The Summer Reading Club was started in June of 2013 by a South Seattle mom of 2 kids at Orca K8. We met 6 times that summer, some families coming to just one club and others coming to more. Meeting times were both in the morning and evening, at both Beacon Hill and Columbia City libraries, and the great librarians there put out a selection of early reader books for us to enjoy.
The primary goal of the Summer Reading Club is to provide a space for friends — old and new — to gather and read together!! The secondary goal is to provide a place for parents to read with kids who may be struggling and will benefit from extra summer reading help. After a fabulous summer of reading fun in 2013, the founding mom has decided to take this fabulous show on the road for the summer of 2014. The plan is to connect with community centers and other organizations in South Seattle that serve families of all cultures, languages and income levels, and provide another way for parents to build community around reading with their children.
Removing the program from the library requires her to put a call out for book donations, but she’s confident she can pull this off by next summer. In addition, she was recently awarded a small grant to help fund flier and printing costs, to help families who may not regularly use computers to find out about our free program. The grant money will also help us round out the book selection, as she hopes to have a full selection of early reader books that represent the beautiful diversity of our community, and to promote the anti-bias approach to literature that this mom is passionate about.
Why the Summer Reading Club?
This mom loves to read. She loves reading with her children. She loves what reading gives to young children, supporting their amazing imagination, confidence level, and creativity. She also is lucky enough to be able to spend time in her kids’ classrooms, working weekly and one-on-one with young readers who are struggling. After 2 years of volunteer classroom work, she noticed that something magical happens when young, emerging readers spend time reading with an adult they may not know very well. There’s a spark, a joy, and a sense of pride that is incredibly fun to witness. She saw young girls and boys, frustrated and resistant at the beginning of the year as they read to her, become confident and excited by the end of the year. This impacted her greatly.
In addition, she also realized that she wanted to continue supporting the kids she had been working with all year long, but didn’t know how to offer this up to the parents whom she didn’t know very well. Many of the parents of the kids she had worked with were not able to attend school functions, and some did not speak English, so she was not sure how to best communicate this offer. The idea of the Summer Reading Club came to her as a possible way to build community with these parents, as well as continue supporting their children.
What did we do?
During June, July and August of 2013, kids read together in groups or by themselves, and parents were there to help emerging readers. Parents read with both their own children and other children, and all adults got to see different ways of encouraging young readers. The kids kept track of the books they read on the Seattle Public Library’s Summer Reading program chart, and after 10 books the library gave the kids a free book. All kids were welcome, from all schools and all grades. Books were provided by the Children’s Librarian, and the kids could check them out later if they chose to. We even kept a “Reading Thermometer”, where kids wrote their names and number of books read that day! See the above picture (on top of the words “Seattle Summer Reading Club”) for a snapshot of the thermometer. By August, we saw over 45 kids reading a total of 300 books! We build community, kept our our reading skills, and encouraged each other. It was a great time!
THE READING CLUB MEETING SCHEDULE – SUMMER OF 2013:
June 18th, 6-7:30 pm, Columbia City Library
June 28th, 10-11:30 am, Beacon Hill Library
July 19th, 10-11:30 am, Beacon Hill Library
July 30th, 6-7:30 pm, Columbia City Library
August 16th, 10-11:30 am, Beacon Hill Library
August 27th 6-7:30 pm, Columbia City Library