School Visits… Or Why I No Longer Have a Voice

25 May

School visits invariably exhaust me and crack me up!  We don’t get into the schools as often as I’d like, but we are able to see the kids for about 30 minutes in May to promote the summer’s upcoming reading program.  How do you entertain, educate and encourage 80+ kids of any given grade to sign up for summer reading?  We’ve created a somewhat foolproof trivia games that excites the kids about summer reading.  Each spring I create a PowerPoint presentation, that along with the typical here’s how you sign up, has a bunch of trivia questions for the kids.  Also, we never fail to mention that all the programs and your library card is free!  There are so many kids who don’t know this and we want as many people as possible to use our library.  Today when we asked the kids how much it costs to attend the programs this summer, we had answers ranging for “a couple bucks” to “$100.”  So it’s not only about having fun (which we love to do), it’s also about teaching the kids about the library!  I create a few different presentations – an easier version for Kindergarten – 2nd grade, a medium skill level for 3rd and 4th graders and a more difficult one for the middle school kids (5th – 8th grades).

In the assembly we select a few students to compete against each other in front of their peers.  I’m always surprised as soon as kids hear, “We need some volunteers.” Their hands are in the air!  I was one of those kids who hated being in front of people (even just answering a question or reading aloud) and these kids volunteer before they even know what they’re volunteering for.  For the little ones, we leave it here – a couple kids competing against each other.  Sometimes I have audience questions which allow the kids to yell out the answers.  But for the 3rd – 8th graders, I also throw in True/False questions for the audience.  These questions go along with the theme and are always fun.  This allows everyone to participate by standing up if they believe the statement to be true and staying seated if they believe the statement to be false.  This gets everyone moving and excited and LOUD (which usually terrifies the teachers), but I love to see the kids interacting with us.  I’d much rather it be a little too loud, than to see the kids disinterested and bored.

This year, each trivia game starts with some sports stars the kids have to name, followed by up close photographs of sports equipment the kids have to figure out.  We have a large Indian population, so I had to include cricket – which so many of the kids knew.  Plus, I included a wheelchair racing wheelchair and a picture of an athlete playing goalball (a sport for athletes with visual impairments) to talk to the kids a little bit about the Paralympics and about sports for people with disabilities.  I err on the side of too easy to make sure the kids feel accomplished, but always like to throw in a couple tricky questions to teach the kids something new.  We have just a few more school visits to go and it has been so fun to see the kids at school and makes me excited for summer reading!  What do you do when you visit the schools about summer reading?


2 Responses to “School Visits… Or Why I No Longer Have a Voice”

  1. thislibrarianslife May 25, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

    that is kind of similar to what I did this year! I made a game out of it and it is actually a game that we are doing this summer during one of our programs. Our theme is summer Olympics but we are doing a couple brain games so they have to memorize the images on the screen then when they disappear verbally tell me what they remember. Each item represented something that we would be doing! Games are awesome and they have really enjoyed it!

    • literacious May 25, 2016 at 11:14 pm #

      That sounds really cool! What a great way to incorporate your summer plans into the game!

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