Apr 20, 2009

I’m a real fan of youth service and dedicated a whole chapter to it in my book. Since writing this month’s Positively Speaking column, I’ve read about many outstanding projects initiated and implemented by young people throughout the world for Global Youth Service Day. My daughter posted her literacy project on a map at the Global Youth Service Day website, and so can you!

One of our community’s service projects:
Fourth- and fifth-grade youth leaders are teaming with high school students to paint game templates on the blacktop. It’s been a very involved process, meeting weekly to discuss which games will work the best and fit in the space we have.

After the games are painted on the blacktop, the 4th and 5th grade youth leaders will partner with the physical education teacher to teach the games to the younger students. It’s all a part of the Peaceful Playgrounds curriculum.

What a fun and worthwhile project!

Now here’s your chance to share your own community’s youth service projects. Please share what your community’s young people are doing for Global Youth Service Day projects. We’d love to get new ideas for next year. Just describe the project here in comments, or leave your link. Be sure to mention the ages of the young people involved in the service.

Thanks for spreading the word about this outstanding global initiative!

 

Apr 15, 2009

***GUEST SERIES BY SIXTH-GRADE DARLA***

Begin the “Start a Book Club” series here.

Although it doesn’t have to cost a lot, money can help your bookclub be more successful. Even a small corporate sponsorship can go a long way toward making your book club work. To give you an idea, here’s the request for funding that I wrote to my mom’s company.

Get creative! You can also ask for donations of activity materials, books or snacks from local stores. And my library has doubled since getting the word out to family members and neighbors. Just figure out what your book club really needs, and let people know. Adults often ask me how they can help, and it’s a lot easier to ask for quality items they might donate to GoodWill anyway.

We also receive a small, but regular funding from the affiliate income earned by purchases made from this Amazon search box. The money we use mostly goes toward the purchase of treats, activity materials and prizes. Here are some suggestions – but your situation will vary greatly, depending upon the resources in your community and neighborhood.

FUNDING SOURCE IDEAS:
• Two of my friends sponsored a dog wash and earned $9 to put toward materials and supplies.

• Encourage neighbor support by setting up a BookWorm Wednesday table at garage sales. All proceeds from one table can go to support the project.

• Ask for a grant from a sponsor, consider local businesses or sending fliers to neighbors.

• Include “wish list” items on the bottom of the fliers you give to participants.

• Mention “needed items” if you have the opportunity to be interviewed for a newspaper article. But be specific. You might get more than you bargained for!

• I make my money by receiving earnings from the Amazon links on this blog.

• I suggest buying prizes and crafts from Oriental trading, but don’t buy candy prizes there! It is cheaper at the grocery store.

I hope this series will get you started on a path toward hosting your own neighborhood book club! Please come back here and share your experience. I’d love to hear from you!!

Next week, we’ll ask readers to share what’s happening in their communities on Global Youth Service Day — the weekend of April 24-26. Please join us next week, by describing your project, or linking to your story. Thank you!

How to Start a Kid’s Book Club series:
Read Across America – Youth Leader for Literacy Project
How to Start Your Own BookWorm Wednesday
Adult Mentor
Book Selection
Activities
Safety
Marketing
Management
Teamwork
Money

Thank you for reading this series, a part of Read Across America, sponsored by NEA and Youth Service America. Darla is one of the select few youth named 2009 Youth Leaders for Literacy.

 

Apr 09, 2009

***GUEST SERIES BY SIXTH-GRADE DARLA***

Begin the “Start a Book Club” series here.

The most important factor which has contributed to the success of BookWorm Wednesday, is the team of friends that come every week to make it happen. Different friends bring different abilities and we all have an impact on the book club. We’re able to accomplish more, and manage the group better when several of us attend on a regular basis. Besides, it’s a lot more fun! For me, Wednesday is my favorite day of the week because it’s a social time with my friends too.

TEAMMATES
• A few friends to help you are great because they take a load off your back. Don’t recruit to many though! You don’t have that many jobs!

• I have two helpers, plus one that lives in another town that occasionally visits and sometimes we have a few other friends to help

• In my little group, Eliza checks out the books, and Cameron does attendance while I read. Then we all pitch in to do crafts

• Always mention that your friends are a major contribution to your book club. Honestly, BWW wouldn’t exist if they didn’t help me.

• To prove how badly you need helpers, imagine checking out books, taking attendance, supervising, reading and helping with the crafts in half in hour with seven 1st graders. YIKES!

How to Start a Kid’s Book Club series:
Read Across America – Youth Leader for Literacy Project
How to Start Your Own BookWorm Wednesday
Adult Mentor
Book Selection
Activities
Safety
Marketing
Management
Teamwork
Money

This series of articles is a part of Read Across America, sponsored by NEA and Youth Service America. Darla — named one of the 2009 Youth Leaders for Literacy — is sponsoring this campaign to help other youth start book clubs in their neighborhoods. Please come back next week for the continuation of this series, which will end the last week in April, in conjunction with Global Youth Service Day.

 

Apr 02, 2009

***GUEST SERIES BY SIXTH-GRADE DARLA***

Begin the “Start a Book Club” series here.

When you first start your book club, don’t expect numbers like the seven or more that I get. Our book club has been going for two years and the word has gotten around. Some of the first few BookWorm Wednesdays only had 3 or 4 kids, but it grew.

