GOAL Celebration 2023

What is GOAL?

Each fall, York County Libraries and PeoplesBank® team up to introduce first graders around York County to our Grade One At the Library (GOAL) initiative! GOAL introduces children to the abundance of books, special programs, and technology available through a library card. GOAL takes place each September and in November, we celebrate first graders and their brand new library cards! Each first grader is invited to join us for a fun-filled event that includes an author presentation, autographs, stations and more.

The GOAL celebration this year will be held on November 11, 2023 at Kreutz Creek Library from 2-4pm.  This event is open to all first graders, their families and their teachers. We hope to see every one of you there!

Why is GOAL special?

GOAL is just for children in the first grade. This is the school year most children really start learning how to read. A library card is an important tool to help these children discover the right book for their interests and reading level. York County Libraries makes library visits even more fun by offering a different prize for making 3 library visits before December.

Participant Prizes

With each of your first three visits to the library, you will receive a new prize to take home. From year to year, our prizes change, but our third and final prize will always include the featured book of the year. This featured book becomes the center of our Campaign Celebration at the end of the 3-month program.

  • Visit 1: GOAL pencil or gel bracelet 
  • Visit 2: GOAL sports/book bag
  • Visit 3: A FREE copy of Laura Gehl’s book Who Made This Mess? and a PeoplesBank® flying disc

We also have classroom prizes for teachers who encourage their students to participate!

Classroom Prizes

Teachers who achieve 100% student participation will be entered in three drawings:

  1. A ZooAmerica virtual classroom visit
  2. Book sets: 5 winners will receive a set of 20 new books to add to their classroom library
  3. An author visit with Laura Gehl

About the Author:

Laura Gehl is the author of more than forty popular books for young readers, including board books, lift-the-flap books, early readers, picture books, and nonfiction. Her books include One Big Pair of Underwear, the Peep and Egg series, I Got a Chicken for My BirthdayMy Pillow Keeps MovingExcept When They Don’tApple and Magnolia, DonutClimate Warriors, and the Baby Scientist series.

Laura’s books have received many awards and honors, including Kirkus best picture books of the year selection, Junior Library Guild selection, Indie Next List, CCBC choices selection, ALA Notable selection, Booklist Editors’ Choice, Amazon Editors’ Choice, Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended Title, ILA Honor Book, and the Mathical Award. Her books have also appeared on state and national reading lists and been translated into numerous languages. Who Made This Mess?, a laugh-out-loud, expectation-defying, rhyming (sort of) mystery, is Laura’s newest picture book.

When she isn’t writing, Laura enjoys reading, hiking, and eating ice cream. She lives in Maryland with her husband and four children, but you can also visit her online at lauragehl.com. You can also check out several of her titles through the library!

Q&A with Laura

  • What inspired you to become a writer?

I became a children’s book author because reading was such a huge part of my childhood. I wanted to create books that would bring as much joy to kids growing up right now. as books like A Birthday for Frances and George and Martha brought to me when I was a kid.

  • What helps you create and process your book ideas?

Ideas! I get them everywhere, especially from nature and from my own kids, and I keep all those ideas in a giant list. When I’m ready to start working on a new book, I look at my list and pick the idea that most excites me on that day.

  • Why are you excited about being the featured GOAL author? 

I know a lot of first graders already love to read, like I did when I was in 1st grade. But I also know a lot of first graders find reading either stressful (if they are struggling to learn to read) or boring (not as fun as video games or TV). I love talking to ALL kids at this age, whether they love reading, hate it, worry about it, or are indifferent. No matter where kids are starting from, I’m confident I can get them more excited about reading!

  • What is something special about the book Who Made This Mess? and why is it a great match for kids learning to read?

Who Made This Mess? is a funny book, with illustrations that will make kids laugh. Each page has a rhyming clue to a mystery on the farm…except the obvious rhyming answers is never what the reader will expect. Funny books are perfect for kids learning to read, because kids who enjoy what they are reading will be motivated to keep reading. And the mystery element adds extra fun!

Advice from the Author

  • What advice do you have for children who are struggling to learn to read or haven’t found the love of reading yet?

First, kids learn how to read at different paces. I have four kids, and the first three learned to read by the time they were in first grade.

For the fourth, it took much longer. She struggled and got frustrated, and no matter how much we tried, reading just didn’t “click” for her. Until… it finally did! Even though it took a lot longer for my daughter to learn how to read than it did for her older brothers, she is now the one who reads the most out of all my kids. She even joined the Book Wars team at her school. That’s where kids read lots of books and then compete against other schools to answer questions about those books. So if it takes you extra time to learn to read, even a few years longer, don’t worry! It will happen!

The other thing I would say is to remember that all reading is good reading. If you like reading comic books, that’s great. If you like reading the backs of cereal boxes, that’s great too. All reading counts, and all reading helps you become a better reader. So read whatever you like to read!