Local libraries and stores are kicking off summer reading programs over the next month. The goal is to keep kids reading all summer so they don't lose some of the knowledge that they gained during the school year.
Research has shown that by the end of sixth grade, kids who lose reading skills over the summer are two years behind their classmates, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and it's difficult for them to ever catch up.
Not only do summer reading programs encourage kids to keep reading all summer, they also provide some great free activities to keep them busy as well. Libraries often host special programs for kids from toddlers to teens (and often adults too). Stores give away free books.
Here's where you'll find them:
Wake County libraries has programs for kids, teens and adults. Sign up for the program at your local library. Starting this weekend, some libraries will have special events to kick off the program. Many will have special programs during the week to encourage families to visit the library all summer.
Durham County Library will start up their summer programs for kids, teens and adults with special events on June 15 and June 16. It's 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., June 15, at Bragtown Library & Family Literacy Center and McDougald Terrace Community Library. It's 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 16 at the Main Library, East Regional Library, North Regional Library, South Regional Library, Southwest Regional Library and Stanford L. Warren Library.
Chapel Hill Public Library's program runs June 1 to Aug. 10 and offers events for kids, teens and adults.
Orange County Public Library is offering programs for kids, teens and adults.
The Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield began registering readers on June 1. There will be special programs every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from June 11 to Aug. 8.
Cumberland County Library has programs for kids, teens and adults from June 4 to July 31.
Lee County's program starts June 12.
Harnett County program begins June 19.
Franklin County's programs will begin the week of June 25.
Some stores also offer summer reading programs.
Kids earn a free book for reading eight books in this Barnes & Noble deal.
Plans are in the works for a summer reading program at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill. Check the website in a week or two for the latest.
Pottery Barn Kids has a summer reading challenge. The Triangle's only Pottery Barn Kids store at The Streets at Southpoint in Durham also has a weekly storytime at 11 a.m., Tuesday.
And Quail Ridge Books & Music has ongoing programs for kids, including a regular 10 a.m. storytime on most Monday mornings for toddlers and preschoolers. Its Summer B.I.R.D.S program for kids ages 5 to 7 was nearly full at last check. But there is room in its Flanagan Frenzy: Rangers Apprentice Book Club for ages 9 and up. The book club will hold weekly gatherings this summer to discuss the first five books in the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan. The club is free, but registration is required. The store on Wade Avenue in Raleigh also has a teen writing group, which meets twice a month.
Check our Go Ask Mom summer fun guide for more free and cheap fun for the kids this summer.