Savoring the summer season doesn’t just bring to mind camping under star-studded skies and splashing in the surf. Kids can use the lazy and luxurious summer break to become superstars by diving into books. To encourage youngsters to chill out and read this summer, organizations and libraries and bookstores across the Philadelphia area have set up some sun-sational literacy programs. Check out these top summer reading events for kids in the City of Brotherly Love.
Free Library Of Philadelphia
Parkway Central Library
1901 Vine St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 686-5322

Date: June 17 to Aug. 9, 2013

All branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia are participating in the Summer Reading: 20-Million-Minute Challenge. The library triple-dog dares kids and teens to dig into reading for a total of 20 million minutes, or roughly 333,333 hours. Youngsters in grades six and below can also sign up for a reading game board. The idea is to read as many books possible in order to earn splashy stickers and snazzy prizes.

Eagles Book Mobile
Eagles Youth Partnership
NovaCare Complex
1 NovaCare Way
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 463-2500

Reading proficiently increases a child’s chances for future success in the game of life. The Eagles Youth Partnership, in recognition that a whopping 45 percent of Philadelphia public school system students cannot read at grade level by fourth grade, tackles this problem by providing a summer bookmobile. The library on wheels travels to hundreds of recreation centers, school, libraries, shelters and summer camps. At each stop, the Storybook Man reads aloud to the kids and hands out free brand new books.

Philadelphia READS Summer READS
Amy Purdy
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 279-7450

Philadelphia READS offers a six-week summer program that concentrates on literacy, science, art and music for low-income readers in grades one through four. Each year, the program, which is sponsored in part by the Eagles Youth Partnership, features a different theme designed around a dozen read-aloud books. Last year, the kids had a ball with the “How Does the World Unite Through the Olympics?” theme, and for summer 2013, youngsters can build up some reading steam with the “Building a Better Me!” program.

Tree House Books
1430 W. Susquehanna Ave.

Philadelphia, PA 19121

(215) 236-1760

Date: July 8 to July 18, 2013 and July 22 to Aug. 1, 2013

Tree House Books, a nonprofit organization in North Philly, has shelves of books packed with all of the latest favorites in literature. For the past five years, the organization has held the Tree Shade Summer Project, a summer reading camp for kids ages seven to 12 held in the month of July. For 2013, campers will get a taste of what it means to be a thinker, reader and writer in the “Conservations in the City” project. “The Stories Huey Tells,” “Julian’s Summer” and “The Boondocks” top the summer reading list. To add to the fun, campers will also get to take field trips to unique Philadelphia locations to actually walk in Huey’s, Julian’s and Riley’s moccasins.

Related: Top Summer Sleep Away Camps For Kids In Philadelphia

Upper Dublin Public Library

805 Loch Alsh Ave.

Fort Washington, PA 19034
(215) 628-8744

Date: June 17, July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Aug. 5, 2013

Tiny tots ages three through seven can take up the proverbial shovel to “Dig Into Reading” this summer at the Upper Dublin Public Library in Fort Washington. Running Monday mornings from June 17 to August 5, 2013, the program will unearth wagon loads of crafts and stories for the kids. Each week features a different theme. There is something for everyone, including tunnels and subways, caves, dinosaurs, pirates, shipwrecks and mummies.

Related: Top Spots For Kids’ Summer Art Activities In Philadelphia

Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at