Our typical BWW follows a schedule: The kids come, check out books, sit and eat a snack while we read to them. Then we do a craft. On warm days, my friends and I walk around the neighborhood and go door to door, picking up the kids, then walking them home again. In the winter, the kids need a ride from their parents or bundle up and walk here, and then my mom will give them a ride home.

A lot goes into the management of a book club, and here are some tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of disorganization.

CALENDAR
• Work out a calendar, so you’re planning ahead for holiday events and canceled meetings.

• Memorize your schedule, eventually the kids know and do it on their own

• Don’t be afraid to ask for help-you are a kid being a teacher. I needed help with discipline when we got more kids.

INCENTIVES
• I use incentives to reward attendance. Every time a participant comes three times, they get a ticket. They may spend the ticket on a sucker, or save it for a more “expensive” item.

• Whenever you hand out fliers or are reminding kids on the school bus, mention you have cookies or another kind of snack. It is more likely they will come if you have food

• Don’t spend too much money on snacks. I use the cheap $.99 boxes of cookies at the grocery store, unless it is a party and then we usually get little cupcakes.

BOOK CHECKOUT
There are three ways to check out books that I can think of:

• Go on the computer and click into Excel. Alphabetize the books and assign each participant a color. For instance, Sara has the color blue. The cell with her book changes blue until she returns it.

• You can also use Microsoft Word and do the same thing but writing the letter. (Sara’s name gets written in a bright color after the book is checked out)

• Write everything down on paper. (I have never tried this, but I suggest you give them all shapes and draw the shapes in something erasable)

• Put the children’s books and the chapter books on separate pages.

• Don’t let kids check out books when you’re reading.

TRANSPORTATION

• On warm days, my friends and I walk around the neighborhood and go door to door, picking up the kids, them walking them home again.

• On cold days, the kids may need a ride.

• Depending upon logistics, it may make sense to shut down the book club during the coldest months, then host a grand opening party again when you start up with warmer weather.

• Book clubs naturally work better when the parents are sending their kids to a friends house, so if you have lived in the neighborhood your whole life, it will be much easier.
How to Start a Kid’s Book Club series:
Read Across America – Youth Leader for Literacy Project
How to Start Your Own BookWorm Wednesday
Adult Mentor
Book Selection
Activities
Safety
Marketing
Management
Teamwork
Money

This series of articles is a part of Read Across America, sponsored by NEA and Youth Service America. Darla — named one of the 2009 Youth Leaders for Literacy — is sponsoring this campaign to help other youth start book clubs in their neighborhoods. Please come back next week for the continuation of this series, which will end the last week in April, in conjunction with Global Youth Service Day.

 
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Thanks for your comment: Kelly's Mom.

Mar 25, 2009

***GUEST SERIES BY SIXTH-GRADE DARLA***

Begin the “Start a Book Club” series here.

Once your books are ready, you have to let people know about your book club! Think about how you’ll market the project. How will people know about it?

For me, it worked best to send out invitations to people in my neighborhood, and introduce myself to parents. Book clubs naturally work better when the parents are sending their kids to someone they consider “a friend’s house,” so if you have lived in the neighborhood your whole life, it will be much easier. When you hand out the fliers, I would use cool fonts on the computer and small clip art pictures.

Our book club lasts from 4:00 to 4:30 every Wednesday, and that time frame works well for us, leaving room for the crew members’ other after-school activities. You should be detailed on the flier, mentioning what time, where it’s at, why they should attend, and who is running it. It helps a lot if you mention you have cookies as a snack.

Ideally, you start out with something big, outside and fun. Call it a grand opening! Everyone in the neighborhood will come to an ice cream social with red light/green light. You can host special “everyone” events throughout the year as well. For instance, this week we’ll host an Easter egg hunt. We made a special flier to hand out to all the kids in the neighborhood, and we expect pretty much everyone will show up this week, even though only a handful will attend in the following weeks. We don’t worry about how many will return for the next week’s story. Some may be too young to become regulars this year, but next year it might be the perfect fit.

MARKETING
• Hand out fliers, using clip art and cool fonts.

• ALWAYS mention in the fliers that you have cookies or brownies.

• Be specific, including all important information in bullet points and bold letters.

• When you deliver the fliers, introduce yourself, following basic safety rules.

• Keep a short time frame at a time that works in your neighborhood. Although 4:00-4:30 is good for us, earlier, later or weekend times might work better for you.

• If you’re not a person already known by everyone in the community, recruit one as a helper! Familiar faces will help you to recruit participants. My mom says it also builds community.

• Host a grand opening event! Have ice cream and play outside games. A highly-visible, outside activity will draw in new participants.

• Don’t worry if some kids come for the big events, but not the regular book club dates. That’s okay! It might not be the right fit for them yet, but next year you might be surprised who starts to attend regularly.

How would you market a neighborhood book club?

How to Start a Kid’s Book Club series:
Read Across America – Youth Leader for Literacy Project
How to Start Your Own BookWorm Wednesday
Adult Mentor
Book Selection
Activities
Safety
Marketing
Management
Teamwork
Money

This series of articles is a part of Read Across America, sponsored by NEA and Youth Service America. Darla — named one of the 2009 Youth Leaders for Literacy — is sponsoring this campaign to help other youth start book clubs in their neighborhoods. Please come back next week for the continuation of this series, which will end the last week in April, in conjunction with Global Youth Service Day.

 
Filed In: *Empowerment, Passing the Torch | Click to Comment (6) | Permalink  Share This

Thanks for your comment: Pamela and Diane L.
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