It’s almost May, which means I’m gathering my books and goodies for my Summer Reading Program School visits. This will be my third year doing school visits and I’ve been lucky enough to add new classrooms to my roster this year. But that also means that there will be some students that have heard my song and dance about the Teen Summer Reading Program before. So I’m always looking for ways to keep my visits fresh and new.
Typically my visits consist of me showing the teens the online Summer Reading site, explaining how the programs works, and then booktalking some books and suggesting titles for their summer reading. Sometimes the groups are small-one or two classrooms-and we can have a discussion about the books they’ve read and what they’re looking forward to.
I’ve taken bingo games I’ve made up with the books I booktalk and have the teens mark off the titles as I talk about them. I’ve taken bookmarks and candy as giveaways. I’ve shown book trailers and samples of our Teen Video Contest entries. At the high school, I set up a table outside the cafeteria with a large piece of poster board that says “Tell Me Your Favorite Book and Win Candy.” This always gets a huge draw and I come away with a new reader’s advisory tool and insight into what the teens are reading. I’ve had signs with vote for “Team Jacob” or “Team Edward” complete with the actor’s photos. This year I’m planning on taking picture books, shredding the pages, and placing them in a clear jar and asking the teens to guess the popular picture book.
I’m always looking for new ideas and ways to get the teens interested and engaged. Any good tips for Summer Reading Program visits?