How to Start a Summer Reading Program

 

kids' reading nook
ooh_food / Kids Photos / CC BY-NC

Libraries have closed or had budgets slashed. Many people live in rural areas with few resources. Homeschooling groups want more family-friendly reading programs. Some kids want more challenging reading lists, while others don’t want to read at all.  You can be the person who helps others find the fun in a unique summer reading program!

Here are the steps you can take to kick off a local summer reading program at your church, a business, or even your home.

  • Check for interest. Chances are that you will find interested children and parents if you simply invite them. But, if you aren’t sure, ask local librarians, teachers, children, and parents before you start planning. Send out surveys if you wish. Find out exactly what they need and want.
  • Set dates and choose a theme or certain books for discussion. Decide if you want to encourage them to read a lot by rewarding them, or if this is more a book discussion group. Or, do both! Set up different activities and book lists for each age. Decide when it will start and when it will end (six to eight weeks is long enough for most summer readers.) Plan now, before you advertise.
  • Choose a meeting place. You could meet at the library, a church, or a local business with a big enough room. Get permission ahead of time, and be sure to thank the business on all the reading program materials.
  • Get sponsors. Contact businesses and tell them your plans. See if they will offer something to your program: monetary donations, products, meeting space, etc. Acknowledge donors on your materials. Send them each a thank you note when you are finished, so they know how successful the program was.
  • Find volunteers. Chances are there are a few parents, teachers, or librarians out there who wouldn’t mind helping out a little. Put them to work passing out fliers, making reading logs if you are rewarding the amount kids read, checking the kids’ reading logs, collecting products from sponsors, etc. Don’t do everything on your own, or you might not be up to doing it again next year.
  • Invite the readers! Design, print, and copy fliers. Give them to every school, church, youth organization, home school organization, and library within a reasonable distance.

 

Get ready! You will soon have a flood of young readers ready for your summer reading program. Be original and try offer them a unique reading program. The children and their parents will thank you for putting the effort into such a worthwhile program.

 

Question: Do you have tips for summer reading groups?

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