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Here we are again designing our summer reading challenge. Since I am at =
my creative wits end, I could use some help from those of you at the =
elementary and secondary level who LIKE your program.  We are still =
working to find a program that is really successful with our low =
socio-economic rural students.
 At different times in the past, we have tried the following: challenged =
our elementary and secondary students to read from an age appropriate =
list; challenged them  to set a goal of hours read; and for several =
years challenged the students  to set a goal of books read (with a =
special recognition for those who read 100 books in the summer).  We =
have tried setting one or two books from the Va. Young Readers List as =
the bonus book to read with followup activities with the teachers (that =
flopped big time since the teachers didn't buy in and read the books).   =
We always have a fall recognition where we have an ice cream  party =
(with the central office administrators serving)  for those who meet the =
challenge along with the donation of a book to the library in the =
child's name (and ribbons, certificates, etc.)  We also set a school =
goal which is normally the number of students times 10 books to equal a =
number for the school.
We have trouble agreeing on: what should count as a book (how about =
number of chapters?) and is it fair to have children read picture books =
instead of chapter books in grades 3 and up; who will document the hours =
if we go that route; what role do the classroom teachers play in the =
summer reading challenge; should we insist on books from a list and if =
so, will we have follow-up in the media center or classroom at the =
beginning of the year?
I should also say that our district pays our media specialists to come =
in during the summer for a set number of hours each week or so and have =
the media center open for book checkout.  We let each media specialist =
set their own schedule.  We never have anyone come in at the secondary =
level even when we offer TVs as reading incentive prizes!
We have an active summer school program and also have a lot of students =
who are bused to recreational programs in the summer.  Most, if not all, =
of the students in these programs are also students who are mandated to =
attend because of low standardized test (Va. SOL) scores.   Any help =
would be greatly appreciated!

Cathy Cheely
Technology Director (and library supervisor)
Brunswick Public Schools
Lawrenceville, Va.

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