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Program: The Lunch Bunch

Target Audience: Middle School students (grades 6-8)

Purpose: To foster a life-long love of reading by reading aloud together
Program Description: Co-leaders , a teacher and a librarian (or community volunteer), will
select the group of up to 10 children to participate. These will not be the children who struggle
to decode/read and already receive intervention services; rather, they will be the kids who tend
to slip between the cracks. These are children who do well enough in reading, but dont seem
to have developed that innate love of reading books.
The teacher and librarian will select 5 popular titles for middle school aged children and book
talk each of them. (The participants can also book talk their favorite book.) The participants will
then select the book by paper voting. They will begin reading the chosen book at the next
meetiing. The book will be read aloud by the co-leaders, and discussion will be encouraged. Any
participant will be encouraged to read aloud, as well. (There will be rules of behavior defined at
the outset of the program so that no reader feels uncomfortable if he/she makes a mistake.)
Why is this program needed? First and foremost, our rural community has limited offerings
for teensin school or after, for enrichment or enjoymentand even more limited funds to
implement programs. (I have chosen a lunchtime meeting to avoid transportation needs.)
Experts say that reading aloud to children is the single most important activity that determines
their future success and interest in reading. Jim Trelease has become an expert in the field when
it comes to reading aloud, and he used his experience to write The Read Aloud Handbook. The
main idea behind his research is this: a childs reading level does not catch up to his listening
level until about eighth grade. Until then, children can understand books that are as much as
two years beyond their reading level if those books are read aloud. Reading books that are
above a childs decoding level broadens the menu. Readers get to be exposed to richer stories
and more complex characters. Reading above level books aloud can show readers that the
good stuff is coming down the road if they keep reading.
Life in middle school is truly crazy. Trelease also found that reading together is a restful place
that a participant may count on. Its a place to share words, and in time, ideas and thoughts.
Its an excellent place where middle schoolers may tackle difficult subjects because those things
are happening to a character in the story, not to themselves. So, there can be social and
emotional benefits to reading aloud with middle schoolers, as well.
Potential Community Partners: Caroline County Public Schools, of course. In particular, the
media specialist or another language arts teacher. Our local Rotary Club has an interest in
literacy and may offer volunteers to co-lead a group in the future at another school in the county.
Also, we have partnered with the YMCA of the Chesapeake for various programs, and there may
be potential volunteers through their organization, as well. Caroline County Recreation & Parks is
also a perennial partner for childrens/teen programming.
Steps to implement the program: Confirm funding for materials (library budget/donation);
secure a teacher volunteer to co-lead the program; obtain approval from the Caroline County
Public Schools; select prospective participants and contact parents to obtain permission for
participation; work with the co-leader to select books, confirm location formeetings, create rules
of the game (the behavior guidelines), and order materials.

How The Lunch Bunch fits our library mission: The CCPL Mission is to bring people, information
and ideas together to enrich lives, increase knowledge, and build community. The Lunch Bunch
will bring teens together to read aloud, discuss and share ideas, and this by nature increases
knowledge as well as nurtures a sense of belonging and community.