My daughter told me she had teasingly asked one of her kids if he wouldn’t just like to stay home on the next to last day of the school year. No, Mom, he insisted. He really wanted to go to school!
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OK, maybe it was the longer than usual recess students had been promised that drew him back to the schoolhouse. But consider the possibilities – what if “summer school” only means doing the things we like to do? Maybe even getting fun swag for doing it? That’s the idea behind the Dallas Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge. This Saturday, June 3, at 1 p.m. Dallas Library branches will open the challenge. My local library branch, Skillman Southwestern, plans to make a party out of the opening, with face painting, balloon animals, snacks and more. Check your local branch to see what's happening, and sign up at the library or online.
Can’t swing by a library branch Saturday? Sign up any time through the challenge’s June 3-August 12 duration (ask a librarian how!) at your local branch or online. But the sooner you accept the challenge, the more chances you’ll have to win prizes.
Kids ages 0-18 can participate by reading (or being read to) at least 20 minutes a day. Ebooks and audiobooks count. (Sorry, video games and website surfing do not.) After logging 10 days of reading, kids earn a free book of their choice, plus a pass or coupon to even more fun summer events and attractions such as Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Zoo, Medieval Times, Nasher Sculpture Center, plus eating places and sporting events.
New giveaways are available at every 10-day reading interval. Plus, kids who log at least 50 reading days by August 12 will be entered for grand prizes such as a behind-the-scenes tour of the penguin exhibit at the Dallas Zoo, a family four-pack of tickets to a Dallas Cowboys game, a change to go on the field for a Cowboys game, a tour of the dinosaur/paleontology lab at SMU, and much, much more.
Darn, you say, dear reader. What if I’m over age 18? Don’t fret – age also has its privileges! Track each book you read for weekly and grand prize drawings.
Want extra credit? Post about your reading on social media with the tag @dallaslibrary for weekly drawings to win movie passes from Alamo Drafthouse. Want even more credits, you overachiever you, complete online Learning Tracks – themed activities designed to encourage deeper explorations of chosen topics.
By the way, did I forget to mention that all this is absolutely free? Free!
Oh, no, you say, this is only for Dallas residents. Too true, but similar programs exist at many other libraries. Check with your local librarian to find out.
Now, I’ll mention something that isn’t on the Dallas Library site. But I know you – you love those extracurricular activities, right?
So, go the next mile (OK, the next meter or so) and post your reading adventures on sites such as Goodreads and Amazon, where you hold the grading pencil and the ability to give writers stars on their work. For even more fun, send me your book review (preferably not more than 300 words) embedded in an email to melissaembry01 at gmail.com, for a chance to see your review featured at this site. Keep it honest and clean (and in English)! I reserve the right to edit for length and clarity.