Ask a Storytime Ninja: Lightning Round – Summer Reading Challenges?

Here’s our newest Lightning Round question! These questions are posed to all of our ninjas instead of just our featured monthly ones and are meant to be quick and efficient responses to some interesting inquiries. Here’s our question for this week which we’ve had a lot of responses for so this one’s a tid bit longer than most:




The Question:


“I run the Summer Reading Program at our library. We are in a small community but have always had a HUGE success with participants in our summer program. I have a number of children who blow through our program every year and are looking for more to do. I’m contemplating creating a second, more challenging aspect next year for those kids that breeze through the original program, though I’m not sure what I should do. Do you have any suggestions?”


The Answers:


From Ann S.:


Our library doesn’t set a completion goal for the children that participle in our summer reading program. They are encouraged to read as many books as they can in six weeks. We do however offer bragging badges for every ten books read. The children decorate these any way they like, put there names on them, and we hang them on our wall of fame. We also offer weekly pizza slice coupons for a free slice of pizza from the local pizza parlour. They donate the coupons as well as an end of summer reading pizza party. If someone manages to read 100 books they get a free book to keep. These are gathered from donations throughout the year.


From Meg S. (@theemegnificent,


In order to avoid children completing the program and having no reason to be involved with the library we have summer reading passports. The kids keep these for the whole summer and once a week when the come in they get a stamp on their passport and get to add a sticker to our wall (this year it is hero city). There are also 4 bonus challenges they can complete to earn more stamps and a small prize. Our bonus challenges this summer are, ‘check out a nonfiction book’, ‘be a hero for someone else and tell us about it’, ‘draw a picture of yourself as a superhero’, and ‘attend a summer reading event’. The passport has been great for engaging them throughout the summer and the kids have a lot of fun doing the challenges!


From Tess P. (@tess1144,


I think it would be really fun to do a book review blogging workshop series for kids. They can read whatever they want and if they don’t know already, they can learn how to set up a blog, learn how to write reviews and promote their blogs, share and follow each other’s blogs etc. If you have access to kids’ book ARCs, perfect, then let them read and review those too. I would bet that lots of kids in fifth, sixth and seventh grade already know how to blog – lots of classrooms have blogs so I don’t think it a big stretch for kids who love books to do this for fun. While you would probably need to make sure the kids had their parents’ permission to start their own blogs, I think blogging is great way to get kids reading, writing and discussing books. BTW, my eleven year old niece has been blogging about books since the age of 8 with minimal help from her mom.


Thanks for all the great responses everyone! Do you have any of your own? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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