by Debbonnaire Kovacs

By Debbonnaire Kovacs
Submitted October 8, 2014

Ranch Readers Program
A book is a thrift store treasure — especially a free book! The Idaho Youth Ranch is offering a free book to any child (up to age 17) who visits an Idaho Youth Ranch thrift store.
Each free book comes with a special Ranch Readers bookmark. When you finish the book, write the name of the book on your bookmark and bring it back to the store, and we'll give you another free book (valued at $1.95 or less) and a stamp on your bookmark!
Every child who reads five free books and fills up their Ranch Readers bookmark with all five stamps can come back to the store for a special prize–and a new Ranch Readers bookmark to start the process all over again.
Come in today! A bounty of beautiful books awaits you.

So reads the website at The Ranch Readers program was launched in the spring of 2013. That summer, a woman named Jennifer Meyers was volunteering at the Ranch’s Twin Falls thrift store (one of 29!) and learned about the program.
She told her nine-year-old daughter, Amy, who was in third grade at Hilltop Seventh-day Adventist School. Amy was intrigued, but also nervous. Could she read enough books to get prizes?
Only, it turns out, enough to get into the local news! Two hundred books, to be precise. Amy said she read through book after book, starting with easy ones and going on to harder ones. Her teacher is happy because she now reads at the fifth-grade level. (Then again, this news is some months old; Amy is presumably in fourth grade, and who knows how high her reading skills have gone?) Amy’s mother is happy because she never heard the dreaded summer words, “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!” Amy is happy because she’s learned to love reading.
And Idaho Youth Ranch is happy because reading success leads to success on many more levels as young people grow.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any of the links on the main page at to work at all, but I can tell you that the Idaho Youth Ranch is a “non-governmental, not-for-profit organization” which relies on donations to help it work for Idaho’s youth and families.