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Reading Programs for your Church Library
Get Kids Reading--Adults, Too!
Plan a Themed Summer Reading Program at Church
A church library should contribute to the education and recreation of the community. Summer is a perfect time to promote reading for all ages. Plan a simple program, promote it, and watch both children and adults enjoy a summer of enrichment and fun. To see what other churches are doing, network with other church librarians at--where else--Church Librarians' Network!
Be sure to prepare a display of great books for children and for adults to encourage readers. Consider compiling a list of recommended books by asking teachers, pastoral staff, and parents for recommendations. Summer is a great time to add a new children's book series to the library collection.
Summer Book Club Ideas
Simple Themes to Anchor the Reading Program
To make a summer reading program easy to implement and promote, choose a fun theme or contest as the centerpiece of your promotion effort. Some example include:
- Travel Theme: Participants get a map with a marked path and can "travel" a specified distance for each book they read until they reach their destination. A variation would be to make "passports" and give stamps whenever a child finishes a book. Small prizes can be given as incentives and can incorporate a travel theme, e.g. sunglasses, luggage tags, or travel-themed stickers.
- Sports Theme: Emphasize that readers are winners through a fun program that incorporates sports. The reading record sheet could resemble a football field with "yardage" awarded for books read. Post a scoreboard on the library door to show books read by boys v. girls--or make it a contest between parents and children.
- Missions Theme: Require each participant to read at least one book from a collection of missionary biographies or stories about other countries. Post a world map in the library and let kids mark places that are mentioned in the books they read.
- Animal Theme: Feature books that include animals. Use a zoo map as a reading record and offer prizes with an animal motif such as small stuffed animals, animal print notebooks, and animal erasers.
Here is another title for encouraging cross-cultural understanding.
Promotion of the Program
Encouraging Maximum Participation
Start promoting summer reading weeks before school ends for the year. Many families go on vacation right away, and you'll want kids to be reading! Ask the pastor for permission to put a notice in the church bulletin and newsletters. Post information about the program in the library. Send home flyers with Sunday School members. Perhaps you could even have Summer Reading Club T-shirts available in the library.
If your church does Vacation Bible School early in the summer, offer kids a chance to register then as well. They can catch up even if they missed the first week or two.
Last year (2012) I did a July Book Blast. Since I had limited time to do a program, I focused my efforts on a time when kids had fewer activities to compete for their attention--after Independence Day and before the back-to-school crunch time. I made some simple posters and reading record sheets with a firecracker theme and offered a prize box at the end of the month with "gold," "silver," and "bronze" prizes based on the total number of books read.
July Book Blast 2.0 has concluded at Life Community Church. Plans for 2014 are underway.
Tools for Book Clubs - Summer Reading Graphics and Record Sheets
- Fun Bright Reading Log for Homeschoolers and Students
Fun printable reading log pages for homeschoolers and students to track their reading progress. Track by favorite books or by individual literary genres.
- Printable Reading Logs | Classroom Jr.
Free printable reading logs in 9 different full-color themes, perfect for summer reading or homework reading logs.
- Free Summer Clip Art Images - Suns, Sunsets & More!
This page features free summer clip art images and printable summer coloring images such as: suns, palm trees, beach scenes and more. These are my creations so you are welcome to use this summer clip art free of charge, no strings attached!
- Free Reproducible Outline Maps
Pre-K through 8th grade educational resources for teachers, students, and parents.