The Lucha Libros Class of 2017–and a new Champion!

Last night thirty-six 2nd and 3rd graders and their families came to the Donald R. Wright Auditorium to answer questions about the book Fantastic Mr. Fox / El Superzorro by Roald Dahl, and get their final scores for the year. These kids have been coming every month since September to answer questions about the details of a book and get a new book to start reading. All of these kids have read 8 books this year that weren’t assigned to them in school or for homework. Many of them read the books in Spanish. Each month, they got prizes for answering questions correctly, and then last night we announced who were the top scorers cumulatively for the entire year. We gave everyone a certificate, and Greene led everyone in an auction for some special prizes for which kids saved up their tickets all year: a skateboard, a scooter, helmets, sports equipment and board games.

Our top scorer this year was a 2nd grader! She competed with kids who were a year older than her and still took home the Lucha Libros Championship Belt! There were several ties for other top places–the scores were all pretty close. All of the kids did an excellent job and I could tell they studied really hard this year.

Our top scores (1st – 5th place) were:

Zoe – Lucha Libros Champion, 1st place
James – 2nd place
Hazel – 3rd place
Mazzy – 3rd place
Olivia – 4th place
Syaan – 4th place
Mattias – 5th place

Parents filled out surveys which gave me a lot of helpful information as I go into planning for next year. They keep telling us they wish we would expand this program to 4th and 5th graders, so that their kids could continue doing it. (I wish we could too! I need about seven more days in the month though…)

Most of them also reported in surveys that they read the books to or with their children–this was exciting for me! At PPL we feel that it’s important for children’s literacy and vocabulary development for books to continue to be shared by and with parents even after kids learn how to read independently.

Parents unanimously said that they would recommend this program to a friend, and that it has helped their kids to love reading. They said that their kids improved noticeably in their reading comprehension, ability to remember details from a text, and motivation to read books this year. Many parents wrote that their kids didn’t use to love reading before doing this program.

So how can you get into this program next year? We will have an information night on Wednesday, September 6th, and the battles next year will always be the 1st Wednesday of the month. This past year, we completely filled up all available spots the first week of September, so try to be available on September 6th to attend the information night and sign up your 2nd or 3rd grader. Call AnnMarie if you have questions: 626-744-4725.

AnnMarie Kolakowski

I'm a youth services librarian currently working at the Lamanda Park Branch Library while Central Library is closed for seismic repairs. I purchase juvenile fiction for grades 2-8, and some foreign languages. I do a lot of programs with school-age kids, including 3 regular book clubs (Windows and Mirrors, Read Around the World, and Lucha Libros), as well as writing workshops and STEAM/science programs. I also Infant/Toddler Storytimes and Preschool Storytimes, and outreach to local area preschools. 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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