Summer Reading Challenge Plans?

We are putting together a reading challenge for the summer. I just read all about our local public library's summer reading challenge. There's no way our church reading challenge can come close to what all they are doing. Now I understand why absolutely no one participated in what we did last year. I do know that some of you can easily compete with the public library challenges because you have been doing it for years. 

Our local library uses Beanstack. Click here to visit their website. Anyone using them? Just curious.



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    I've posted here about our Summer Reading program, Choose Your Own Adventure.  I finally remembered to take some pictures of the Adventure Cards.  These are the ones for Preschool/Kindergarten and Grades 1-3.

    And here are the ones for Grades. 3-6 and Teen/Adult


  • We've had 50 people sign up for our reading program, ranging in age from 2-adult.  I doubt all 50 will actually participate, but the library is hopping!  It's a good thing we limit the program to seven weeks, because it does make Sundays more hectic and produce more work, as we enter our borroiwng information into the computer manually.  

    • You are reminding me of a surprise Friday evening. I had several teenagers who wished there was a challenge for them. One loves children's books so I talked with her about joining our team to work on our children's collection. And I had a few adults ask about having a challenge for them. Wow!

  • We had a great experience Friday evening during our VBS Family Night. We had lots of activity at our Enrichment Center area for kids to sign up for the Reading Challenge. We had 2 carts of books for them to go ahead and checkout books. (Several famlies went to the EC) Lots of fun visiting with parents we had not met before and engaging the kids with the books. As of Sunday morning we had 31 participants in the Reading Challenge. Here's what we are doing:

    We are using the Twist & Turns VBS games approach. We have 3 sets of game cards:

    • Preschool (When they finish reading a book, they draw a picture related to the book on a game card. A parent writes the name of the book and the name of the person the preschooler showed the picture to while telling about the book.)
    • K-2nd grade (When they finish reading a book they act out something from the book for someone. Our version of Charades. They write the title of the book and the name of the person they play Charades with for that book)
    • 3-5 grade (When they finish a book they create a trivia question related to the book. Trivial Pursuit. They write the book title and their question on the game card with the name of the person who answered their question.)

    The challenge for the Kindergarteners through 5th graders is to read at least one book in each of the following categories: Bible story, Adventure, Biography, and Your Choice. 

    We have strings of flags on a window near our entrance. Hanging from each flag are 4 grosgran ribbons. Each child gets a ribbon to clip their game cards to when they finish reading a book. I'll take a picture Wednesday.

    The folder that contains the game cards has instructions on one side.

    We will give a child a simple item from the Children's Ministry treasure chest when he or she reads one book in each category. All the participants will be recognized during our quarterly church family gathering on July 30. They get to select a board game. I was surprised to find so many games on Christian Book for kids. 

     Thank you to those of you who have posted summer book club ideas for kids through the years on the CLN. Your ideas played a big part in what we ended up doing! 

    Now we'll see if it all works!



  • I have a Summer Reading Bingo going on for both kids and adults. I have some little trinkets for the kids as prizes and I print a certificate. Adults get a book since I always have some duplicates in like new condition.  My biggest event, though, is Meet the Authors Night.  I have 16-18 local authors coming (books don't have to be explicitly Christian but must be clean and have a Christian world-view). I could use some prayers for it to be a success!  The authors each have a table (or a half-table, depending on their needs). Our VBS this year had a "mystery" theme so I kept some of the decorations and I made signs that say, "Investigate Local Authors".  


  • We don't have a summer reading program at our library, but I started one through an organization I volunteer for called Lorehaven. I designed it as an alternative to the public library programs, but we're starting very small and not doing anything like Beanstack. We're hoping to have coloring pages and other fun stuff next year.

    Lorehaven news: Fans and Families, We Invite You to Join Our First Lorehaven Summer Reading Challen…
    Public libraries and other programs are pushing false ideas, so we’ll help you find better stories for Christ’s glory.
  • For those of you like me who seriously struggle with summer reading challenges, I put together a handout to help our team figure out what to do which really helped us focus our thinking. I literally copied and pasted CLN posts on summer ideas. 

    Summer Ideas
  • We have not done a reading program/challenge in probably twenty-plus years.  We are going to try one this summer for all ages children through adults. 

    Our theme is The Reading Jar Summer Book Club. It will run from July 1 - August 31.  They can read whatever books they would like.  When they bring the books back we will have mini craft sticks available.  Their name will be written on a craft stick and dropped in the jar. We are going to try to give a small prize each week to get them excited about reading and joining the book club.  At the end, the jar will be dumped into a basket, and a craft stick drawn.  It could be an adult or child but no one will know until the end who the winner is.  The winner will be announced at a pizza party after church on Sept. 10 for all who participated.

    We just started advertising it last Thursday.  The church staff as well as the library staff are excited especially because we are including the adults. Church members were expressing interest and some are looking forward to it.   

    This book club seemed simple and easy to put together at the last minute. It also is not going to require a lot of extra work from anyone on the library staff. You don't know if it will be a success unless you try it. 

  • We do a summer reading program each year.  I have no idea how many of our people do the ones at their local libraries, though I do know some who have tried to sort of combine their reading. - like if something they read for our program also qualified for something at their other library's program, they'd count it for both.

    Anyway, this year's program at church is called Choose Your Own Adventure, and it's for four age groups: Pre-K/K; Gr. 1-3; Gr. 3-6 and teen/adult.  Each group will have ten different Adventure Cards to choose from. Each card has a reading assignment on it and a catchy name, for example Whodunnit? (Mysteries); Somewhere in Time (historical fiction); Parables Tell a Story (pictures books about parables); Prayer is Talking to God (picture books about prayer); All Creatures Great and Small (books which are about animals or include animals).  Lots of different ones.  When a person returns a completed card, they receive a coupon (I solicit them from local businesses). We keep track of how many books and how many pages each person read and give prizes for each category in each age group at the end-of-program party.  We run the program for seven weeks.  

  • I wonder if there is a way to use the information from the article "Important Relationships: Church Librarians and Children" to make a reading program that capitalizes on or develops those relationships.  Like a Summer Reading Bingo game, where not only do children read the books, but they do something to apply what they have learned, and check a box on a Bingo card.  You might get parents on board as well, if the reading program builds connections within their families and between the children and the church/ congregation, or teaches some Christian disciplines.  E.g., read a book about a missionary and pray for that country.

    Working alone in our library, I haven't had the time/ guts to hold a reading challenge yet.  And I have no clue about prizes.  I have considered a patch for completing the program, or a special lunch if there are "winners" - their favorite meal, with anyone in the church - the pastor, their Sunday school teacher, Upward coach, or another friend.

    We also have some community connections - Rita's frozen custard, and Chic-fil-A - maybe they could donate coupons as prizes.  I am not there yet!  :)

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