I remember when I read Abby’s post about Donalyn Miller’s book “Reading in the Wild.” I immediately went out and bought the book and consumed it in an alarmingly short amount of time. And then I told my coworkers. And then I bought it for my teacher sister-in-law. And then I talked about it incessantly.
I had big plans. I wanted to work with our Adult Services department and create a multi-generational program with the focus being on leisure reading. I wanted to throw a big all ages party where old people and young people and people in between would get together and just talk about books and share what they’re reading and make plans for what they were going to read next and I imagined awesomeness.
And then I remembered it’s somewhat challenging to work inter-departmentally in my library and I got wrapped up in my iPad obsession and we hired someone new and I tucked it away in my brain.
This fall, we begin the program on a much smaller scale. A K-3rd grade scale.
Here’s the plan:
When a child signs up for the program, they must be accompanied by a caregiver. The caregiver will sign a “pledge” (we’re still working on this part…something about allowing the child to carry a book with them pretty much wherever they go, allowing the child to choose the books they’re reading and stressing the focus is on leisure reading…) and the child gets a snazzy backpack:
and a Reading Passport (which I never in a million years could have done without Rebecca sharing her amazing SRP booklet. I know! I know! I already linked to it in my last post but seriously. Check it out. She was a lifesaver!) and off they go.
We have a variety of opportunities for them to read in the “wild”: while they’re waiting (to be picked up from school, at a restaurant, before a movie starts, during commercials), moving (car/train/bus/plane), fun places (think bathtub with pillows) and anywhere else they can think of. We’ve also left them places to write down books they want to read or things they want to remember about a book they’re reading. Once a month, starting in October, we’ll meet on a Saturday morning with the goal being to get them to talk about what they’re reading. We’ll show some book trailers, maybe read a chapter from a book, but it’s really about encouraging them to talk.
I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing when I approached the team during a department meeting about how it would work and I am so glad I talked to them a month out because there’s a whole bunch of things I didn’t consider:
1. What happens if a kid comes in and has 15 stamps and 5 brothers and sisters who also have 15 stamps and there is only one stamp and there are 5 people waiting for reference help in addition to the 6 kids who need their passports stamped? (That’s an extreme case, I’ll admit, but I am very concerned about added pressure to desk staff-me being one of them!-and I thought it was a good point.)
2. A staff member pointed out that this was a program that was geared toward kids who are already motivated to read which was definitely NOT my intention. Yes, those kids will sign up and I hope they do, but I’m really hoping to appeal to kids who just hadn’t thought about all of the places they could be reading. So…what can I do to appeal to them?
3. How can I make this measurable for my personal goals? I’ve included this program in my yearly goals and I thought it was ambitious to get 100 kids to sign up, but signing up is one thing…Do they turn in their passports? Do I keep a tally of how many repeat visits from each kid I get? And, again, how do I make this easy for front line staff to handle at the desk?
4. Is this a sacred cow I’ll end up having to slay in the future? Is it sustainable? Meaningful? Appropriate for the age?
I know typically people share successful programs and I am oh so grateful when they do, but I thought I’d share one that is brand spanking new and might just fail.
Please feel free to point out any potential pitfalls we may have overlooked. In fact, PLEASE POINT OUT ANY POTENTIAL PITFALLS WE MAY HAVE OVERLOOKED!