This year I was totally blown away by the National Library Board reading programmes for children, so I thought I’d share the ones that really got my kids reading non-stop. Some of you might already know about these, but I love these programmes so much I just had to write about it!
Reading Programme I: Book Bugs
I was hanging out at the library borrowing books for the kids one afternoon and was actually on my way out when something caught my eye. I saw something about book bugs and that certainly stopped me in my tracks.
That was at the start of August. Well, after I enquired with the librarian, I was told that the programme had started in June (and so I’ve sadly missed out on a couple of limited edition shiny cards from June and July), and will end at the end of the year. I was told to go online to find out more about the programme, which I did.
This reading programme kinda changed the reading patterns in my home. Most of the time, the kids used to take at least three weeks to finish the eight books I borrowed for them, and up to six weeks when the quota is increased by the library during holiday periods. With the desire to get their hands on these book bug cards, they have been religiously reading their books so that they can borrow another eight the next week.
Here’s why. You need to get a receipt to show you have borrowed eight books in order to exchange for a pack of book bug cards. Each pack contains two cards and could be shiny, or not, depending on your luck. It is of course random and you can’t choose which bugs you want.
There are also limited edition cards that I’ve mentioned. These limited edition shiny cards can only be redeemed by completing a DiscoveReads activity (e.g. designing book bug cards in August; click here for the September activity) or attending a library programme (such as storytelling sessions). There is a fixed schedule for the distribution of these special cards so check out the booth at the library during weekends to see which cards are available for redemption and how to get them. The book bug booth at the participating libraries is open during the opening hours of the library only during weekends, giving the children a week to complete the eight books. If you can finish the books earlier and borrow more during the week, you can do so as well as there is no limit on the number of receipts you collect during the week.
There are a total of 60 normal book bug cards and 24 shiny ones according to the library’s website (see the full list here). There is also a mystery item for redemption if you manage to collect the correct cards in order to answer the quiz questions. This mystery item is only available in August and November. Due to some unforeseen circumstances however, we will only be able to collect our mystery prize in mid-September so we are still waiting to find out what the mystery item is.
The kids have been so keen on these book bug cards that their actions have convinced me to get a game card book for them to store their prized cards. We haven’t really figured out how to play the game with these cards. And anyway, we haven’t accumulated enough cards to qualify for a game. The next playoff is on 12 November. By then, we should have collected sufficient cards for a game, but we’ll see if my girl will be interested in it.
There’s just so much pure delight in opening up a pack of cards to see which ones they got for the week – whether they already have those bugs, or it’s a repeated card, the kids love them anyway – and they don’t even know how to play the game yet! This initiative in my opinion has won hands down as the best library reading programme ever thus far! Kudos to the ones who came up with it and designed these adorable book bugs!
Reading Programme II: Reading Journals
If you haven’t already discovered these reading journals available for FREE at the library, you must definitely go get yourself a copy. There are reading journals for Primary 1-6. There are suggested reads in the form of a list on paper for secondary school students.
Earlier in the year, I obtained a list of suggested reads on a sheet of paper. That was also categorised for the different levels in primary school. After I misplaced that sheet of paper, I headed back to the library in July to get a new copy, only to be directed to these reading journals. Inside, there are various sections with 2-4 suggested books in each section. Those in the same section have something similar in general, and there is a follow-up activity after that on the next page. Call numbers and synopses are already provided so all you need to do is go to the shelf and pick up the book.
These are such gems! Besides the fact that we don’t need to crack our heads as to which books to borrow, these reading journals come with interesting follow-up activities. These are the book reviews that we used to do when we were children, but with twists and variety. No need to search for book reviews online when everything is provided already in the journal.
There are book reviews that encourage them to draw events, characters, character outfits etc. –
A twist to the usual drawing, here’s one that requires the children to sieve through for information about the character to find out the age. Children are also acquainted with authors’ names and call numbers.
This activity requires them to be clear about how the characters are interlinked in the story:
There are plenty of activities in the journals and I can’t possibly show them all here. Besides the book-related activities, there is also a last activity at the end of each journal. This one below encourages the children to go to a regional library to check out the TumbleBook kiosk. Another asks the children to find out more about a country they would like to visit and write down two interesting facts about the country they discovered in research. I think the ones that required her to staple in the book loan receipts for the month and the library activity she attended were the easiest to complete! 😀
Stocks might be running low for these reading journals, but you should really try your luck if you haven’t already got these. We actually got two out of the four journals from her form teacher in July and I initially thought those were from the school, only to realise after visiting the library that this is a National Library Board reading programme.
If you can’t get your hands on these, you can also check out this link from the NLB where you can find suggested reads for different age groups as well as for different languages. The list is way shorter than the reading journals I’ve shared with you here, but well, it’s a start.
We’re more than halfway through the suggested books and she can’t wait to complete the reading list! 😀
Disclosure: I am sharing the National Library Board reading programmes because I think these are fabulous initiatives. I was in no way compensated to write this post.