I know I don’t need to tell you that summer reading and learning programs are a mainstay at public libraries across the country. It’s no surprise then that ALSC’s journal, Children and Libraries, features many an article to support librarians with all aspects—planning to evaluation—of this celebrated, annual undertaking.
Why not take a break from putting the finishing touches on your own summer planning and read these hand-picked articles that address various facets of the summer reading and learning experience. They may provide valuable food for thought for your 2020 summer program planning.
Engaging Students with the Library
When Summer Reading program participation waned at the Mint Hill Branch of the Charlotte (NC) Mecklenburg Library, the children’s services team took action and devised an approach for increasing the program’s visibility and participation. The result was “Dream It, Write It, Share It,” a contest encouraging students to write and giving them the chance to see their work produced and performed by library staff. Thanks to the contest, students felt more engaged with their public library and compelled to participate in its programs. According to author Melanie Lewis, “The enthusiasm of the school staff, the structure of the contest, and the magic of live performance combined to make this a successful partnership. Library visits and summer reading program participation increased and we built a strong foundation for future collaborations with our local schools.”
Rewards and Reading
A Hook and a Book: Rewards as Motivators in Public Library Summer Reading Programs by Ruth V. Small, Marilyn P. Arnone, and Erin Bennett
With myriad programs and activities competing for children’s time during the summer, must libraries offer incentives to attract students to summer reading programs? This article examines program incentives offered by two urban public library systems and describes their impact on reading motivation and behavior. The authors use results from participant interviews and librarian surveys to provide recommendations for when and how to motivate participants’ engagement in summer reading programs with and without rewards. The authors state, “Working together, summer reading program participants, their parents, and their librarians can design summer reading programs that focus on helping youth not only read more but read better….”
Motivating Boys to Read: Guys Read, a Summer Library Reading Program for Boys by Deborah R. Dillon, David G. O’Brien, Cassandra Scharber, and Kristen Nichols-Besel
Hennepin County (MN) Library (HCL), working with award-winning author Jon Scieszka, designed a Guys Read Summer Book Club program, the goals of which were to: encourage boys to read more over the summer months and beyond; develop positive relationships between boys and male book club facilitators; and foster boys’ positive attitudes toward and associations with reading. Researchers from the University of Minnesota collaborated with HCL staff in evaluating the effectiveness of the book club. The evaluation results, laid out in the article, are intended to “help bring attention to the important work libraries do in fostering reading…; inform other libraries in their development of children’s book clubs; and encourage rigorous evaluations of library programs.”
Hope you enjoy this Rewind on summer reading and learning and find it beneficial to your work. See you next time. Happy [Summer] Reading!