There are loads of free summer reading programs in Wichita, 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 17 and runs until July 27. 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. Complete the activities with your little one and return your log, and your child will receive a board book and a bath toy. 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. Every ten days kids read 20 minutes or more, they can earn a prize like coupons for free items or a free book. Kids can also enter to win the grand prize.
- Teens Read Teens entering grades 6-12 can participate by reading for at least 20 minutes a day. For every 10 days that teens read 20 minutes or more, they can earn a prize, like coupons for free food and entertainment, a free book, and entries for the grand prize drawing.
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.
Blue Baboon Summer Reading Program
Blue Baboon Books Summer Reading Blue Baboon, a locally-owned independent bookstore in Wichita, is kicking off its summer reading program on May 17 from 2-6 p.m. with Blue Baboon BINGO. Kids can pick up a card that has age-appropriate reading suggestions, which they’ll use to keep track of the books they’ve read. When they complete two rows of five – across, down, or diagonal – they can bring in their card to get a $5 Blue Baboon Books gift certificate! Plus, they’ll be entered into drawings for all kinds of fun merch, like bookmarks, Playfoam, books, novelty items, journals, and one of three $50 gift certificates!
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, 2018.
Summer Reading Programs Nearby
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 now for the Haysville Summer Reading Program that will go from June 4 to the end of July. Enrolled kids complete a list of tasks each week for prizes.
Derby Public Library Signups begin May 29 for the Derby summer reading program, which has three different age groups. It is similar to Wichita’s program, but the age groups, requirements, and prizes are different. Be sure to check it out if you live in Derby.
Andover Public Library The Andover Library summer reading program kicks off with a party on May 29 and continues through late July. Register online or at the library. 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 The Newton Library summer reading program includes reading, activities, special events, and Family Time Fun. Kids collect Reading Tickets to win prizes. The library will have a kickoff party on May 31 from 6-8 p.m.
Mulvane Public Library The Mulvane Public Library offers a free summer reading program for all ages, with programs for children, teens and adults going on each week and weekly prize drawings. They have a reading challenge going on throughout the summer, and the grand prize is a Kindle Fire! Register as early as May 23 for the June 5 – July 15, 2018 program.
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.
- Book Adventure by Sylvan Learning (Online) According to its website, this will be closing on June 30, so if you want reading recommendations, check it out soon.
Kids in grades K-8 can earn prizes by reading books and then taking quizzes to accumulate points.One of the nicer features of this site is the Book Finder, which offers suggestions for books based on grade level, level of difficulty and interest. You still have to find the books at your library or bookstore. Alternatively, you can look up a book your child has already chosen to see if there is a quiz available for it. Almost 8,000 books are in the database.
- Barnes & Noble Free Online Storytime A great selection of entertaining children’s books read by authors and celebrities. Barnes & Noble also has a kids’ club that offers discounts and rewards.
- 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 to help parents 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.
- 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.