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Online Summer Reading Program 2020

imagine your story sign up image puss in boots

Like a lot of librarians, I was very excited about this year's theme, Imagine Your Story, and disappointed to have to work it into an online format. What a bummer. Luckily, though, we already had Beanstack which made the effort a lot smoother.

imagine your story babies

For all the Early Literacy sections (Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool), we just used CSLP's manual ideas, listing them as activities in Beanstack. Any relevant docs we linked through Google Drive. We kept the format of the "lands" (Land of Littles; Land of Heroes; Land of Make Believe, Land of Mother Goose, Land of Kings and Queens) then added activity badges for each early literacy element (sing, talk, play and write). So it looked something like this:

The Land of Littles: Sing (Fairy Badge)

The Land of Littles: Talk (Gnome Badge)

The Land of Littles: Play (Dragonfly Badge)

The Land of Littles: Write (Elf Badge)

And so on, for each of the five "lands." If possible, we included a note telling parents that a particular activity was available as a To Go kit for pick up at the library. Otherwise, we added links and attachments to make them doable from home, as much as possible.

They could also earn badges for every book they logged (up to 15 for babies; 20 for toddlers; 25 for preschool). I used the ones available through Beanstack for the logging badges. The activity badges I used images from CSLP or made myself. Here are the badges I put together, though we didn't end up using all of them:

For all ages, we had a goody bag for all those who registered. Here's what we gave both Early Literacy and Children participants:

summer reading registration bag

The reusable drawstring bags included a paint page with brush, stickers, tattoo, pencil, and Imagine Your Story activity sheet. Everything came from CSLP except the pencil and activity page, which I ordered from Creative Produce Source. The program completion badge earned them a Dairy Queen ice cream.

imagine your story children

For the Children's program, we broke it down into 9 units, one for each week of our program (though the online program is self paced, we just did that for organizational purposes). The units being: Dragon & Unicorn Magic; Fairy & Folk Tales; Gnomes, Fairies, and Other Little Folk; Knights & Castles; Myths & Legends; Pirate & Mermaid Lore; Tales Around the World; The Science of Superpowers; Witch and Wizard Workshop.

Each unit included links to appropriate ebooks that corresponded with the theme of the units. We also included free online resources for texts and stories where available.

Because our Children's Program has such a large age range (5-11), we tried to have a variety of things that could be for different ages. Our plan was to have 6 activities for each unit, with a requirement of completing 3 to earn the badge and receive the tickets. We ended up having from 8-13 activities for each unit. Here is what we came up with or used from the CSLP manual:

--Dragon Craft: Fantasy Dragon Eggs (we included a simple recipe for Homemade Clay

--Unicorn Song: Searching for a Unicorn (to the tune of Going on a Bear Hunt)

--Unicorn Slime

--Dragon's Den (make a fort, basically)

--Dragon Finger Puppets (with template from CSLP)

--Mythical Creature Jokes (list of puns then a space to write your own)

--Imagine a Dragon (with worksheet from CSLP)

--Will You Buy My Unicorn? (a version of “Will You Buy My Horse?”to play at home)

Fairy & Folktales

--Three Little Pigs STEAM Activity

--Family Folktale (ask a family member their favorite folktale; then write a version featuring you and that family member)

--Giant Feet (with template from CSLP)

--Paul Bunyan Mad Lib

--Big, Bad Wolf Puppet (available as a To Go kit)

--The Bremen Town Musicians Sudoku (with link to story)

--Crowns of Rapunzel’s Hair

--Fairy Tale Escape Room (compliments of Taneytown Library)

--Rewrite the Ending

--Fairy Tale Sensory Box

--Fairy Tale Storyteller (with Cootie Catcher template from CSLP)

--Tangrams (with puzzle template from CSLP)

--Grow a Beanstalk Like Jack (available as a To Go Kit)

Gnomes, Fairies, and Other Little Folk - Click here for our Gnomes & Fairies To Go Kits

--Elf Shoes (out of brown paper bags, from CSLP)

--Fairy & Gnome Gardens

--Leprechaun Coloring Page

Knights & Castles

--Castle Games (ring toss, checkers, this pdf)

--Box and Blanket Forts

--Family Tree Workbooks (with template from CSLP)

--Helmets and Shields (available as a To Go kit)

--Catapults (available as a To Go kit)

--Jester Hat and Jokes

--Walking the Labyrinth (link to this myth video, options to create labyrinths with sidewalk chalk, go through one virtually, make your own online, or with rocks. Templates available from CSLP.

--Greek Pottery (link to another myth video; also available as a To Go kit, but it's scratch art, not a paper plate craft)

--Quiz: Which Greek God Are You? (with challenge to read up on their answer)

--Flashlight Constellations (there are a lot of variations of this idea online, but I went with this one because it has the myths right with it, and it’s simple enough for younger kids!)

