There are loads of free summer reading programs in Wichita, in neighboring communities, and online that will help kids stay in practice and avoid that “summer slide.” All of the programs listed below include rewards for accomplishing summer reading goals and all of them are free!
Just a note for teens: Most of the libraries in this list are looking for volunteers to help during the summer! If you love reading and want to help out, visit the website for each library to see what they have available.
Wichita 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 begins May 28 and runs until July 26. (Kids can register until July 19.)
At the beginning of the program, a child is given a calendar log to keep track of reading during the summer. A PDF version is also available on the Library’s website. Once 20 minutes of reading per day for 10 days is achieved, the child can bring the calendar to any Wichita Public Library location to redeem a prize. Additional prizes are available after each additional 10-day, or more, reading period.
The reading program is offered in three parts, 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 Kids ages 3 through 5th grade spend at least 20 minutes reading per day. Being read to – or reading to someone else – also counts.
- Teens Read Teens entering grades 6-12 can participate by reading for at least 20 minutes a day.
You can get more information about all of the library’s reading programs at the link above, or just stop by your nearest local branch to sign up.
Plus, more than 100 events for youth are scheduled to coincide with the Summer Reading Program at Library locations across Wichita! All of the programs are free, and many of them include special performers, including the Wichita Griots, Exploration Place, Opera Kansas and more.
Blue Baboon Summer Reading Program
Blue Baboon Books Summer Reading Blue Baboon, a locally-owned independent bookstore in Wichita, is kicking off its two summer challenges on May 24 from 4-6 p.m. At the kickoff party, kids can participate in a scavenger hunt throughout the store, color their own bookmark, and enjoy snacks. It’s a come-and-go open house style event.
The two summer challenges are a Summer Reading Challenge and a Summer Bridge Workbook Challenge. The prize for completing the highest level of both challenges is an invitation to a pizza party at the store! Read about both summer challenges here at the Blue Baboon website.
Barnes and Noble Free Summer Reading Program
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.
Chuck E. Cheese Reading Rewards
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.
Summer Reading Programs Near Wichita
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 May 13 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 May 28 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 party in late May and kids can participate through late July. Register online or at the library. Still waiting for more details. Last year: Children who read 20 minutes per day can earn free books.
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 Kids can sign up now for the Newton Library summer reading program. They have programs and activities for children, teens, and adults. But some programs are limited, so sign up early to reserve your spot! The teen summer reading kickoff party is at 7 p.m. on May 29, 2019.
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. Be sure to attend the fun Summer Reading Kickoff Party on Monday, May 20 for live music and lots of giveaways and activities!
Also, be sure to check out Emily’s Ultimate List of Free Story Times in Wichita for more reading-related free fun!
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.
- 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.
- Find children’s books at Amazon (affiliate link). If you have a phone, tablet, or almost any kind of ereader, 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.