The positive benefits for children who continue reading over summer vacation months is well established. But as any parent knows, it never hurts to incentivize good educational behavior.
This is why Rebecca Stein, VP of Studio Relations & U.S. Marketing for National Amusements, takes so much pride in the Bookworm Wednesdays program, which will commence for the 21st year on July 10 and run until July 31 at both Showcase Cinemas locations in Warwick (Warwick Mall and Bald Hill Road).
“We've been doing this a long time. It's a program that, every year as we approach spring time, we start hearing from customers and camps asking if we're bringing Bookworm Wednesdays back,” Stein said. “It's pretty popular.”
Once the program begins, each Wednesday at 10 a.m. there will be a showing of a different children’s movie over the course of four weeks. Kids can earn free admission for themselves and their family into the movie simply by handing in a book report form based on a book they recently read. They aren’t extensive book reports. Kids can draw a picture of a favorite scene or describe a passage from the book that had an impact on them.
These book reports not only earn free entry, they also serve as a ticket that is entered into a prize raffle that is drawn every Wednesday of the program’s duration. Prizes include book giveaways and more free movie passes, and there are three winners chosen each week. Bookworm participants can also purchase a 123 Go Box for a discounted price of $5. Book report forms can be retrieved from participating theaters or downloaded online at Showcase Cinema’s website.
Now running for over 20 years, Stein – who has been with the company since the program started – expressed her pride in the event as it has grown over the years.
“During summer months, reading dips for a lot of kids. They're not reading, so they lose that skill,” she said. “We combine this kind of need and wanted to encourage and help be part of summer literacy efforts within our communities. And it’s still a community program… It's a program we take a lot of pride in and the communities have really embraced it over the years.”
Across New England and New York, 18 total theaters participate in the program. While it’s hard to pin down an exact total number of participants over the years, Stein said that every week the program draws in hundreds of people specifically for the Bookworm Wednesday showing.
The movie showings this year are as follows: July 10 – Sing (rated PG); July 17 – Minions (rated PG); July 24 – How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (rated PG); and July 31 – The Lorax (rated PG).
“We want to program to stay focused on reading and the power of books and the power of movies,” Stein said. “I think that combination is great because both give us that escape, through the magic of books and the magic of movies.”