--Greek Olympics (with Olive Leaf Wreath craft)

--Pan-Flute (from CSLP)

Some ideas we didn't include but I had in my notes:

Pirate & Mermaid Lore

--Ocean in a Bottle

--Mermaid/Merman Tail (from CSLP)

--Design Your Own Jolly Roger Flag (available as a To Go kit)

--Learn to Speak Pirate (with Mango Languages)

Some more things from my notes:

--Chinese Shadow Puppetry (experiment at home, link to videos of shadow puppet stories)

--Japanese Monster (Oni) Masks (with link to a video of a Kamishibai story featuring an Oni villain)

--Aesop's Fables & Foxes (fox craft)

--Beauty and the Beast Paper Roses

--Indian Folktale: The Elephant's Nose (with link to folktale video and elephant nose craft)

--Trickster Tale Acrostic Poetry (with template from CSLP)

The Science of Superpowers - Click here to see the To Go Kits we did

--Sticky Spiderman Adhesion (from CSLP manual)

--The Thundering Hulk (also from CSLP)

--Create a Thunder Storm (like Storm from X-Men)

--Lava Lamp Challenge (like Magma)

--Defy Gravity like Magneto (available as a To Go kit)

--Iceman Capabilities (instant freeze science experiment)

--Batman's Boomerang (available as a To Go kit)

Witch and Wizard Workshop

--Magical Writing Prompt (If you could devise a magical spell, what would it be and what would it do? Write about why you chose this new spell and how you would use it.)

--Wizard Charades

We used tickets for prize drawings. Every book logged and unit completed by doing the required number of activities earned virtual tickets. They could enter their virtual tickets on any prize they wanted to. We stacked the drawings so that they would take place throughout the summer. We also had weekly prize drawings (of the same stuff) of everyone that registered, every Thursday.

imagine your story childrens prize list

The USA Trivia Board Games and Lego Star Wars figures were donations, which is why they don't fit the theme as well. We also added a Wilton Cookie Creations Fantasy Castle Cookie Kit which is not pictured here. We didn't include prizes for the Early Literacy programs since they already have a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program in place that earns them prizes, and we feel the Summer Reading Program is more geared toward older children, anyway. We had a different set of prizes for Teens.

imagine your story teen

For the Teen program, we had the following units: Comic Book Heroes, Dragons & Unicorns, Fairy Tales, Folktales & Fables, Harry Potter & Other Wizards, Myths, Pirates & Mermaids, Tales Around the World, and Urban Legends & Supernatural Folklore. We had 4-6 activity options for each unit, and required 1 to be completed in order to earn the badge.

Comic Book Heroes

--Thor's Side Gig (from CSLP manual, an activity to try your hand as a Foley artist)

--Graphic Medicine (also from CSLP, we linked to graphic medicine examples we had available as ebooks and included discussion questions)

--Marvel's Avengers Virtual Escape Room (compliments of Howard College Big Spring campus)

Dragons & Unicorns

--New Dragon Species Art Project (from CSLP)

--Dragon Egg Terrariums (from CSLP)

--Dungeons & Dragons

Fairy Tales

--Fairy & Gnome Gardens

--Mindfulness and Fairy Tales (with guided exercises to try yourself)

--Monstrous Makeup (from CSLP)

Folktales & Fables

--Tall Tale MadLib (from CSLP)

--Oral Histories

--Up-to-Date Aesop

--Personal Time Capsule

--Naked Humpty Dumpty (science experiment)

Harry Potter & Other Wizards

--Magic Craft: Witch or Wizard Origami

--Herbology In Harry Potter: Ginger, Peppermint, and Valerian (from CSLP)

--Harry Potter Trivia (Hogwarts First Year Entrance Exam, Gilderoy Lockhart Fan Club Quiz, The Marauder's Map Quiz, and Goblet of Fire Quiz, all compliments of Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library)

--Invisible Writing (science experiment)


--Walking the Labyrinth (same as Children's, above)

--Weavers of the World (with a video of the Greek myth of Arachne and various methods of weaving to try at home)

--Greek Pottery (same as Children's, above)

--Quiz: Which Greek God Are You? (same as Children's, above)

--Mythology Haiku (with a link to myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and how to write a haiku)

Pirates & Mermaids

--Learn to Speak Pirate (Mango Languages plug)

--Mermaid Ring Dish (available as a To Go kit)

--Design Your Own Jolly Roger Flag

--Forensics: Fingerprints (tie in about piracy and thieves...from CSLP manual)

--Sea Creature Art (from CSLP manual)

--Pan Pipe(from CSLP manual)

Tales Around the World

--Chinese Shadow Puppetry (same as Children's, above)

--Children of Blood and Bone (with link to ebook and quiz)

--Japanese Monster (Oni) Mask (same as Children's, above)

--Passport to Stories Around the World (read six tales, one from each of six continents, and fill out a passport as you read)

--Mini Zen Garden

--Picture Stories (exploring Egyptian hieroglyphics, from CSLP manual)

Urban Legends & Supernatural Folklore

--Superstitions and Good Luck Charms (links to read more about superstition origins, good luck charms around the world, and some relevant ebooks available for checkout, then make a good luck charm of your own)

--Urban Legends (links to examples of urban legends, then write your own)

--Supernatural Stop Motion (tie in to horror books adapted to film, then an intro to stop motion/brief history, examples, and apps to help you get started)

--Zombie Digital Escape Room (compliments of Taos Public Library)

--Psychic Ability Test (a game from CSLP manual)

teen badges

We incorporated some more badges for the Teen program, as well as reused some from the other programs.

teen summer reading bag

To be honest, the Teen Registration Bags were an afterthought, and a rushed job after the onset of COVID-19. So what we ended up with was a bunch of candy, a Batman comic, a pencil, and leftover paint pages. ..........I'm not terribly proud of them.

teen summer reading prizes

We didn't have as many prize options for the Teen program because we don't get nearly as many participants. But we used the same format as the Children's Program, where they earn virtual tickets for logging books and completing units, and can enter them for any prize they want. We're planning on doing a Thursday drawing as well, but it really depends on how many kids register.

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