It is more than time for an update on how “Growing Readers” is going!
(You can find my first outline of the program available here: Growing Readers Outline.)
Towards the end of December, kids were rushing through the activity stations to try and finish first! After that, I let them take books from the storytime collection to the rug independently. It worked for the first week. The next week, everyone went faster and fought over the pop-up edition of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” I knew that things had to change.
I took a break from “Growing Readers” in January to order more supplies (different literacy stations and activities), to deal with low registration (likely due to flu season), to avoid snowstorms and emergency closings, and to work on tweaking the program. I also spent some time re-training my teen volunteers to be more engaging with the children.
After the races towards the end of the program, I began to think that kids were getting more out of the storytime aspect than the activity stations. Which is totally fine! (And I’m going to take as a giant compliment, right?) The activity stations are supposed to supplement the storytime — not the other way around! I needed to add more to my storytime, and I really wanted to increase the interactivity.
Now, I read two to three books (depending on time), and include two apps on the iPad. I’ll be doing some write-ups on which apps were successful for us and which ones didn’t go over so well.
Which leads me to the activity stations — we only have about twenty minutes for activity stations now, and that seems to be working much, much better because the kids do not have enough time to race through and finish even if they tried. The teens are much better at asking follow-up questions and interacting with the kids. All in all, I made the right decision by working through a re-vamp.
I’ll start the activity stations again next week (Tuesdays, baring complications!), and app reviews as I find the time to write them up properly!