About the time I learned how to write my name (a requirement in those days to get a library card) my folks moved to a new house. It was down the street from the local public library. I spent most of my summers plopped down in front of the fiction section, working my way through the stacks.
I'm still a big fan of public libraries...particularly their summer reading programs. Nearly every library has one: kids are challenged to read a certain number of hours. Those who do are rewarded with prizes.
In DC, if you read at least 8 hours, you get a burrito and free tickets to a Washington Nationals baseball game. Read 28 hours and you could win lunch with a famous author. In Chicago, the mayor put his brand on the challenge: "Rahm's Readers" are required to read AND visit a museum AND create art or a story. Prizes include a free book and a chance at a backpack of books and STEM activities. InSan Diego, if you read at least ten hours, you can earn free passes to the zoo, free pizza or burgers.
Kids may sign up for the bribes, but who cares? Studies show that students who participate in public library summer reading programs score higher on achievement tests when they return to the classroom.
So take your readers to the library and sign them up!
PS: many libraries have summer reading programs for parents, too!
Does your local library have fun rewards for their summer reading program? Let us know! Send us an email.