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Reading Merit Badge Activity Planner

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Reading : “No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” — Confucius.
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'Patrol Leader Merit Badge Planning Guide for the Reading Merit Badge

*** Activities for the Youth Lead Patrol ***

Exploring Reading can be a fascinating youth adventure when done right. Here are a few tips to help the patrol leader get started.

  • Scouts may never add or subtract from the actual merit badge requirements
  • This Planner is only a suggestion of different ideas to make working this Merit Badge both fun and easy.
  • While doing the Worksheet is not a requirement for earning this badge, in many cases it can help you learn key concepts and track your progress.
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A. Make Your Plan

Sample Patrol Activity Flyer
  1. Merit Badge Activity Planning Tips - 14 tips for a successful patrol activity. Read carefully before you start your plan!
  2. Share Your Plan - Meet ahead of time with your patrol, scout leaders, parents and especially with the Merit Badge Counselor. Make changes to the plan as needed.
  3. Prepare Activity Flyer - Keep your fellow scouts informed - events, activities, pre-requisites and more.
Patrol Activity FAIR Organize your patrol as a book club
Virtual Field Trip POOR Requires in-person tour of Public or School Library. During Covid-19 save this item for last and do all reading now.
Family Activity GREAT Your parents might suggest some good books for you.
Service Activity POOR N/A
S.T.E.M. Activity GREAT Non-Fiction books teach STEM
Field Trip FAIR Library Tour
Duty-to-God GREAT Include your Troop Chaplains Aide
MB Day GREAT Scout Book Reports
Overnighter GREAT Many scouts like to read during free time at camp
Summer Camp MB FAIR Pre-requisite: Read books beforehand

Online Resources

Covid-19 Pandemic Notice

While overall, this is a great merit badge to work during the great 2020 pandemic, Item #1 requires an in-person visit to the local library for a tutorial and exercise in using the card catalog to find books which is a valuable lesson. Many scouts have already had this tour as part of their public school curriculum. For those scouts who have not should be strongly encouraged now to do all other requirements now (reading and book reports). There will come a time very soon when local libraries will reopen and those librarians will be very excited to give you the library tour!

B. Introduction Meeting

Most merit badge activities do best to have a "introduction" meeting where the patrol can discuss how to get started and to plan out their field trips.

News Flash : Book Zone

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C. Homework / Prerequisites

Assign one or more requirements that the scout can do at home, perhaps as a family activity. Allow a month or two for scouts to complete this section.


  • Required Reading:
    • Reading @ Simple-Wikipedia: Get the basics quickly.
    • Req #3 : Read 4 Types of Books - Prepare Book Report / Movie Report
    • Req #4 : Read Non-Fiction to Learn about Something - Prepare a Project
    • Req #5 : Read About your World.

Reading Service Project: (Req #6)

  • Reg #6: With your counselor's and parent's or guardian's permission, choose ONE of the following activities and devote at least four hours of service to that activity. Discuss your participation with your counselor:
    • a. Read to a sick, blind, or homebound person in a hospital or in an extended-care facility.
    • b. Perform volunteer work at your school library or a public library.
    • c. Read stories to younger children, in a group or individually.
    • d. Organize a book swap in your troop, school, or place of worship.
    • e. Organize a book drive to collect books. Donate them to an organization in need.

D. Study Hall Patrol Night

While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. Make an agenda. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles introduced here would be relevant. Schedule one or more patrol meetings to work this merit badge.

Discuss with your MBC the following : Try doing Req #5 : "Read about the world around you from any two sources: books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet (with your parent's or guardian's permission), field manuals, etc. Topics may include Scouting, sports, environmental problems, politics, social issues, current events, nature, religion, etc. Discuss what you have learned with your counselor."

E. Field Trip

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A related field trip with the MBC will be a great time to do the second half of this merit badge activity:

Library Card Catalog Tour

Requirement #1 asks for a field trip to the school or public library :

  • #1. Do EACH of the following:
    • a. Take a tour of a library. Discuss with your counselor how the library is organized and what resources and/or services are offered in the library.
    • b. Learn how to search a library's card catalog or computerized catalog by author, title, and subject.
    • c. In a library, search the card catalog or computerized catalog for six books of four different types, such as poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and biographies.
    • d. With the assistance of your merit badge counselor or the librarian, see if you can locate on the shelves the six books you selected.

Note: Many scouts have already completed a library tour through their school program.

Public Library Service Project

Consider the following patrol field trip to complete Req #1d.

  • 6d. Perform volunteer work at your school library or a public library.

F. Extra Credit

While none of these are actual requirements for this merit badge - they are terrific opportunities to show Scout Spirit, Do A Good Turn Daily and to have FUN!

  1. Activity Reflection: Use this meeting for scouts to ask questions and to reflect on what they gained personally from this adventure. You can also have a discussion on what future opportunities are here.
  2. Court of Honor Exhibit: Pictures, handiwork and other memorabilia from this adventure will make for a great presentation at the next Scout Troop Court of Honor.


Related Merit Badges

Sometimes it is easier by doing two or more merit badges together as a joint activity: