Last week’s Reading Rainbow Kickstarter launch made quite the splash. It ushered my beloved childhood TV show back into the zeitgeist, and apparently, into my creative brain. Between that and the imminent start of summer reading, I have got books on the brain! As a librarian, summer reading is when we shake our professional money makers (kinda literally). We work our butts off creating an as-close-to-magic-as-we-can-get summer of encouraging informal learning, parents’ involvement in that learning, and making learning fun.
Some teacher friends of mine forget that summertime = showtime for us informal educators. Essentially, what I do during the summer at work is try to keep kids from losing what they worked all year to master in school so they don’t start the fall behind. (For more of my thoughts on summer learning, and what’s different about it today then when I was a kid, scroll to the bottom of this post.)
Summer Reading for Grown-ups!
This week I decided to embrace my currently-bookish creative mind and share a simple idea for grown-ups to get in on – and DIY – summer reading. To celebrate the start of summer reading around the country,* I decided some library crafting is in order!
*Globe? I don’t actually know if summer reading is a thing outside the US. Please advise, international readers.
While your local library might have summer reading programs for adults, I’ve worked at only a few libraries fortunate enough to afford programs for adult summer reading. This log is for us grown-ups who are sans-summer-reading who are looking to get a little nostalgic and make a dent in our reading lists. As a bonus, making your own log gets you stretching your creative muscles too!
paper in a variety of colors
Cut your cardboard and paper into rectangles that are all the same size. My cardboard was 5×7 inches, so I just cut all my paper into 5×7 rectangles. Fold your cardboard and papers in half widthwise.
Mark the inside of your cardboard with little notches that are 1/8 of an inch apart.
Use your push pin to poke holes right in the crease of your cardboard along the notches you drew.
Here’s what the cardboard looks like on the outside as you go.
Next, use your cardboard as a template for punching evenly placed holes in the spines of all of your folded pieces of paper. I recommend poking the holes as shown from the inside of the cardboard. The cardboard can more easily take a beating than your papers.
When all your papers are punched, stack them up in ROYGBIV order, aligning their tiny holes. You can set the cardboard template aside.
Sew the spine of the book together with a basic running stitch, knotting the end on the inside of the book.
Trim your thread and you’re all set! Tune in later this week for my summer reading recommendations and ideas for DIYing your summer reading, learning and crafting.
A final note on summer learning…
Summer reading isn’t just summer reading anymore for many public libraries. It’s a well-rounded, often-hands-on learning program incorporating reading, creating, and STE(A)M skill building. These days, summer learning programs in Chicago require reading 20 minutes a day, completing creative activities (doing a craft, producing a music video, etc.), and discovering something new (like learning an animal fact at the zoo). What would motivate kids and teens do so much work? Completing the requirements means they win a prize at the end and are eligible for a large prize raffle.
BTW, Chicago has great programs to help families get access to museums and zoos for free with a library card. In case you were wondering. ;) Libraries have come a long way, even from my 90s childhood, when library marketing was all about the books.
(Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love Arthur. And this video and song are everything. Ev. ry. thing.)
This post was not sponsored. The supply list, as with many of my tutorials, contains affiliate links. All of my opinions about summer learning are my own, and not reflective of my past or present employers.