Thanks to Kim Hennings at New Richmond for this guest blog post about a great addition to their Summer Library Program:
This year, in addition to weekly reading goals for SLP participants, we added "Mayor Fred's Summer Reading Challenge."
We had a high school student draw a cartoon of the Mayor and we used that as artwork in our Summer Reading Program booklet. The instructions stated:
"This year we are very excited that one of New Richmond's own heroes, Mayor Fred Horne, has a reading challenge for the children of New Richmond.
I want to give you an extra challenge this summer. Using the list below read the eight different types of books throughout the summer reading program. If you complete all eight, you will be presented a special award at the city council meeting on August 10th.
I can't wait to see how many New Richmond kids are reading this summer! All summer readers are superheroes in my book! - Mayor Fred"
The categories were
-A book where at least one character is an animal
-A funny or humorous book
-A non-fiction book (true story)
-A book that won a national award (caldecott or newberry)
-Re-read a favorite book
-A fairy or folktake
-Listen to a book, eaudio, book on CD or book & CD
-A graphic novel, comic, or wordless picture book
All the children who completed the challenge got a special invitation to the council meeting via email. 50 kids completed the challenge and 30 kids plus parents/siblings came to the meeting. The council had to bring in extra seating to accommodate everyone. During the meeting, I called the kids up one at a time and the Mayor shook their hand and presented them with a certificate. (certificates were filled out ahead of time and we checked kids in before the meeting. We also had blank certificates to fill out for last minute additions) Afterwards we took a group photo and the kids were invited to the basement for cake and punch. Although it certainly wasn't our highest attended program, several council members as well as parents expressed their enthusiasm and appreciation. It's a great introduction to local politics and what the city council does.
It's one thing for me to tell the council how many kids participated in summer reading (which I do), and it is another for them to see how proud those children were as they were accepting their awards. I also made sure to tell all the children the City Council meetings are televised, which they were very excited about.
We're already brainstorming ways we can tweak the program to make it more successful next year. The program took virtually no additional work besides filling out the certificates and ordering a cake and helped us build a better relationship with our Mayor and City Council.