I'm looking for ideas for a summer reading program. Our library is small, and the majority of the books are still being processed (we are making the move from a room of books to a library!). Since this will be our first such program, I'd like to keep it simple, yet still fun.

I'm browsing this site and others for ideas, but would like to hear what you have planned. What has worked/not worked in the past? Theme suggestions?

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Hi Michele, You know I believe we should keep things simple. It is during the summertime and people just want to relax and enjoy the time. I suggest looking through the Demco library promotions book and you will see many ideas to prick your own creativity. Last year we used the gumball theme. Each time the children came we let them get gumballs out of the little machine and they loved it. We had a pizza party at the end of the club and watched a great DVD from the library. We all had a fun time together. I hope you will just have fun with the children and enjoy your work in the library. Library ministry is a terrific way to minister to your people.

Rita Kirkland
We usually tie our reading club to the theme for Vacation Bible School. This year the materials from Lifeway for VBS use the theme "Saddle Ridge Ranch." We found some western themed bookmarks and reading logs at Upstart. Be sure to include the "read to me" group of preschoolers.
Barbara Houston
Ah yes it's that time of year again. Creative thinking ya'll, thanks Barbara for the tip about the Upstart website.
It looks very interesting....great looking resource. Makes me want to get started putting that Summer program together and I love the VBS tie in.
Anything else that others will pass along that is a great motivating method. We have a lot of children that we bring in for VBS and Awana on our Church Van, so we need ideas for some children that are not readers, and maybe even a little less privileged than others, to make them get interested in reading.
If you tie your program to the VBS theme, you could match a child to an adult, and have one-on-one "Readin' Buddies". They could meet for a few minutes before or after the program to read a book together. Maybe a senior adult who feels like a whole room full of children would be too much could make a difference for one child at a time.
Great idea, you sound like you have encountered that situation. You are right, and there are people who would love to help in VBS but as you say, they are overwhelmed by 20 or 30 children in the room.

I learned from experience to begin slowly and add as you have time and help to do so. I did it too big and now cannot backtrack without someone getting upset.

Theme ideas are numerous. Upstart has wonderful ideas. Another, very simple idea I found on the internet is to do a "Library Bingo". Of course, in the church bingo would not be widely accepted, so I changed it to "Library Lingo". I will try to post a picture of the Bingo.

What makes it so simple is that the kids just read their five books to make a bingo and then bring the sheet in for a prize. You can make is last a week or a month or two. If they want to do more than one, they might be allowed to get more than one prize.

Bev League
Yes, please do post a Lingo card for us to look at - sounds intriguing! I've thought it would be nice to up the ante a bit for upper elementary and JH/HS readers, asking them to read some nonfiction and some kind of bingo card with required categories like biography, devotional, etc. could be a way to make it fun!
Our summer reading program attempts to involve all ages and genders. We do this with small age appropriate incremental awards that are received when a reader reads 5, 10 , or 15 books. After they read 20 books they are eligible to receive a certificate for ice cream at a local establishment. Our participation is almost 50-50 children and adults with 2,000 to 3,000 books read during the summer. Our participants are responsible for turning in a pre-printed (by us) slip of paper about the size of a check out card that gives their name, name of the book and a place to check that they have read the item. We combine the slips of paper into groups of 5 each and after that they may choose something from the 5, 10, or 15 rewards basket. Some of the adults may not need or want any awards but they usually choose something and give it to our preschool department that collects items all year to use in Samaritan's Purse shoeboxes.

Good luck with your summer reading program. It is always a lot of fun!!



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