Keep Your Kids Busy Over the Summer on a Budget

Have you checked out your library's summer reading calendar yet?

Summer reading programs are a fun (and free) way to keep your children engaged.

As the school year ends, kids across the country are suddenly left without their classes or friends to keep them busy. Ideally, summer is a time of carefree fun, outdoor activities, and family road trips. Even with parents doing their best to keep their kids busy all summer, children are bound to get bored eventually. 

If your child needs a fun summer activity (or just enjoys books), a summer reading program is a budget-friendly way to exercise their brain. 

Since the 1890s, libraries all across the U.S. have led summer reading programs for young readers. Here’s how they work: Children will participate by keeping a reading log, joining a book club, attending library storytimes, or other activities. Kids are rewarded for reading with fun prizes such as free books, sweepstakes, or even gift cards! These incentives add an extra layer of fun to summer reading lists, motivating kids to read more and become active participants at their local library. 


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Benefits of Summer Reading Programs 

The importance of summer reading programs goes beyond being a fun way to pass the time during the summer. They’re critical for preventing reading loss, which refers to a loss of skills or knowledge. Loss of reading skills has a continuous impact on a child’s school performance. By the end of sixth grade, kids with summer reading loss are two years behind their peers. By reading over the summer, kids keep their brains engaged and enter the school year prepared to use the skills they learned over the summer. 

Summer reading also helps build a love of books. Because these programs don’t take place at school, it’s easier for kids to enjoy reading without the pressure of a classroom environment. Unlike a formal book report or required reading, they’re designed to be fun and rewarding for kids. For many children, summer reading challenges are a staple they look forward to every year!


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How Can I Get Involved? 

It’s easy to get your child signed up for a summer reading program. Most libraries participate, so all you have to do is pay your local library a visit and ask a librarian about their summer program. Summer reading programs are a fantastic (and free) library service. 

Whether your child wants a fun summer activity or just a free book, participating will help cultivate a love of reading that can last a lifetime. To learn more about the crucial role libraries play in kids’ lives, check out our news section



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