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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Why Dream Big Read Is a Great Theme!

This year's theme for the Collaborative Summer Library Program Dream Big Read is a fantastic theme for children. Every sumer program has one goal which is to encourage youngsters to read. This year's theme fulfills that goal in several different ways. It can be viewed as universal, personal, magical, musical, inspirational, attainable, and remarkable. For each of these descriptive adjective there are ways to help children discover a passion for reading and their dreams. Dream Big is a universal message. It appeals to every child, young, old, rich or poor. Children are natural dreamers. They see the possibilities of fantastic tales and accepts them without question. Not only that, they see the value in dreaming. Every child around the world has dreams and it is something that makes us unique and yet similar as humans. To introduce this year's theme, provide bookmarks that remind patrons that dreaming is a pastime in every country. At the same time that dreams are universal, they are also very personal. For each child dreaming is easy but each dream is different. One way that libraries can tap into this natural gift of dreaming is to encourage children to share their dreams at the library. Bulletin boards are a natural place to display these dreams. In bold letters in the middle of the blue board place the words, "I dream of ...." On 3x5 cards, invite children with help from parents to write down what dreams they have. Remind children that no dream is too big or too small. Dreams come in all sizes. Dreams can be magical. They invite every child to look upon a star and make a wish for a dream to come true. That is exactly what Disney taps into every time they produce a movie. Cars that talk. Toys that come to life. Fairies that flutter around Never Never Land. These are all examples of magical worlds that take the child to places where dreams become reality. For a family story time hour librarians can choose books and crafts that embrace this magic. Begin and end the story time with the catchy little verse, "Starlight, Star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may I wish I might have this dream I dream tonight." There are many songs, perhaps too many to count, that speak about dreams. One activity that is quick, easy and cost effective is a quiz that families can take to challenge their memories. This can be one on the website or as handouts at the reference desk. Find ten to fifteen popular songs about dreams. For each of these songs write down one line which contains the word "dream". Challenge your patrons to write down the name of the song in which this line is song. For example, a librarian could use this line, "Merrily, merrily, life is but a dream." Everyone should know that this line is from the classic children's rhyme, "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." For every quiz that is filled out a child could win a sticker, bookmark, or candy. Lives of famous people often inspire readers to dream big. For older children, challenge them to read one biography of someone who had big dreams and made them come through hard work, never giving up and believing in their dreams. It is without a doubt that every librarians knows of at least one child that comes into the library wanting to know more about their favorite sports figure. They dream of one day becoming like their heroes and playing professional sports. In other words, inspire young patrons to find out how to make their dreams a reality. Reading how others have achieved their goals is not only inspirational but makes the dream attainable. Speaking of attainable, one craft that is easy to do with children as young as six to teens is making a dream catcher. Native Americans have long had the traditions of ensnaring bad dreams in the net so that they disappear at the light of day. While good dreams pass through the net allowing for a peaceful night for the dreamer. Dreams can be memorable and might even fall into the category of remarkable. Where else but in fiction can elephants fly, robots take over the world or flights beyond the galaxy are made possible. In works of fiction there is the ability of making the impossible become a reality. For example, readers have loved Jules Verne's and H.G. Wells' tales of science fiction that in their day seemed impossible. Time machines, submarines and other mechanical devices conjured up in the mind take readers to a place and time where everything is possible. It is remarkable what the mind can dream and achieve. Granted the time machine has not become a reality yet, but as long as there are dreamers the possibility of creating one that works still exists. This year's theme is full of possibilities. It's tempting to sit back and dream of all the wonderful activities that are possible. However, time is of the essence. Mow it's time for librarians to stop dreaming about their programs and get to work on showcasing the library as a place where dreams come to life!
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