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Summer Reading Programs for Preschoolers

How to Make Reading Part of Your Child's Summer Fun

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Even if your little one hasn't started preschool yet, a good way to encourage them to look at books over the summer is through participation in a summer reading program. Often sponsored by bookstores and libraries, not only do most promise some type of reward at the end, but they often include fun activities throughout the summer as well as helpful hints and guidelines for parents on how to encourage your child to read as well as what books are age-appropriate. Plus, reading with your child is a great activity you can do just about anywhere. Here are a few summer reading programs worth checking out.

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Designed for kids ages four and older, this free online reading club sponsored by the publishing giant sorts kids into four virtual color teams who earn points for every minute read by their members. Kids can earn bonus points by playing online games. At the end of the summer, the team that has read the most minutes gets to vote on which part of the Save the Children U.S. program will receive a donation from Scholastic.

Borders Kids Reading Challenge

This program for kids 12 and under is based on the honor system. At the beginning of the summer, kids pick up a coupon good for 50 percent off a book. Once a parent has signed off that their child has read eight books, the coupon can be redeemed. In-store events vary nationwide but include trivia contests, arts and crafts and story time. Reading lists of age-appropriate books are available in-store and online. The eight books read do not have to be purchased at Borders.

2009 B&N Summer Reading - Summer Reading with Percy Jackson and The Olympians

Although this program is geared at kids in first grade and up, if your little one has older siblings, she may want to participate. Students in grades 1-6 fill out a book journal and must read eight books by September 7. Once a parent has signed off on the completed journal, the child will be given a coupon for a free book and a raffle to win a copy of an autographed tome by Rick Riordan. You should check with your local store to see if your younger child is eligible. Books read do not have to be purchased at the store.

Summer Reading Programs Through Your Local Library

Most children's departments of local libraries host some sort of reading program. Generally, the way these types of programs work is simple. Each child is asked to read a certain number of books by a specified date. If they complete the task they get some sort of reward -- recognition in the library, an invitation to a special event or a treat from a nearby retailer. Check with your librarian for the specifics. It's likely that in order to participate your child will need to get his own library card -- a fun activity that's likely to make your preschooler feel very important.

Summer Reading Programs Through Your Child's School

Many preschools and kindergartens (if that's where your child is headed) either sponsor a reading program or at the very least, provide a list of suggested titles for your little one to read over the summer. If they don't, ask the teacher or administrator to suggest some age- and level-appropriate books for your child.
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