Summer Reading - My Hair is NOT on Fire
So it's arrived. We are three weeks into our summer reading program and things are going swell. It's busy but stress levels are pretty low and we have the time and luxury to spend time connecting kids with books. Wow. What did we do right?
For some amazing reason, we made the decision not to wait for all schools to be out for vacation but to jump in and begin on a the first Monday in June with a "soft" launch. That really helped to spread out the registration process (explaining the program is always a little more effort than is needed on the return visits). We already had a couple of hundred kids signed up, so when the public school kids joined the sign-up throngs, it wasn't as intense.
Next we didn't offer any programs until the second week of SLP. So all our efforts went into getting kids set up for the SLP in that first week. We typically sign up about half of the total kids in that week so that is no small thing. The program we offered in the second week was a DIY decorating program that had kids create space decorations that we used everywhere. It was mellow prep, one staffer responsible and left most of the staff free to serve the kids.
Next good idea - we didn't start our storytimes until the third week. By the end of the second week we have the majority of kids who will be involved signed up. So now we just had the preschool crowd for late sign-ups and they have more of the room to themselves during our nine storytime sessions.
Combine all this with our simplified elementary age SLP and we have a recipe for a much lower stress summer. And it needs to be, since I am heading to ALA and abandoning my teammates! But I tell you I feel way less guilty since we made summer reading easier for staff, families and the kids!