The R/evolution of an SLP

Today, I presented a workshop for the CALL conference on literacy, a collaborative multi-type library event. The presentation was Breaking the Ice: Creating a Successful School/Public Library Winter Literacy Program

While the focus is on the successful years-long winter reading program collaboration, the broader picture is also on how that happy collaboration, begun in 2005, pushed our already evolving experiential SLP further into one that truly became a summer learning experience.

In 1992, in Menasha (WI) Library, we had already begun to morph our SLP from a simple print literacy celebration into one where experiencing the library was added. Kids who checked out books and attended programs could use those activities along with reading and listening to reach their goal.

As the years passed, we added donating food to our food pantry, doing acts of kindness and volunteering for others, and writing book reviews into the mix. We also experimented with kid-friendly formats and weekly cards rather than a summer-long reading log that brought kids in again and again over summer.

When we partnered with our schools in the winter of 2005, we truly discovered how to enfold multiple literacies into our SLP - writing, talking, playing, word games, adventures outside and more. By co-designing the program with our school colleagues, we discovered ways to make our summer library program into a summer learning program that received massive support from our schools. Win-win.

When I came across state to La Crosse, we revamped the library's SLP program to reflect that paradigm and kept growing the experience and the re-formatting of our weekly bookmarks into weekly game cards with more detailed suggested activities for kids to try. We added an early literacy SLP program and let that grow and change as well.

Each and every change brought us closer to creating a summer learning adventure that gave kids multiple pathways to experience the library and its many different literacies. It reminds me how small changes over a long arc of time culminate in an SLP that truly meets the changing needs of our communities.

To find out more, stop here for the slide deck of the presentation!

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