Friday, May 22, 2009

Summer Reading Programs

It’s that time of year again, when school is winding down and the summer stretches endlessly in front of us. For those of us with children, it’s also time to start thinking about encouraging summer reading. In that spirit, I thought I’d pass along some links for several summer reading programs. Whether they have great prizes or are just great fun, the one thing they all have in common is the ability to spark our children’s interest and imagination.

Your Local Library!

Of course, the best summer reading programs are often found at your local library. Ours not only offers the typical read so many books and get a prize incentive, but also has a specifically designed teen reading program complete with designated reading selections, book discussion groups, movies, crafts, and more. And the prizes are usually pretty cool too! Last year, my oldest received a nice t-shirt and a host of coupons from local businesses good for everything from a free ice cream cone to a free game of bowling. Be sure to check to see if your library has scheduled a kick-off event to start the program. Our event includes live music, dancing, collaborative chalk mural, and free snow-cones and popcorn. The kids and I are all looking forward to the fun!

Half Price Books
Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program

This is a great one! From June 1 – July 31, kids 12 and under can earn a $3 shopping card for each week they read at least 15 minutes per day. If your kids are anything like mine, they can make $3 go a long way at Half Price Books.

Barnes and Noble
2009 Summer Reading Program

Between May 26th and September 7, kids in grades 1-6 can earn a free book by reading 8 books over the summer. Download the Reading Journal here. Once your child has read the 8 books, take the completed journal to any Barnes and Noble store to select your free book.

Reading Challenge!

Children 12 and under can read 8 books to earn a coupon for 50% off selected items. For more details and to download the form, go here.

Reading Warriors
2009 Challenge

Kids aged 8 or older can take a summer reading journey inspired by the Warrior series by Erin Hunter. To participate, kids read at least 10 books over the course of the summer. Although there isn’t a guaranteed free book waiting at the end of the journey (there is a sweepstakes entry available after completing the reading challenge), what I love about this program is the fun. The website is great and should serve to get kids into the program. And in the words of the site itself, “Reading Warriors find their own rewards in the fun they have reading and the enjoyment of sharing books with others.” Who can argue with that?

Summer Challenge

Kids can score points by logging the minutes read each day and can earn bonus points by taking games, quizzes, and polls. Kids can also win prizes and sweepstakes along the way. What makes this program truly special though is that the winning team gets to vote on which charity receives a special donation from Scholastic at the end of the summer!

Kansas Talking Books
Be Creative @ Your Library

There is an awesome program through the State Library of Kansas’ Talking Books division for Kansas children who have trouble participating in a traditional summer reading program because of visual or physical impairments. Prizes include gift certificates for first and second place based on the number of books read between June 1 and July 31. For more info, go here.

Do you know of a summer reading program I left out? If so, be sure to comment and share the details.

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