Dig into Reading: 2013 Summer Reading Program

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One of my favorite memories of my childhood summers will always be going to the library. Lucky for me, my older sister worked at our local public library for her after school job so I was able to tag along with her on some days. I was always happy as can be to go sit in the big, plush bean bag chairs and get lost in so many stories of mystery and kingdoms far far away. What made the trips to the library even sweeter, though, was being able to be rewarded for doing something I already loved!

About the Program

The annual Summer Reading Program has been around since I was a kid, and it has been a favorite of kids everywhere. I will confess, now that Andrew is old enough to truly enjoy books, I was THRILLED to discover that he, too, could join in on the fun! The Summer Reading Program is a self-directed reading incentive program to motivate and encourage children to read over the summer and to provide an incentive for parents and caregivers to read aloud to children. Children who join the Summer Reading Program will receive a reading log to track of their time spent reading or being read to. The awards and prizes for reading vary from parish to parish. Some of the prizes include things like toys, beach pages and chances to win gift baskets and gift cards. This program provides incentives, encouragement, and it is a great way to get kids excited about reading.

We all know that reading to our kids will help them later on in life. In addition, the Summer Reading Program also helps to enrich the kids, and they work on their reading skills without even knowing it! As Tanya DiMaggio from the St. Tammany Parish Library advised- “When they return to school in the fall, they are less likely to experience the ‘summer slump’ because they have been reading all summer!” Furthermore, the program also provides educational events and activities along with scheduled story times and exposes children to a myriad of cultural experiences in the books they are reading along with the presentations and activities offered. “For children preschool aged and under, this program is also an incentive for parents to read aloud to their children, which helps to facilitate early literacy skills,” also noted DiMaggio.

photo (29)Go Underground with Books

This year’s summer reading theme revolves around what’s underground. For kids, “Dig Into Reading” is this year’s theme and activities at local libraries will include programs on dinosaurs, construction vehicles, animals that live underground, gardening, and more! Furthermore, each parish’s libraries will feature activities such as traditional story time, a dino dig, cave paintings, puppet shows, animal encounters and more.

If you have older kids, they are also included with the theme “Read Beneath the Surface.” Like the children’s program, your teenagers can also participate and join the reading club. Once they complete the goals of the program, they can also win prizes and will receive a prize, which varies from parish to parish.

Oh, and Mom likes to read too? (when she has the time?) Well, no fear! There is even an ADULT reading program called “Groundbreaking Reads” which rewards adults for completing books with a special prize. I know in my parish, once you complete the goals, you get entered in to win a Kindle Fire! I can get behind a program that rewards ME for taking a few minutes to myself to read at bedtime every night!

Local Library Programs & Events

New Orleans Public Library – You can sign up for the Summer Program online here or in person at your nearest branch. Events planned include visits from the WWII Museum’s Red Ball Express, the BugMobile, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra musicians and more! For the full printable schedule, click HERE.

Jefferson Parish Library – The program is already under way, and you can sign up online or in person at your nearest local branch. Events include visits from the Wetland Express, the Aqua Van, Puppet Shows with the Porta-Puppet Players, and even a visit from everyone’s favorite clown, Ronald McDonald. Completion of the program includes a prize of a back pack, yard signs, and even a chance to win a gift card to places like Toys R’Us, Best Buy and others.

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St. Charles Parish Library – Head on over to your local branch to sign up. Program events include visits from the ZooMobile, a Dino Dig, Garden Fun, and visits from magicians and storytellers as well as movie days. Also, as always, the Planetarium will have shows throughout the summer for some learning fun. To see the schedule of events you can click herePrizes include reading medals, back sacks, and the opportunity to win a gift basket full of goodies.

St. John Parish Library – Like many others, the program in St. John is well under way and waiting for you to come and sign up for the program at your local branch. The event calendar can be found here; events planned include a John Deere Exhibit, Movie nights, Craft Days, a Fire Truck Tour and even visits from a magician!

St. Tammany Parish Library – The Summer Reading Program is well under way in St. Tammany! To sign up, you can visit any local branch or you can click here for more information. Kids can start reading their way to receiving collectible patches as well as a beach tote for making their goal. Some of the events planned for the program include visits from the ZooMobile & BugMobile, Puppet Shows from Calliope Puppets, and song & story time with Johnette Downing. For a complete schedule of events, you can click here for a printable calendar.

Tangipahoa Parish Library – To sign up for the Summer Program in Tangipahoa Parish, you can click here or visit your nearest local branch. Programs all feature lots of fun prizes like wooden snakes, bean bag animals, and the older kids can register to win a Kindle or gift cards. Also, there is a fun party planned for those who complete the program at the end of the summer! Other events planned for the summer include story time with Lynda Deniger, Family Movie Nights, visits from Magician Glen Ghirardi, and much more, everything is listed in their online printable calendar. 

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Image Courtesy St. Tammany Parish Library

If you have not checked out your local library or the Summer Reading Program in your parish, I highly recommend it for your kids. Joining the library is FREE and this program is EXCELLENT for summer fun with your kids that provides a lifetime of learning and experiences for years to come. Clearly, it made an impression on me!

Have you signed your kids up for the Summer Reading Program at your local library? Have fond memories of your own childhood program?  What are some of your kids’ favorite books?



  1. Thanks for reminding me about this! I signed up about a month ago. Time to get DS rolling! Lucky for me, he loves to read so this is easy peasy for him. =) Excited about taking our 1 yr old chunky monkey to the library for the first time though!


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