Twin Cities Summer Reading Programs

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I don’t recall summer reading programs when I was a kid. One year, my mom challenged me to start tackling the “college reading list”. 2016 Summer Reading ProgramsThis list doesn’t actually exist, but I was able to find a book at the library that had an extensive list of books that every college student should read. Knowing my childhood library, the book was probably written in 1942 and the first book on the list was a college level psychology book. I didn’t get past that first one. Luckily, that was the year I discovered a love for science fiction and fantasy novels, so I read all summer — just not the books my mom thought I should be reading.

Where do your kids fall in the summer reading spectrum? Whether they love to read or hate it or are somewhere in between, there is probably a program out there for them. If they are ambitious, they can participate in several.  There is no rule that can’t use the same books for several programs. Here’s a few programs we found.

Bookawocky Summer Reading Program

Bookawocky Summer Reading Program

Roseville library

Bookawocky is the summer reading program that most of the MELSA libraries use. The program consists of library events, book recommendations and reading badges that can be earned. Participants can earn up to 9 badges this summer. Kids can also “build a book stack” by tracking what they read and they can write reviews of the books they finish.

If you don’t see your library in this list but they are part of the MELSA system, ask the librarian. They are probably participating.

Summer Spark Reading Program

Arlington Hills Community Center
Highland Park Library
Rondo Library
Sun Ray Library

Contact one of these library locations to sign your child up for this free opportunity. Sign up begins May 1

summer reading roadtripSummer Reading Road Trip

Did you know we have an online literary magazine dedicated to kid lit based right here in the Twin Cities? Makes sense with all the awesome children’s authors around here. The Road Trip is sponsored by Bookology Magazine  and features several local children’s authors. If you are participating in Bookhounds, you’ll be familiar with many of them. Unlike the other programs, the road trip has a booklist for kids to work through. Kids can download souvenirs from each stop of their trip – a bookmark and achieve mile markers to win prizes. This program would probably be best for an adventurous middle-grade reader. It will likely take them out of their reading comfort zone and challenge them a bit. It could also be combined with one of the library reading programs.

Wild Rumpus Summer Reading Bingo

Stop by Wild Rumpus to pick up a Summer Reading Bingo Card! Fill in the squares with books you read over the summer to get a bingo, then bring your card back to Wild Rumpus by Labor Day to claim your prize.

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Kids can be a summer reading hero with the Scholastic Challenge. Dav Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants and Dogman series, is the celebrity summer reading hero for this program. In this program kids log minutes, instead of books. This would be good for that kid who is juggling six books but never seems to reach the end of any. This is a good way to let them know their reading time still counts. Apparently teachers can also sign up to track their student’s summer reading. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Unfortunately, none of the scholastic events will be in our neighborhood, but our kids can still participate online.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Triathlon

The Barnes & Noble Triathlon is the program to sign up your non-reader. All the child has to do to earn a free book is answer 3 out of 4 questions about books they’ve read. There is no right or wrong answer and no minimum reading that has to be accomplished. Maybe that free book will be the one that sets off the spark. I’ve known enough early non-readers to know that it is not an indicator of where they’ll be when they get older. So, my goal is to just keep offering options, opportunities, and encouragement until something sets them off.

Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program

Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Program is for the ambitious reader. They need to log 300 minutes of reading to start earning bookworm bucks. Reading needs to be completed in June and July and sheets need to be turned in by September 1st.

Other Online Summer Reading Programs to Check Out

Don’t forget to finish it off your summer of reading at the Minnesota State Fair!!



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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.


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