What’s the best summer reading prize? My answer to that used to be automatic: Of course you give them a book. Of COURSE! If you have a lot of money, you give them this:
If you have a more normal amount of money, you can only afford paperbacks so you give them this:
If you have superpowers, you give them this (and prepare for the stampede):
Those all look nice, don’t they? Especially the one that hasn’t even been published yet? But the bottom line is that while books make a wonderful reward for kids who like reading, they make a pretty bad reward for the kids for whom reading is a struggle. You know, the ones Summer Reading is trying to reach?
So libraries turn to things like t-shirts and bags, usually with the name of the theme and the library’s name on them, and they’re very cute!
But then, aren’t you sending the message with non-book prizes that now that they are done with that yucky old reading, they can have something they’ll like better?
Then there’s our other prize dilemma. Virtually everything we hand out as our daily prizes is small stuff made in China. After last year’s bendables painted with lead paint, that no longer looks as appealing. And one of our always favorite prizes, shiny satin sand animals, came this year with big tags stating “NOT A TOY”. Since the company listed it as a toy and didn’t mention their non-toy status on their website, that was a little annoying!
So for next year, I can’t decide. Do we get rid of concrete prizes for daily prizes and call it “Going Green”? What do you do with the little guys, who don’t understand the concept of coupons or working toward a bigger reward? I am just not sure, but I’d love to hear what other libraries are planning.