SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) -- With summer around the corner, it's not only important to get outside and exercise our bodies, but it's just as important to exercise our minds as well.
That's the belief of grade-school teacher, Alex Hunt, who developed the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church's summer reading program.
This is the first year Good Shepherd is putting on this program. They're doing it in hopes to not only get children to open up a book, but also open up their minds.
In a time where most attention can be found on a phone screen, Hunt novels at the idea of helping kids find what's in a book.
"It's really about building that culture. Reading is something that we need as citizens in the 21st century to be successful and, unfortunately, statistics show that's something that's going away," Hunt said.
Hunt says that parents can play a big part in the program by helping influence their kids.
"In our program, we encourage parents to get involved, read with their children, so that the children see, 'Yeah. Hey, even mom and dad think reading is important,' and then they take it a bit more seriously," Hunt said.
For every three books a kid reads, they'll earn a ticket which makes them eligible for a prize drawing,
Giving the chosen a chance to win items like a Nintendo Switch or a Samsung Chrome Book.
If a parent does the same, they'll also earn another ticket for their kid.
"It'll help encourage me to be reading for more than just work to, but to be doing some pleasure reading with her too and just having fun with it again," Michael Johnson said.
"Something that really sparked them now with the summer reading program is that they are going to be reading more, so I'm really glad they're doing that as well," Blake Maas said.
Right now, the program is exclusive to students at the school, but one day they hope for it to expand beyond.
"We have hopes to maybe build this in future years, but being our first year and being a small school, we're going to keep it just within our school this year," Hunt said.
And the real prize isn't what comes at the end of the summer but the beginning of their future.
"Whether you go to Good Shepherd or not, I definitely encourage you to encourage reading with your child. It's, not only, a great life skill to have, and you'll use it in your future career, but it just really sparks a love of new worlds and new things and creates opportunities," Hunt said.
"It gives us another thing to talk about and actually grow our relationship as father and daughter. And just have fun together," Johnson said.
The Good Shepherd School's last day of classes is on May 22nd, officially kicking off the program.