Monday, February 3, 2014

Winter Reading Program

Today begins our Winter Reading Program.  It doesn't have the glitz and glamor of our summer reading program.  It doesn't require the hours of preparation.  On the other hand, it is just as important.  Literacy is a big deal to us in the library world.  We want kids to read often.  By offering both a summer and a winter reading program, we are promoting reading with incentives for 5 months out of the year.  I am all for anything that works!  Here's how we run our program:

The Prep
I do have to think about this program a little early as our winter newsletter articles are due by November 15.  At this time, the outline of the program is completed and I have revised any content for our Bingo sheets.  At my library, the Bingo sheets go to our Community Relations person to polish before we put them out for the public.

Our budget for this program across three locations is $500.  This money first goes towards making sure we have enough books for our little kids' prizes.  I am a big fan of finding cheap and good.  We have Scholastic Warehouse sales near us twice a year so this is one place where we stock up.  I also will go through our book vendor.  This year I am a little excited as many of the books are a part of our 100 Books to Read Before Kindergarten program.  I also replenish the prize buckets at all three locations for the bigger kids.  This year I added Olympic rubber ducks.  At this time I have only spend $330 of my budget, but I still have to pick up our grand prizes.

The Program
We run two programs out of the children's room-Bingo for Little Kids and The Snowball Games.  Bingo for Little Kids is for ages 0-5.  In this program, kids (and parents) complete three Bingos in any direction.  The squares on this form are based on early literacy practices.  When they bring their form back, they get to pick out a free book.  They are welcome to play as many times as they want, but they will only get one free book.  Additional entries go into a drawing for Barnes and Noble gift cards (or whatever prizes I can find).

Our second program is The Snowball Games.  Because the Olympics are starting this week, some of the squares tie into sports.  This program is for grades K-5.  Kids complete one Bingo in any direction and can pick a prize out of our prize bin.  What is nice about this program from a budget perspective is that we can use many of the prizes year after year.  They can play as many times as they want.  At the end of the program, we draw one winner who will get a Barnes and Noble gift card.

I am a big fan of putting the forms out so people can pick up their own forms, rather than making them ask at the desk.  This way I can hit everybody, not just those who visit the desk.  We also promote the program in all of our story times and programs.  

The Stats
As a manager, I am a big fan of stats.  This way I can see what works and what doesn't.  I count original entries, as well as total entries, since it is possible that one person will enter 20 times.  Based on previous years, we end up with a couple hundred people participating in the program (as opposed to a couple thousand for summer reading).

Do you run a Winter Reading Program?  What do you do? 


  1. Lisa, I have two questions:
    Since you don't sign people up for the program, how do you know how many unique patrons participate?
    Can I use this on my Thrive Thursday School Age Blog Hop Roundup this week?!

  2. Yes on the blog hop.

    Since we are only dealing with a couple of hundred people and their names are on the submitted forms, I count them the old fashioned way. The forms are sorted alphabetically by last name (then first name) and I count them.

  3. Cool, thanks!

    I never thought about doing it that way before...


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