Sunday, May 19, 2013

SWAB Book and Activity Bundles & the Blog Tour Wrap-Up: Start with a Book Blog Tour


Welcome to the final entry in the Start with a Book Blog Tour! Don't forget to check out the rest of the posts from some fabulous youth services bloggers; links are in my opening post. And now, without further ado, I'll share how I'm using Start with a Book and its resources now.

I blogged last year about my Take-Home Story Time Kits, neat little bundles of stories and music for caregivers to engage in story time at home. Caregivers (and other librarians!) love them, and guess what? Start with a Book, with their 24 Summer Learning Themes (many of which contain great STEAM tie-ins), offers some great resources for a new twist on those bundles.

Right now in my library, I've got two types of bundles: Take-Home Story Time Kits for pre-readers, and Read and Do Bundles for readers (elementary-aged children). Almost everything about these bundles (save my tags, the music CDs, and the ribbon to tie them) comes from the resources on the Start with a Book 24 Summer Learning Themes. Here's what the bundles include:

Take-Home Story Time Kits - for pre-readers
  • 2-3 books from the 3-6 year-old age level section of a SWAB theme
  • a children's music CD from my library's list of favorites (e.g., Laurie Berkner, They Might Be Giants)
  • a Growing Readers activity sheet that pairs with the theme -- SWAB theme pages include these links in section 2 - Growing Readers: Parent Tips
  • a Start with a Book flyer -- so caregivers who enjoy the bundles have a pathway to finding more theme-extending activities, websites, and apps
  • an eye-catching tag that does three things: 1) connects to summer reading ("Dig into..."); 2) advertises the kit's theme; and 3) gives a brief explanation of the kit and how to use it

Read and Do Bundles - for readers
  • 1 book from the 9-12 year-old age level section of a SWAB theme
  • printed instructions for a theme-related activity -- SWAB theme pages include these links in section 2 - Hands-on Activities and Crafts
  • a Start with a Book flyer -- so readers and their caregivers have access to more activities, including the SWAB theme recommendations of Great Websites for Kids and Mobile Apps
  • an eye-catching tag that does three things: 1) connects to summer reading ("Dig into..."); 2) advertises the bundle's theme; and 3) invites the reader to read and do an activity on the topic

One of the things I love love love about the Start with a Book themes--and the bundles I can create with them--are the great STEAM options. There's STEAM at a basic level: the book lists include lots of great non-fiction titles. There's also the fact that so many of the themes, even the less obviously STEAM ones, have science tie-ins. Think dinosaurs and activities involving paleontology; explorers and related navigation and astronomy sciences; nature and books, activities, sites, and apps that explore life sciences. I love any opportunity to get families involved in STEAM concepts at home, and the resources in each of the 24 Summer Learning Themes certainly encourage that. As a result, my bundles encourage STEAM learning, too.

These bundles initially took a bit of time to assemble; I needed to find the books from the SWAB theme lists, then choose and print the appropriate activity sheets and print tags. Once I had done the groundwork for the bundles, however, I made extra copies of the resources so that replenishing bundles as they check out is easy peasy (see my 2012 post for the check-out logistics of bundles).

There you have it--that's how I thought to use the resources on the Start with a Book website immediately after checking it out. Thanks to this blog tour and its bloggers, however, I now see so many other avenues for using the site. I hope you do, too, and I hope you'll consider Start with a Book as a resource to support you in your summer library services. Please share in the comments any ideas for how you are using/will use the content on Start with a Book in your library!

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway for one of the tremendous book bundles that the folks at Start with a Book have assembled--each on one of the 24 Summer Learning Themes. The giveaway entry form will only work until noon Eastern time on Tuesday, May 21, so get your entry submitted before then! Winners will be contacted via e-mail to arrange delivery.

In wrapping things up, I want to say thanks: thanks so much to Tina and Rachael at Start with a Book for first introducing me to this rich literacy resource, and thanks to my fellow bloggers for sharing their ideas on their blogs. And, of course, thanks to you readers for your commitment to always developing professionally.

I'm wishing you all summer sunshine and happy reading!


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