School’s out, but don’t let your child’s reading skills fall behind just because it’s summer. Maintain or strengthen their reading abilities by getting them involved in reading events. The Twin Cities offers a variety of book clubs, reading contests, story times and more for kids. Attending some of the many local reading events will maintain their love of books and keep their minds sharp during summer break.
Give Me Summer! Give Me Books!
Red Balloon Bookshop
891 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
Date: Ongoing throughout the summer
Red Balloon Bookshop has a variety of reading activities this summer, including the program “Give Me Summer! Give Me Books!” Over the summer, kids read six books (three of which are from selected titles) and keep track of their reading on a special bookmark picked up in the store. After all six books are read, kids receive a prize for their efforts. Red Balloon also has ongoing free book clubs including “Guys Read Book Club” for boys in grades 4-6 with a male adult, “Teens Read Book Club” for grades 7-12 and “Mother-Daughter Book Club” for moms and their daughters in grades 4-6. Regular in-store events related to popular children’s books are also scheduled throughout the summer.
2720 W. 43rd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Date: Mondays at 10:30 a.m.
Younger children will love the story time at Wild Rumpus. Geared towards baby to preschool age, the kids sing songs, laugh and follow along with popular books for that age group. The adult readers know how to engage the youngsters, which means the story time is full of repeat book-lovers in the summer or throughout the year. Larger groups, like daycares and playgroups, can even arrange for a private story session and tour of the store if they want to avoid the crowds.
Paws to Read
Maple Grove Library
8001 Main St. N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369
Date: June 6 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and August 1 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Cuddling up to a friendly animal and practicing reading aloud on someone who won’t judge you is a fantastic way to build confidence in early readers. The Maple Grove Library and North Star Therapy Animals make this a possibility with a variety of service dogs and other animals visiting the library this summer. Kids entering kindergarten through 4th grade can practice their reading skills in a fun and non-judgemental environment. Certified volunteers will be on hand to assist with the animals and you can find out which animals will be visiting by calling ahead.
Teen Summer Reading Experience
Pleasant Hill Library
1490 S. Frontage Road
Hastings, MN 55033
Date: Ongoing throughout the summer
Teens have an incentive to read and write book reviews this summer during the “Teen Summer Reading Experience.” Follow the instructions in the program packet that is available at all Dakota County Library branches except for the South St. Paul location. Great prizes are available to teen readers including passes to Cascade Bay Waterpark and the Dakota County Fair, books, gift cards and an iPod Touch. Teens entering grades 7-12 are eligible for this program.
Girls Only Kids Book Club
12154 Ensign Ave. N.
Champlin, MN 55316
Date: Tuesdays starting June 11 through Aug. 6 at 1 p.m.
Girls entering grades 4-6 can read great books for their age group and partake in discussions on the content with their peers at Champlin Library this summer. Each week, a different title will be tackled and talked about. Books include “Tuesdays at the Castle” by Jessica Day George and “Bake Sale” by Sara Varon. Copies of each book can be checked out at the Champlin library. Registration for the book club is required in advance.
Cortney Mohnk is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.