Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dream Big, READ Final Report

The summer is officially over, since school has begun, and we are finished gathering stats about our annual Summer Read-at-Home program. This year we had 446 kids ages 3-11 register and 110 teens ages 12-17 register. We had 80 weekly prize drawing winners over the eight weeks of the program. These prizes ranged from T-shirts with the Summer Reading Theme, Dream Big...READ, and book bags to toys like sand bucket and pails or board games.  On our final prize days we handed out over 800 free books! 

Every year we survey our participating parents to see what they thought of the program. This year we had great positive feedback through this survey.  We asked the participants to rate the program overall on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being highest. Our average rating was 4.77, with 55 parents rating us a 5 overall. Parents were also asked if they felt the amount of reading required to complete the program (20 minutes daily) was adequate. An overwhelming 96% of parents thought the 20 minutes was perfect with busy summer schedules. Of course, we did get comments from some very dedicated readers that this was much too simple. My thought on that is, the program is just a bonus for those kids anyway, since they would read regardless. Our real target are the kids who struggle to get the minimum amount of reading in. Many, many moms said that the program was very motivational for their struggling readers.

We next asked parents if they thought that cost of the program was fair. We do charge $1.00 to cover the cost of paper and copies for the program. This is a suggested donation only and if someone doesn't want to pay they can still participate with no problem. I have worried that this suggested donation may deter some participants, but a whopping 100% of those who completed the survey said they thought it was fair. Money from these donations go back into the children's and young adult departments to improve our services. We have bought bookshelves, puzzles and games, puppets and puppet theater, and story time supplies in the past with these funds.

Some of the comments from the surveys are listed below:
This was fun to have a goal to work toward.
It kept them reading all summer long.
They were very excited to color in the spaces each time they read.
It encouraged my daughter to finish a chapter book for the first time.
It was a fun incentive to complete a line and get to add a ticket to the prize drawing box.

Finally, I would like to say 'thank you' to all the parents who signed up their children. We couldn't do this program without them. They are the ones who time the children as they read and bring them into the library to get more books and bring in tickets for the drawing. I am grateful to them for helping their children complete the program.

Michele Schumann
Children's Librarian

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