A much-overdue Lucha Libros post :)

On Tuesday, May 3, our 2nd and 3rd grade luchadores gathered together for one last battle, answering questions about Neil Gaiman’s hilarious book Fortunately, the Milk / El galáctico, pirático y alienígena viaje de mi padre. After answering the questions, each kid got tickets for our prize table. The children who were in our Top 5 for the whole year got extra tickets according to their rank. Every child also got a custom-made patch that they can sew on a backpack or something to remember their time spent in Lucha Libros this year.
To the 3rd grade girl who had the highest total points for the year we awarded our very special Lucha Libros belt! We’ve now had both a boy and a girl Lucha Libros Champion!

And then, we had an auction. We auctioned off way-cool prizes like a skateboard, a razor scooter, a couple basketballs and a backpack. Kids who had been coming to the program and reading their books all year long had stored up a lot of tickets, so we gave them an opportunity to “bid” for these special items with their remaining tickets. Everybody did get to take home a cute prize because we put all the prize table stuff “on sale”.

Parents filled out a survey telling us what they felt were the most important competencies that this program supported. 22 parents took the survey. Fifteen or more parents said their children improved at “remembering details from a text” and “feeling confident about reading”. More than half of parents also noted improvements in “reading comprehension,” “answering questions confidently” and “feeling motivated to read.”

I got some great responses back from parents about what we could do to make the program better next year. Many people asked if we could extend it to 4th and 5th grades. (I wish I could, and truthfully I’m still pondering how to do that given our space and materials restrictions, without adding a whole new program which I unfortunately don’t have time for.) And one person suggested adding a margarita bar! (I wish I could do that, too!) 🙂

Some of the things I definitely can change for next year are modifying the way the bonus round works (so that it doesn’t unfairly punish kids who got all the questions except that one right) and modifying how kids get released to buy prizes. All the feedback was wonderful and so helpful.

I am very proud of my team, Greene, John and Patrisia, for all their help this year. We could not have pulled this off without the commitment and work of the whole team. I am so INCREDIBLY proud of all of the kids and grateful to their parents for all their support and dedication. I loved all the surveys I got back but one comment really stuck out as capturing exactly what we’ve been going for: “Perfect balance between being a competition and making all kids feel successful.” YES! That’s what it’s about, so that all the kids come away feeling more confident and happy about reading!

Next year’s dates will be advertised soon, so if you have an incoming 2nd or 3rd grade student who might enjoy this reading comprehension/motivation program, feel free to contact anhurtado [at] cityofpasadena [dot] net or call 626-744-4725.

AnnMarie Kolakowski

I'm a youth services librarian working in the Children's Room at the Pasadena Central Library. I purchase juvenile nonfiction books for all sites, juvenile Spanish books for all sites, and juvenile DVDs for the Central Library. I do a lot of programs with school-age kids, including Lucha Libros, writing workshops, and STEAM/science programs. I also do 16 weeks of Infant/Toddler Storytimes each year. I love what I do, working with kids of all ages to inspire them to learn and use their curiosity and imaginations. Outside of my work at the library, I am also the author of a book on creative writing activities for kids.

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