The Derry Public Library recently held its first graduation ceremony for children who completed the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program by the end of August 2016. Considering the program launched in October, finishing in this short amount of time is quite the feat! Eight children finished within less than a year and the Children’s Department wanted to celebrate this special achievement with the children and their families. We plan to have a yearly celebration for all of the children who finish prior to the end of August, so that the graduation ceremony coincides with the start of the school year. That way, children who are beginning Kindergarten can receive their certificate prior to (or at least quite near) their first day!
With such a small group this year, we decided to have a short ceremony where each child was presented with an achievement certificate, a small literacy-related gift, a coupon for a free ice cream cone, and a sense of pride in their reading future. We designed a set of alphabet cards that we printed on cardstock and laminated. Each child was given a set of these, some Play-Doh, and a card with instructions on how to use the cards with Play-Doh to encourage playing with letters. Children can roll the Play-Doh into logs and then trace the letters to create words, giving a nice tactile experience with the alphabet! We also laminated each child’s die cut crayon that was used to mark their progress on our Milestone Wall. After removing their crayons, we made a “Class of 2016” sign with all of their names on to hang under the 1000 Milestone Marker. The families were very thankful for our efforts!