Boys' and Girls' Summer Book Groups: A Success Story and What We Learned
Each group met once per week for eight weeks. We alternated with book discussion nights and planned activity nights, beginning with a book discussion on the first meeting. By only having a book discussion every other meeting, kids had two weeks to read each new book. Ages of participants were 9-12 for the girl's group and 10 to 14 for the boys. Our goal with both groups was to encourage involvement with books, and also to bring kids together in a group where they could make new friends and socialize at the library. We hoped that by meeting eight times, rather than just four for the book discussions, that the kids would have enough time together to develop an identity, a small community if you will, or a club feel. We had good participation for both the boy's and girl's groups, and good feedback from parents and kids. We also made some mistakes, and heard about it, as you'll see below.
Some of the benefits of the programs: We got to know and formed relationships with kid's (and parents) that we never would have otherwise, which we loved. We also heard from parents that their kids did much more reading over the summer as a result of the clubs, and that the books they read in the clubs really stretched their reading and thinking skills. We felt great about that. Staff and volunteers also read many new childrens books as a result of being involved with the programs and got a better feel for what books work for what ages. Here are some of the things we learned:
- Think Carefully About The Name For Your Program