Twenty minutes a day.
Twenty minutes with a book – or comic, or article, or website – is all it takes to keep brain cells firing and minds engaged over summer months that often lead to the so-called “brain drain.”
“Kids can lose weeks or even months of their learning from the school year if they don’t engage in some meaningful way during the summer,” said Erin Howerton, children’s manager for the Wichita Public Library.
“And summer reading’s a way for them to do that.”
The library on Thursday will launch its annual summer reading program, which urges kids and teens to track their reading and offers prizes to those who make reading a habit.
Starting Thursday, you can sign up in person at any Wichita library branch or online at wichitalibrary.org/summerreading. Track progress with a reading log or online. Kids can count anything they read to themselves or to someone else, or that someone reads to them, including audio books.
“We count reading in all of its wonderful forms,” Howerton said. “We want them to get some stories in their heads, and we respect however they want to do that and whatever they’ve got time to do.”
We want them to get some stories in their heads, and we respect however they want to do that and whatever they’ve got time to do.
Erin Howerton, children’s manager at Wichita public library
For every 10 days they read 20 minutes or more, kids and teens earn prizes such as free pizzas, skate passes, books, bowling and rounds of mini-golf.
Preschool and elementary-age children who read 40 days or more will be entered into a drawing for one of six $50 gift cards to Watermark Books & Cafe or one of two family passes to Botanica.
Middle school and high school students who meet reading milestones will be entered into a grand-prize drawing for one of two $100 Amazon gift cards.
For babies age birth to 2, the library’s Baby Bookworms program encourages parents and caregivers to complete 15 early-literacy activities – talking, singing, reading and playing – and rewards them with board books, bath toys and other prizes.
Parents of children 6 and under also can sign up for the library’s “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” reading challenge.
“As you go around the city over the summer, don’t forget to make a little time to stop in at a library,” Howerton said. “So later on, when you’re hanging out at home and chilling, you can pull out that book.”
Check out these books
Reading is Fundamental’s Multicultural Booklist includes 39 children’s books specially selected to encourage children’s interest in a broad range of topics, including science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, history and social studies. The collection also emphasizes multiculturalism and diversity in its books’ content, characters, authors and illustrators.
To find the list, visit the RIF website at www.rif.org. There, parents, teachers and caregivers can find free, downloadable activities to deepen students’ engagement with the books.