Keeping them reading

It’s pretty easy to get kids excited about coming to the library to sign up for Summer Reading during a lively school visit. The harder thing is getting them to keep reading through the summer. Our goals here at Niles are:
~To keep children reading throughout the summer vacation to maintain their reading levels
~To encourage recreational reading
~To encourage library use
~To create a memorable experience

So our games are planned with that in mind–not that they just come through the door once to sign up, but that they keep coming back to the library. I am a big believer in counting the statistic “added visits” along with registrations and finishers, because every time they come through the library door is important.

The way we accomplish that is by setting up a game that is unveiled in stages. This year’s game with the theme Mission Read began with astronauts off in a training station. Kids earned a turn on the game for every hour read, and they picked their favorite astronaut and took a turn. About two weeks into the program, an outer space mission was called: We were being attacked by robots sent by Pluto, whose inhabitants are mad that we said they weren’t a planet anymore!

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Game Board 2–the Outer Space Mission. Librarians and volunteers play the bad guys; kids play the good guys.
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Game Board 2, section 2
Two weeks later, another section of outer space opens up with some new game spaces (found under the shiny squares which are velcroed on)
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Scoreboard of Alliance vs. Plutonians

This lure of a new part of the story unfolding brings the kids back in droves, and I would really like to think that it also accomplishes the fourth goal–it gives kids a really memorable experience!

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