Summertime is full of sun, fun, and friends, but for many kids it’s missing one thing: books.

According to a new Scholastic study, 53 percent of kids say the school library is the place where they go to get books. But when school’s out and this resource isn’t available, kids can fall victim to the “summer slide”—a sharp decline in reading skills.

Little Free Libraries can help kids beat the summer slide by providing easy access to books 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in neighborhoods of all income levels. This increased book access can help make kids strong readers, ready for school to start again in the fall. (Read more about the importance of book access in this report.)

Bring more young readers to your Little Free Library with these fun ideas:

1. Give away “Book Buddies”

Small stuffed animals called “Book Buddies” are a great incentive to get kids reading. Include a few of these plush toys with a note attached to each one that says, “Take me home and read to me!” Children’s author Danette Franqui Vigilante offers Book Buddies in her Little Free Library book exchange, pictured below.

2. Offer prizes for completed books

Ask kids to keep track of the number of books they’ve read by providing simple tracking sheets in your Little Free Library. When they reach the goal number (perhaps five picture books, three graphic novels, or one chapter book), have them return the completed sheet for a prize, like a sticker or a popsicle.

3. Deck out your Little Free Library

Little Libraries are already eye-catching, but make them even more enticing to kids with special decorations. How about a beach theme, with sand, mini beach umbrellas, sunglasses, and more?

4. Host story time

Invite the kids in your neighborhood to a story time get-together at your Little Free Library, and encourage each child to take a book home.

5. Stock books kids can’t resist reading!

We recently asked Little Free Library stewards in the private Facebook group what books they recommend to get kids excited about reading in the summer. Books that they say fly off Little Free Libraries’ shelves include:

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
  • Dog Man series
  • Captain Underpants series
  • Warrior Cats series
  • Harry Potter series
  • Graphic novels, like Lumberjanes or Lunch Lady
  • Classic picture books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie


Help us bring Little Free Libraries full of books to communities where they can inspire young readers! Donate today!

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