How to Start a Summer Reading Program for Children

Improve reading skills in summer. programs

A summer reading program helps encourage learning while school is out. It also gives children an incentive to read and connect with their community. Whether you are a teacher, school administrator or average citizen, starting a summer program for children can be easy and rewarding.

Plan a Summer Reading Program for Children

Decide what age group will participate in the reading program. Find out which grade level of students has the biggest need for a reading program in the community. Consider calling local schools and speaking with principals for ideas, or just speak to your child's teachers.

Get a sponsor to help start the summer reading program. Contact the library staff or community group leaders for assistance.

Consider holding the program at a person's home, club center or at a local park. If planning the program for your school, you will most likely be given a budget and a place to conduct the program.

Contact the parents of children you want to enroll in the program. Collect addresses (mail and email) of community organization members and colleagues at your place of work or school.

Create promotional materials before the start of the summer reading program. Type and distribute flyers and postcards to stir up interest. Send your program information to local newspapers to get listed in its calendar or events sections.

Develop an enrollment form. An effective sheet should have all pertinent information about the program including contact information, dates, deadline for payment, fees, supplies needed, times and location.

Develop a Theme for the Summer Reading Program

Review the suggestions for book ideas from potential participants. Come up with several books to offer based on the demographics of the group including age and education level.

Gear your theme toward a goal. For instance, to encourage an understanding of different cultures in your community pick a country to read about for each session of the program.

Plan activities that relate to the reading material. Have "pot luck" food days where each person brings a dish representing a culture or topic in a particular book. This could include Spanish food when reading "Don Quixote" or tropical fruit when discussing "The Jungle Book."


Start planning several months before June to get enrollment and reservations done prior to the summer. Request book suggestions during the planning stage from those who will likely attend the summer program to help formulate the theme.

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