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"!


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