"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

05 October 2017

1000 Books Before Kindergarten: A Relaunch

My library was already using 1KBB4K when I started here, but I quickly realized that this was a very underutilized program. It is listed on my monthly statistics, but I can count on one hand the number of times in the past year that someone has asked about it or turned in a reading log, etc. etc. If we're going to do a program, I want us to actually have some involvement, so I decided it was time to relaunch 1KBB4K at my library.

I planned my relaunch for late September, after the school-aged kids were settled in at school and storytime had returned to its non-summer routine. I planned to do this relaunch twice: once during our regularly scheduled morning storytime and once as a special evening event for families who cannot attend our daytime programs.

As part of this relaunch I decided that our materials needed to be gone through as well. Previously our library had used colorful reading logs where each color corresponded to a particular level in the program. We also had a small bin of prizes - mostly temporary tattoos - and no signage or displays relating to this program.

I created a racetrack display in our meeting room. If a racetrack doesn't suit your fancy, there are dozens of different 1KBB4K display pictures available on the internet. The important thing was to have something up on the wall that the kids could see. For me, this has a double benefit: the display is up so kids can keep track of their progress, and this display happens to be in the same room where we have storytime every week, so kids and caregivers will see this display and be reminded about the program.

I admit I was disappointed to discover that we only had temporary tattoos as prizes to give to 0-5 year olds. Many of the kids participating in this program are too young to want or enjoy a temporary tattoo. I understand that the idea is to give them a fun prize they will enjoy, but that won't break the library's budget, but I was able to replace those tattoos with some prizes from the party aisle of my local big box store. I found a variety of things - small sports balls, bracelets, little containers of Play-Dough, etc. I made sure to include items that are good for very young children and are not choking hazards. A box of colorful toys is much more fun to dig through than a box of temporary tattoos.

This is not from my library, but these are what our log sheets looked like.
Our old reading logs required parents to write out the title of every individual book they read with their children. This means in addition to reading 1,000 books, they had to write 1,000 titles, and all of this on top of what is probably already a very busy schedule. Since I don't actually need to know what books a child has read, I made a new form that consists of 100 flags, and the kids and their caregivers can color in or cross out a flag every time they read a book. Not only does this eliminate the title-writing requirement, but it also allows the child to participate in marking their books on the sheet, which will help build enthusiasm for the program. Our new reading logs also leave a space to write in what number the patrons are working on (0-100, 101-200, etc.), so we can use the exact same log paper for every patron and there is no need for storing multiple copies of multiple sheets. When I can make things easier for the patrons and easier for my staff, everyone wins.

I ran the kickoff program itself much like I would a standard storytime. I read books, sang songs, and recited rhymes with the kids, and in between activities I told the parents about various benefits of reading 1,000 books with their child. At the end of the storytime, I had a craft set out for the kids and a table where parents could sign up for the program. Patrons who signed up received a bag with some small goodies (pencil, bookmark, etc.) as well as information about the program and a list of suggested books to read. Each child attendee was given a raffle ticket as I was able to give away some of the Kohl's Cares plushies and book sets (which our library received as a donation).

Time will tell if this does indeed respark the interest in this particular program.

Does your library use 1,000 Books before Kindergarten? Do you do a different, similar program? Let us know in the comments!

1 comment:

Marge Loch-Wouters said...

The log sheets pictured were from my former library (La Cropsse (WI) Public Library. After about 8 months, we changed them to bookmarks with 100 seeds for kids and parents to color in: https://www.wrlsweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/1000-Books-Flower-Seed-Bookmar-1.pdf

When parents asked for a few lines to list favorite books, we did a final morph to little half sheets with seeds, a few lines for titles and on the back side of each sheet early literacy activities. Boom! Great results and response!! https://www.wrlsweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/1000-Books-Flower-Seed-2013.pdf