Saturday, March 23, 2013

School Visits Rock!

This past week a colleague and I had the opportunity to take part in a Literacy Night at one of our local elementary schools.  Whoever came up with the idea really did a good job and I would love it if other schools did something similar.  It was run similar to a school carnival night with stations that ran for 10 minutes.  Other stations included a couple of games, the school book fair, and the cafeteria with cotton candy and drinks.  The library had one station all to ourselves.  In addition, kids were given a passport that needed to be initialed at each station.  If they participated in at least three activities, they could enter their passport into a drawing for various gift baskets.

With 10 minutes of time, what can you do?  We did this as a team so one person wasn't running around like crazy.  One of us set up a table with library card applications, bookmarks, crayons, various handouts (databases, what the library offers, etc.)  The other one of us sat in a chair and read books.  Thanks to the awesome people at Flannel Friday, I had a really good collection of books to read aloud.

Awesome School Read-Aloud Booklist

  • Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry Allard
  • The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett
  • Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
  • Perfect Square by Michael Hall
  • The End by David LaRochelle
  • Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin (it's just not cool if you don't bring Pete the Cat)
  • Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
  • Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner (only good if you add in a Mexican accent!)
  • Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka (read a chapter at a time)
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! by Jon Scieszka
  • A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
  • Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
  • I'm A Shark by Bob Shea
  • Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox

The highlights of the night were definitely Bark, George and I'm a Shark.  As I finished up one book, I would let a kid pick the next book to read.

What I would change:
If we do this again, we need something cool to get people in the door.  Yes, they have stations to visit, but it seemed like people got "lost" in the halls or would stop in really quick.  While we know that the library is cool, not everybody does.  I am thinking that a costumed character or our summer reading prize wheel would have been good hooks to get people in the door. 

The other interesting thing is that we got great crowds when someone was reading.  Even the big kids would cluster in and sit in the back.  The problem is that when the announcement came to switch rooms, everyone left and we would have an empty room.  It is hard reading to an empty room, even if you know that is what will draw people in.  We almost needed to plant a kid in there to sit for the whole night while read.

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