When I started at my new library, one of the first things I did was change my summer reading program to a summer learning program. Our old program might have looked like yours. For every hour or every number of pages, you got raffle tickets. More you read, the more you got. It felt like a competition–just reading as much as you can and then getting as many prizes as you can. While it can be great to incentive reading, I would argue this is the wrong way to do it, since: A) Your big readers are going to read a lot anyway, B) It leaves your average reader with very little chance to get a prize, C) It really only incentives kids that LIKE to read.
Transitioning to a summer learning program is more inclusive to all kids and all learning styles. It still gets families in the door, but does a better job of fighting the summer slide since, we’re now focusing on all aspects of learning and all types of learning.
For summer I run two different learning programs, one for Kindergarten to 5th grade, and one for birth to PreKindergarten. I have an example of my learning log below, but basically they have to do a certain amount of learning tasks or prompts each week to get their prizes or incentives. I try to keep some of them generic since every kid is different, and I don’t know where they are in their individual learning–so they can interpret the prompts however.
Here are my learning activities for my older kiddos, I tried to break them down into categories:
In addition, I also do a program for babies and toddlers focusing on early literacy skills. They mostly focus on the five “Read, Talk, Play, Sing Write” principles, with a quick explanation as to why we do them to educate the parents as well. I also made it into kind of a map/coloring sheet to make it more fun:
Here are my learning activities for my early literacy kiddos. Depending on where kiddos are developmentally, some of these learning prompts may be harder than others, but I just ask parents to do their best:
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