Friday, a ‘summer reading list’ came home from school with A.P. It reminded me to put together this post about the many summer reading programs around town for kids.
Maybelle and I swung by Schuler Books this Saturday to make sure they are repeating their program and were happy to find out they are. Sign up begins June 6 and the program runs through August 31. For kids in grades K-8, it’s called “The Curious Case of the Vanishing Volumes”. Kids track the books they read on a form, then turn in the completed forms for a $5 Schuler gift certificate. They can do this up to three times.
Schuler also has a program called “Read to Me” for ‘pre-readers’. Track the books you read to your little one on a form, and they can trade the completed form for a free book (it’s from a box of books behind the counter, not any book). Last summer, we generally tried to match this up with a Saturday Story time (11:00am) because the readers there are fantastic.
I think Baker Books is having its summer reading program again, but I forgot to pick up the t-shirts my kids won there last year and now I feel like a dork signing up again.
Grand Rapids Public Library’s program this year is “Get Creative @ Your Library!” and it looks like a lot of noisy and possibly messy programs will be offered, which is right up our alley. Sign up at your local branch, and once your kids have completed their forms they will get a lunch bag and Whitecaps tickets.
Kent District Library has a similar program that runs June 8 through August 15. For younger kids, it’s “Get Creative @ Your Library”, and for older kids the title is “Express Yourself @ Your Library”. No details on the goods yet, but most of the branches have kick off parties (check the event calendar for more details) that your kids will enjoy.
It looks like Pizza Hut is not continuing its summer “Book It” program. Our local Pizza Hut used to have this all you can eat salad bar/pizza bar, and they changed it to a confusing format where the waitress brings some of the food from the kitchen, and you get some of your own food from the salad/pizza bar, and everyone is running around during the whole meal and it’s a mess. I’m not overly disappointed about this loss, but I do wish Happy’s Pizza would offer a program. They are new to our ‘hood and I love it very much.
For kids a little older than mine (grades 1-6) is the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program. I don’t have any first hand experience with this one, but I will next summer (gulp!).
There are two online programs, which are mildly lame, but when you’re filling out 5 forms every time you read a book, what is it to do two more? First is the Scholastic Summer Challenge. Then there is the RIF Read With Kids Challenge, which started in April and ends June 30. No promise of goods from either of these, but you might win something for entering.
My strategy is to sign up as early as possible for all of these programs. The more my kids read, the more swag they will end up with by the end of the summer. I keep the forms all together, and fill them in every day, otherwise I get behind and it’s a mess.
I will update this post as I learn of more programs or get more information. So Maranda intern, please check back before you rip off this post because it might change. And the rest of you: get ready; summer reading programs take organization and work. They are not for sissies. It’s all about the children. And for the gratification you get as a parent when you max out the programs. But mostly just the children.