Yesterday was the big day: Alps rolled out the summer reading program and the students came and shopped for books.

It started with organizing the books. Parent volunteers took care of that. There were tables covered in chapter books for the older kids….

…. and a separate section for younger kids.

Volunteers were stuffing bags with information about the summer reading program.

Here’s most of what was in each bag:
A list of recommended books, a sheet to tally the number of books read (with prizes listed for each level), a free book offer from Borders, pencils, erasers, a reading journal (where students could record a brief summary about each book), and a brand new book from the Alps Recommended Reading list.

We didn’t have time to decorate the bags; next year we’ll order them much earlier and have the kids do the decorating themselves.

When each class arrived, Mary would give them a bag and tell them about the summer reading program.

Then each student was allowed to choose 2 books to take home (in addition to the new book provided by the school). That’s when the chaos began. The kids were so excited about the books, they swarmed the tables like we were giving away gold. Or candy. It was fun to watch.

Kids shopped for books and compared their finds. It was fun to hear them recommending books to each other. The kindergarteners left a path of destruction behind, but it was fun to watch.

By the end of the day, it was clear what the students liked and didn’t like.

The Goosebumps (85) and Junie B. Jones(94) inventory was completely wiped out and the kids were asking for more. Sports books and joke books were frequent requests, and we only had a few of each. Magic Treehouse was popular but there were a few left over. The 22 Captain Underpants books were gone after the first class visited, and every class except Kindergarten asked for them. I felt terrible not having enough. Harry Potter also went fast, but I only had 11 of those. And I only had 1 copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which might have been the most frequently requested book.

On the other hand, only 1 Nancy Drew book was taken, a big fat zero on Little House on the Prairie books, and there were a lot of “non-series” books left over. Also left over were books with dull or drab covers. I thought The Spiderwick Chronicles and Time Warp Trio collections would be cleaned out, but the covers are mostly dark, or black and white and the kids completely ignored the books.

Tomorrow I’ll give you an update on plans for the extra books. We found some good ways to use them and still save some for next year.