Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Salon: California Read-a-Thon and Hairspray


Whew! I have been working on the California Read-a-Thon off and on since last November and it's actually over. That feels pretty strange actually. It went okay, not great. I had images of hundreds of California schools participating, students filling libraries on a Saturday, and teachers and staff joining in to promote literacy and reading. The reality is that 11 schools signed up, a few didn't do anything, and I got my assistant and a few students in to read.

Okay, here's some thoughts about why it didn't go as well as I had hoped:
  • Some schools are on spring break this week
  • Many schools in California don't have librarians
  • Many schools in California just laid off their librarians
  • Spring is a crazy busy time of year
  • Exhausted students and staff aren't willing to give up a weekend
  • I modeled it on the Dewey 24-hour read-a-thon and that works great for book-obsessed bloggers like myself. Perhaps all the tech (blogging, Mr. Linky, etc) was too much for overworked folks
Here's ways I think I can make it better next year:
  • Hold the event in the fall (October?) when we're all still fresh or have it correspond with Read Across America (March 2)?
  • Maybe hold it in an afternoon/evening
  • Make reporting in easier (no library blogs?)
But, there were some cool things that took place at the schools that participated: students wrote reviews, librarians collected lists of SSR books, at one school everyone dressed up as their favorite book character and the whole school read at the same time. I had students come in on a Saturday to read.
Anyone have any suggestions?

On to completely different topic: I saw the podiatrist and don't have to have surgery! Whooopeee!

Later today I get to hear my daughter read poetry at our local art museum then we're going to the stage show "Hairspray"!

6 comments:

Louise said...

At least you got 11 schools to participate in your read-a-thon which I think it a great idea by the way, and next year will definitely be better! Well done, I would've participated if I was a librarian (and in US)

campbele said...

All in all, sounds like a good event so I have to say CONGRATULATIONS on such a massive undertaking! I'm sure as word spreads, it will grow each year.

Maybe you can find a way for administrators to participate so they can have an idea of ALL the ways we work to promote literacy!

Suko said...

I wish I had some helpful advice, Helen. I guess the library cuts are to blame.

softdrink said...

11 is a fantastic start! I'm sure you'll have more next year.

Aths said...

Congrats on doing this! I think it is still a great achievement.

I organize a read-a-thon in a goodreads group. And the participants there are not into blogging or even posting updates. So the tactic I used was that they would just post their updates if they wanted to, but if they would rather read, they would do just that and post a final summary. I do agree with you that regular updating may not be a great idea for the kids. I'm not sure how you did it, but I guess once-in-a-while updates are good enough, in a system that every one is comfy with. Something like a discussion forum. (How about using Goodreads for that? You could create a group just for this.)

Helen's Book Blog said...

I got a lot of good feedback from participants and non-participants from the California Library listserve. I think I'll combine it with Read Across America since most schools already do stuff on this day