I would guess that it’s a rare library that doesn’t offer some sort of summer reading initiative. A huge proportion of those SRP libraries, I would guess, also offer some sort of summer literacy program for pre-readers, whether it’s the same program as for older kids or something designed specifically for 0-5s. How many libraries, though, have thought about supplementing summer reading for pre-readers with summer “doing”?
That’s exactly what the Arlington Heights Memorial Library did in summer 2014. They put together “Summer Reading, Summer Doing” program cards for 0-5s, packed with great ideas to encourage caregivers to engage in early literacy activities with their children. I love these types of programs for caregivers of young children when they include lists of activity options–it acknowledges that all children this young can be vastly different, and what activity is great for one particular little one may bomb with another. All the activities! All the literacy!
Bonus: AHML also handed out cards to program participants during each week of their program. For 0-2s, these cards offered tips for caregivers on how they can do simple things to stimulate early literacy skill development. For 0-3s, these cards each had a simple, excellent activity idea that could be easily replicated a home, either for free or with inexpensive household supplies. Think a balance activity using a hanger, string, and cups; making play dough; digging for “worms” in pudding; and more. Families who participated throughout the entire summer ended up with a complete booklet of age-appropriate activities for “summer doing”–having fun with early literacy benefits. What a great initiative!
So, hey, why don’t you think about how you can incorporate some summer doing at your library this summer? It could be for any age, formal or informal, part of a program or an at-home activity–possibilities are bounded only by your imagination. Get doing!