Usually we see loads of free summer reading programs in Wichita and in neighboring communities designed to help kids stay in practice and avoid that “summer slide.” Programs include a reading goal of some sort, a way to track your progress, and prizes for accomplishing summer reading goals. And all of the ones we have listed here are free!
Wichita-area Summer Reading Programs
Kids in Wichita have no lack of choices for fun summer reading, and the prizes often include coupons for free food items or new books.
Wichita Public Library Summer Reading Program
Wichita Public Library’s summer reading program “Oceans of Possibilities” begins May 31, 2022 and runs until July 28, 2022.
How to sign up for the Wichita Library summer reading program
Sign up at wichitalibrary.org/summerreading.
It takes just a few minutes to register each child using the Beanstack website or app. The app is available for both iPhone and Android users. To register your child, you will need to enter very basic information about your child: name, age, grade attending in the fall, school, city you live in and local library branch. If you are having trouble logging in or registering with Beanstack, feel free to call your local library branch and they can walk you through it. There are also several helpful Beanstack Quick-Start Videos on the WPL’s website.
How to track progress and earn prizes!
Once you have registered your child, you can start tracking his or her reading progress. There is also the option to print out the reading log.
This year, the goal is 40 days of reading. Prizes will be awarded at different reading benchmarks. The more you read the more prizes you earn! Instead of picking up a print calendar at the library, participants will track their progress via an app called Beanstack (which is free).
The reading program is offered for different age groups:
- Baby Bookworms Start early to help encourage your child to develop a lifelong love of reading. The Baby Bookworm program is for kids 2 and under and has age-appropriate rewards and activities. You can also participate in the 1000 books before kindergarten program.
- Kids Read For kids ages 3-11. Being read to – or reading to someone else – also counts.
- Teens Read For teens ages 12-18.
You can get more information about all of the library’s reading programs at the link above.
More Free Summer Reading Programs
Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Kids in first- through sixth-grade can earn a free book by reading any eight books and recording them in reading journals available at the store or at the website. Bring the completed journal to a local Barnes & Noble between the dates given and your child can choose a free book from the specially selected titles.
The Popcorner Summer Reading program happened in 2020 and 2021, but hasn’t been announced for 2022. We’ll let you know if this program is a go as soon as we find out! The Popcorner Summer Reading Program earns kids ages 5-15 a free bag of gourmet buttered popcorn! Pick up a summer book club form at either location and when it’s full, bring it back for a prize!
Summer Reading Programs Community Libraries
If you live in one of the communities near Wichita, ask your local library if they offer a summer reading program. I’ve found the ones listed below, but there may be others.
Haysville Public Library Enroll beginning mid-May for the Haysville Summer Reading Program that will go from early June to mid-July. Enrolled kids complete a list of tasks each week for prizes.
Derby Public Library Signups begin in May for the Derby summer reading program, which offers programs for different age groups. It is usually similar to Wichita’s program, but the age groups, requirements, and prizes may be different. Be sure to check it out if you live in Derby.
Andover Public Library The Andover Library summer reading program generally kicks off with a petting zoo on June 1 and kids can participate in the reading program through late July. Register online through Beanstack.
Park City Public Library Registration for the Park City Library Summer Reading Club generally opens in May. The program features special activities and performances from early June through late July. If this is your library, be sure to stop by for more information.
Newton Public Library They usually have programs and activities for children, teens, and adults. We haven’t heard anything yet about their summer program for 2022.
Mulvane Public Library The Mulvane Public Library offers a free summer reading program for all ages – children, teens and adults – with activities and prize drawings throughout the summer. Specifics have not been announced yet for 2022, but check out the library’s website or stop by the library for more information. We’ll update you when we hear about it!
Free summer reading resources
These aren’t reading programs, but they are great free reading resources for kids:
- Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Parents of children 5 and younger who live in eligible ZIP codes can sign up to receive a free, high-quality book each month.
- Find children’s books at Amazon (affiliate link). If you have a phone, tablet, or almost any kind of e-reader, you can sometimes find and download free books at Amazon. Prices on Amazon change frequently, so when you do find a free book, get it before the price goes up.
- Free Sesame Street e-books Bright, colorful online versions of books featuring kids’ favorite Sesame Street characters.
- Storyline Online Members of the Screen Actors Guild read popular children’s books.
- American Library Association Teen Book Finder App Free iOS or Android app helps you find books that have won awards from the Young Adult Library Services Association.
- Scholastic Book Wizard This is a great online tool designed for teachers, but parents can use it to find new titles for their kids to read. Enter the title of a book your child or teen loves and find other books similar to it. You can also search for books according to grade level, Lexile score or Developmental Reading Assessment. It’s the next-best thing to a librarian. Scholastic also does also have a simplified book list for parents to find recommended books by age.
- Free printable summer reading lists are offered by grade level from the American Library Association. A separate set of lists, Summertime Favorites, features books having “lasting value.” Since many of the books on the Summertime Favorites lists are classics, some might be out of copyright and available for free at Amazon.
Past Summer Reading Programs:
Chuck E. Cheese Reading Rewards
We haven’t found any information about this program yet. We’ll update it as soon as we do.
Kids record their reading every day for two weeks in the printable Reading Rewards Calendar. Redeem the completed calendar at participating Chuck E. Cheese locations for 10 free tokens. A food purchase is required. The current Reading Rewards calendar expires December 31. Chuck E. Cheese also offers lots of other printable reward calendars, everything from tokens for good grades, to no nose picking can earn your child 10 free tokens! Check it out!