their books this summer.

In the sign-up packet, we include: 

 1. A Reading Log. We ask kids to read either 20 books or 1000 pages to complete the Summer Reading Club. They can be any books they want, all we ask is that they're reading books at their reading level. If they want to keep reading after they get their prizes, they will get an additional chance for the grand prize drawings for every 20 books or 1000 pages they read.

2. An Instruction Sheet. We includes all the rules and information about the club (including ending date!) on an instruction sheet that every child will get. We have not done this previously and, while we're always happy to answer questions about the club, we're hoping that this will cut down on the number of people who forget what they're supposed to do or what the deadline for reading logs is.*

3. An entry form for the Dollars & Sense program. One of our local banks partnered with us to provide a financial literacy program for kids. If the kids read a book about money this summer, they can fill out the form and their name will go in a drawing for a $50 Savings Bond (donated by the bank). We create a display of money books that we keep up all summer long.

4. A book review form. If kids read a book set in another country, they can fill out a book review form that we'll put up on our Reading Around the World bulletin board. I wasn't sure kids were going to be interested, but we've already had several submit reviews! Watch the ALSC Blog for more info (and pictures) about this next week!

5. A slip for our adult Summer Reading Club. Our library started an adult Summer Reading Club several years ago and this year our department is really trying to help them promote. We've announced it at all the schools we've visited and we're including an entry slip with all our kids' packets. For the adults, they don't register them the way we register the kids. Each time an adult reads a book, they can fill out a short review slip and submit it for a prize drawing. I'm hoping this will really help boost their numbers. We also can sign up teens for the Teen Summer Reading Club. We hate to send anyone to a different desk to sign up, in the fear that they might not make it before walking out the door. A bird in the hand, and all that...

6. A bookmark. Kids are always needing bookmarks and we like to include a little something extra for them. In the past we've done stickers, door hangers, temporary tattoos, and other things. This year I decided to keep it simple and use that money on other things, so we're just doing a bookmark.

We also started a Pre-Readers Club this year in an effort to make the Summer Reading Club more beneficial to babies and toddlers. We've always allowed parents to sign up their very young children for the SRC and previously they just counted the books they read to them/with them. This year, we're offering the option of a pre-readers game board where parents can check off early literacy activities that they do with their children. I'm hoping this will help educate parents that many of the things they already do with their children help develop early literacy skills!

Here's our Pre-Reader gameboard. Please feel free to borrow, steal, edit, and use for your own purposes! We don't give our pre-readers the bookmarks, book review forms, or Dollars & Sense forms, although if anyone asks for them we're more than happy to give them out.

And we aim to be flexible with our Summer Reading Clubs. We give parents the option to do the new Pre-Readers Club or choose the reading log and write down the books they're reading together. Parents with older and younger kids might read to them all together, or maybe little brother wants to do everything that big brother is doing. Maybe a parent with a special needs seventh grader wants to sign up for the children's club. Maybe an advanced fifth grader wants to sign up for the teen club. I'm all about bending the "rules" to make patrons happy.

What do your kids get when they sign up?