Friday, June 22, 2012

Dreamy Ideas For Summer

The best part of summer are the days when children who are bored at home are driven to the local library and told to find something to amuse themselves. This must have been the reason for developing the summer reading program years ago. Of course it has been proven in educational studies that children who read over the summer retain their reading skills. Thus making it easier for them to transition into the next grade level. To adults, this is wonderful news. To kids, all they hear is more of the blah blah blah from well meaning adults who don't understand that summer is suppose to be fun. While reading can be fun, it's not he reason why children will flock into the library for crafts, story times and magic shows. Nope. It's something simpler than that. They want to hang out with their friends. Who can blame them Which is why sneaky librarians (aka the genius behind the book stacks) find ways to educate their young patrons in the guise of fun and mayhem. Okay, not all out mayhem but still fun. This year's theme Dream Big ... Read, is a great theme. If anyone knows how to dream big it's children. Goodness, they never stop and think of limitations. No they just plow ahead in search of the magic that makes their dream come true. With the theme of having children search for their dreams there is one scavenger hunt game that everyone can participate in on a daily basis. Hide the word "Dream" all around the children's room. The word should be displayed differently, for example, stenciled on a rock, magnetic alphabet letters on a file cabinet, or the word scrolling across the computer's screen saver. Each day or week that the young patrons come to visit, challenge them to find the word around the library. How many times did they spot the word? If the number is correct, they win a small prize. However, if they are wrong, they must go back and see where they missed the word. What other possibilities are there? Encourage teens to make a PSA video promoting their local libraries. Would it be wonderful to hear from the teens' point of view, all the things they dream about for their libraries? Perhaps it's more hours. It could even be dreaming of more books, computers and programs. Whatever is their "dream" for the library, have them record it and link it on the library's webpage. Better yet, if the kids do a stellar job, use the video at the next city council or township board meeting. What better way to prove to local officials the important role that libraries play in young people's lives. One of the most inspirational books that have sat on a library's shelf is titled, God's Photo Album authored by Shelly Mecum. In this book, the author who as a teacher at a private school was looking for creative ways to help save their school. She decided to ask Fuji for free film and cameras to distribute to her students. She explained that she wanted the children to capture all the places they see God. When they had accomplished that she would put it together into a book, publish it and sell the students' work to raise money for the school. It turned out to be a stroke of genius. Copying that idea, librarians can solicit children to bring in photographs of the things they dream about. On a bulletin board all photos would be posted. It would make for a great discussions as patrons walk by the board. These are just a few ideas to dream about this summer. What ever programs, ideas or books that are used there is only one thing to remember, no one is ever too old to dream. So dream big! Patrons of the library deserve nothing less!
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