Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kewaunee Children and Families Are “Hooked On Books”

1,000 Book Program Participants
Last fall, the Kewaunee Public Library was awarded a Growing Wisconsin Readers mini-grant, which allowed us to begin a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. We chose a “Hooked On Books” fish theme, because our community is located on the shore of Lake Michigan. So far, over 70 families have signed up for the program.

When families sign up, they receive a “Pout, Pout Fish” book, tote bag, and reading log to track the number of books they read. For every 100 books read, they get a small motivator (for example, fish crackers, fish sunglasses, etc). Our only regret was purchasing fish “clappers” which are LOUD and drive parents and librarians alike a little insane!

Two Readers Enjoy Their Paperback Pups
When families reach 1,000 books, they have successfully completed the program and receive a larger reward—a “Paperback Pup” stuffed animal donated by the Build-A-Bear company. Also as part of the “Hooked on Books” program, we provide outreach. Every month, we go into 4K classrooms in our elementary school and two child care centers to read to the children.  

Since last fall, children and families in the program have read over 11,000 books! The program is encouraging parents to be their child’s first teacher and read together every day. Also, we have found that families are coming to the library more often to get library cards, check out material, and attend our story time and other programs. Finally, the ongoing outreach we provide has strengthened our relationship with teachers and childcare providers. We have started to collaborate on other projects that promote reading and education in our community.

Local businesses heard about the program and donated money and goods toward incentives, which will allow us to sustain the program for years to come. We are grateful for all of the financial support. Overall, the “Hooked on Books” program was a fairly easy to implement and a wonderful way to prepare children to become independent readers, succeed in school, and become life-long learners.

Pam Lathrop-Roets, Librarian
Kewaunee PublicLibrary, Kewaunee, WI

Photos credited to author