Have you seen the Vacation Bible School listing? It’s HUGE – and growing daily! Thank you so much for sending your church’s information in; we are going to have the holiest kids in the country. I’ve added a few races to Active Kids, too, and somehow managed to leave off the entire city of Grandville from the Parks & Rec post. Oops. Sorry, G’ville. You’re on there now.
This next part in Big Binder’s “Summer In The City” series is probably my favorite.
Probably schmobably. It straight up is my favorite. I am wholly consumed with summer reading programs. There are good reasons, too. There are a bunch of studies that say kids lose ground over the summer, and have to make up for lost time when the start school. But really, we are good about reading to or with our kids, and I know you are too. I mean, usually. Unless it’s kind of a bad day. Or sometimes a bad couple of days. But mostly; your kids would read or be read to without these programs. So why do we do it? Swag, baby.
Most of these programs don’t start for a few weeks, but you need time to develop your strategy. First, make sure you get the reading logs or forms early so as to obtain maximum program completion prizes. For example, if reading 15 books = a coupon somewhere, start early so you can get lots of coupons. I mean, your child. So your child can get lots of coupons. Kids love coupons.
Second, have a centralized location for the logs and forms. Big shocker, I have a folder next to the refrigerator for each kid.
Third, put all the completion dates on your calendar. You don’t want to miss turning in the forms after you have worked so hard filling them out. Reading is its own reward, yeah yeah, but still. Get the goodies.
Fourth, count any stories read to your children (if they are pre-readers) on the logs. Story time TOTALLY counts. It doesn’t have to be books that you personally read to them.
Fifth, and this is the biggest time saver; each night write down the books on all the logs. You will never, ever remember and you will feel guilty if you just make it up later. Since you have followed step two and put the forms in one place, just knock it all out at once.
Ok, ready? Not all of them are Grand Rapids exclusives. I’m nice like that. If you are one of “The Others”, check your local library. In order of start date, the summer reading programs are:
- May 3 to September 30: TD Bank Summer Reading Program. Yes, I know this isn’t a local bank. But I have a friend who goes to Lake George during the summer, and so I’m tossing it in for her. It pays to be friends with me. $10, as a matter of fact.
- May 4 to August 26: Borders Double Dog Dare Reading Program – kids under 12 read 10 books, bring this form in (Waldenbooks is part of Borders too), and get a book for free.
- May 24 to August 30: VERY cool on-line summer reading program from No Time For Flash Cards; with weekly chances to win.
- May 24 to “the end of August”: New York Times Student Challenge, something something, made my head hurt just reading the directions.
- May 25 to September 7: Barnes And Noble Summer Reading - kids from 1st to 6th grade read 8 books, bring this form in, and get a free book.
- June 1 to July 31: Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Challenge. Kids get a $3 gift card each week when they read 15 minutes a day. There isn’t even one of these stores in Michigan. But, maybe if you travel out of town you could cash in.
- June 5 to August 21: Schuler Books Summer Reading Club. The clear directions and specific instructions of the program, along with cookies at Saturday storytime make this my personal favorite. Kids can earn up to 3 $5 gift certificates for reading an age-appropriate number of books.
- June 14 to August 7: Kent District Library Summer Reading Program. Keep checking back; more to come.
- June 14 to August 7: Grand Rapids Public Library Summer Reading Program. It sounds like the kids decide how much they want to read? That can’t be right. What I can tell you is that the swag-bag contains a t-shirt, Whitecaps, andGriffins tickets. SCORE!
- June 14 to ? Pooh’s Corner bookstore. Keep checking back.
I’ll update this post as the details become available, or as new places add the information. For now, get ready to rock the Summer Reading Programs. You know I love them. For more Things I Love Thursday, go to The Diaper Diaries.