Whispering an SLP Start

This robot needs a body! The more kids read, the more stickers
 they add to the blocks that will become arms, legs, body.
We hope kids build her big!
We have often plunged into summer reading immediately on the last day of school. The result: screaming mania!!!!!!!!  Half the the kids of our eventual total come in the first five days and the staff feel like they've been hammered (they have!). We start those summers drained.

This year we made sure to "soft" launch our program while most of kids are still in school.  Parochial and homeschool kids come in first and then, afterschool and in the evenings, some of the public school kids make their way to the library. It will be a full nine days before the big public school crowds are on vacation and come pouring into register.

What does this mean?

  • We have a "practice" week with a steady stream of SLP registrants - never overwhelming, but enough to hone our spiel and figure out the best, most economical and fun way to explain the mechanics of SLP.
  • We sign up about a quarter of our total number of kids so subsequent weeks have far less registration stress.
  • Staff is excited and energetic going into the following weeks when the pressure of wall-to-wall kids, programming mightiness and kids-in-care visits need all our attention.
Robot at our North Branch
It always feel a little like we're whispering into the start of SLP when we do this. Starting softly means more energy later. 

We wish all our colleagues a happy summer library program and hope you have a calm but busy adventure!


  1. Yes, yes, yes! This is how we've done it, too, and it works really well for us. This year, since our program is now logged online, we started online signup May 1 so that the kids we saw at the schools could go home and sign up right away if they wanted to. Then we sent an email to registrants when the club "started" and they could start reading and logging. This has helped TREMENDOUSLY! Today was the first no-school day for the public schools and it was definitely still crazy busy, but having the online option start earlier was definitely positive for us.

    We typically schedule NO PROGRAMS the first week that school is out (or maybe a performer or a kick-off event that first week), which has also helped greatly relieve staff stress. However, this year with all the snow days we did start our storytimes this week. (So far, we've survived. ;)

  2. I would love to borrow your build a robot idea. We are doing charms this summer so that when a child sets a goal, we divide that goal into fourths and each step along the way rewards them with a charm. They love this system, but I really wanted a physical representation of their progress (like your 1000 Books Before K program). This is a great way to do that.