One of the excellent sessions I attended at this year's WAPL Conference was an idea swap about programming for elementary school kids. Not surprisingly, my pen was going a mile a minute, copying down ideas to share with those of you who were too busy providing programs for elementary school kids to attend this conference!
Today, I'm going to share a few ideas I gleaned about working with schools.
In one community (I didn't get the location), the Gifted and Talented program was gutted by budget cuts. The school asked the library to help fill the void by having a book discussion group for 3-5 graders--many of whom were needing some extra enrichment. This year, they met every week because that's what the kids wanted. Next year they are scaling back to twice a month--not to accommodate the voraciously reading kids, but to let the librarians catch their breath between sessions. Definitely worth checking with your GT program at your school to see if there has been a void created by budget cuts.
In Manawa, the librarian goes into the school during lunch break and spends time in the cafeteria. The first few times, this was a flop--none of the kids noticed her at her out-of-the-way table. Now, she mingles among the eating students, asking them if they know various weird facts contained in a book she is suggesting. Swarms of kids came to the library table before going outside for recess to look at books on display, chat with the librarian, and place holds on books (the librarian went back to the library to do the data entry on this, and she said she chooses back-list titles that still have plenty of kid appeal).
In our very own Frederic, they are working with the school to identify struggling readers and pair them up with members of their teen book group (the library will train them) for a one-on-one reading partnership.Win-win! I'm excited to hear how this turns out.
In Rice Lake, every Thursday, kids can ride the school bus to the library for a program called After School Adventures (a rotating schedule of art projects, computer programming, lego club, gaming, and book discussions).
I bet most of you are working with schools in your area to promote your Summer Library Program. What else do you do?