Baker Book House Sees Huge Growth in Popular Summer Reading Program

Written by Sarah Traill on . Posted in Local

bakersummerThe Baker Book House children's summer reading program grew by nearly 30 percent over last year. The 1,168 children participated in the Adventures in Michigan program, which encouraged learning about the state and included a good number of local authors reading at story times throughout the summer.

"We've never had a summer reading program quite this large before," said Becca Niswonger, hospitality coordinator for the store.

One of the most popular events was the Cars party, where kids could build and decorate "cars" from boxes and sit in them while they watched the movie Cars. Susie Finkbeiner, mother of three summer reading program participants, said, "It tapped into their creativity. They got to make the cars into their own personality by adding bumper stickers!"

Another popular event was the Blandford Nature Party. Austin Finkbeiner, 9, said, "I got to pet a bunny and see a falcon." These animals, as well as a turtle and an owl, were at this story-time event and children were able to learn about and interact with them.

Susie Finkbeiner added, "It was great, especially for city kids who don't get to see these animals all the time." Finkbeiner herself participated in and completed the Adult Summer Reading program this year, also with the theme Adventures in Michigan.

The theme this year allowed Baker to bring in local children's authors to read including Glenys Nellist (Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl's Heart) and Tracey Madder (The Story Traveler's Bible), who both participated in a Princess Party. At each Princess Party, children dressed up and participated in a princess parade as well as the story-time.

The best part for Niswonger is, "being able to confirm that these girls are special, not just to us and their families, but also to God."

Through a Facebook page called Baker Bookworms and weekly emails, children were able to learn trivia about Michigan and learn a memory verse, as well as stay updated on upcoming events. They were encourage to read throughout the summer, with prizes given based on number of hours read.

Elise Finkbeiner, 10, read almost 200 hours over the summer. "It was really fun tracking my time and figuring out how much I read," she said.

Susie Finkbeiner, her mother, added, "It gives them some motivation to spend time reading over the summer. It gives them an extra nudge."

There were also weekly challenges connected to Michigan cities, like the Petoskey challenge to find an interesting rock. Tim Finkbeiner, 9, loved this challenge. He said, "I found more rocks and I collected them!"

The end of program party is happening at the store on Saturday, August 26 from 10:30-noon. For more information, check out or the Baker Book House Facebook page.

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Author: Sarah Traill

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