Friday, October 13, 2017

I volunteer as tribute!

I've done away with my Teen Advisory Council, finally.  It hasn't been a really viable group for a few years--kids would come, but they wouldn't have suggestions or ideas, and those kids would never come to regular programs.  What we DO have interest in is volunteer hours.  Our local schools all require them, and we simply don't have enough opportunities for teens to get hours here. 

My answer to the lack of interest in TAC and the overwhelming interest in volunteer hours was to create a new group called 'Volunteens" which will meet for an hour once a month.  During the meeting, I share upcoming volunteer opportunities--from shelf reading to helping with kid's programs.   For teens who want regularly scheduled hours, I created Reading Buddies, an idea I blatantly ripped off from another library after my boss sent me an article about it. A quick Google tells me that lots of libraries are doing the same thing under the same name, so I don't feel too badly about it.

I had the teens sign up with me before registration opened for kids, so that I knew how many to allow. I ended up with 6 teens and 5 littles for our first meeting last night, which was perfect.  We can accommodate more, and we will, but It was nice to have a lot of space in the room.  We have a LOT of fun early literacy materials that I could use, and we bought a few more flashcards and things.

FIRST: I set up the room.  There were five stations that had a book and manipulative as well as a little stack of easy readers.

Then there were about six stations that just had an activity, like tracing letters, building letters out of shapes, matching rhymes, or word puzzles:

The teens arrived first, and I gave them instructions to start with the book/manipulative.  The teen would read the books while the little followed along with the pieces.  Then the little would read aloud one of the easy readers. I told the teens to help and encourage, but not be hard on the kids at all--that it was all for practice.  After they finished their books, they moved on to activity stations. 

I was amazed at the confidence of the littles!  They were all VERY excited to spend time with some super cool teenagers.  I wasn't sure how much time we would fill, but the program lasted a solid hour.  At the end, the kids each filled out a certificate, practicing writing their name and then taking a stab at their new buddies' name.  IT WAS ALL VERY, VERY CUTE.

I talked to the teens after, and they LOVED it. I hope they all come back, and bring friends!