Summer Reading Programs for Kids

My kids will be out of school in one more week. One of the worst things about summer break is that kids tend to forget some of what they learned the previous year in school. To guard against the summer slump as much as possible, I try to encourage my kids to read over the summer. Fortunately there are a lot of programs out there that provide kids with incentives to read. Here are the ones I hunted down.

Check your local library. Our library runs a summer reading program every year. Kids are encouraged to get their own library cards, and they can be put in a drawing for a prize if they read a certain amount of books. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to familiarize kids with the library.

Barnes & Noble. Each year Barnes & Noble encourages kids to read by offering a free book to each child who turns in a journal listing 8 books they’ve read over the summer. Journals can be downloaded at the Barnes & Noble website.

The Scholastic Summer Challenge. This year Scholastic is hoping your kids can set a world record for the number of minutes spent reading during the summer. Kid team up with other kids from their local school to help their school set the summer reading record. The top 20 schools will be featured in the 2010 Scholastic Book of World Records! There are also plenty of drawings for prizes, such as books and SmartyCards (redeemable for things like Club Penguin and Webkinz).

Half Price Books. Kids can earn a $3 Half Price Books shopping card for each week they read at least 15 minutes a day in the Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program. That’s a great deal! I sure wish we had a Half Price Books around here!

The best part about these summer reading programs? Well, besides the fact that they keep your kids reading, of course. They’re all free!

Do your children participate in summer reading programs? Do you know of any that I haven’t mentioned?


By , on May 28, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. Samantha:

    Six Flags has a reading program where kids read for about 6 hours and earn a free kids’ ticket.

  2. marlana:

    hey all good ideas.
    we do
    -local library summer reading program
    -barnes and noble
    -h-e buddy 2009 summer reading program (

    these are ideas

  3. Priscilla:

    Chuck-E-Cheese has some kind of summer reading program, check it out…children read to earn tokens!

  4. Marie-Anne:

    Borders also has a summer reading program. The kids 12 and under read any 8 books and get a 50% off coupon.

  5. Summer reading programs are great for keeping up kids’ reading skills, and keeping out-of-school boredom to a minimum. Thanks for the suggestions!

  6. BJK:

    Has anyone heard if Build a Bear is doing anything this summer?

  7. Great post. I need to do one of these this summer.

  8. I think I’m a library addict anyways so I would always try the library first for my summer fun!

    Shymom –> I love that rule!!!

  9. Shymom:

    We have a summer rule. Nothing electronic gets turned on (that includes my teenager’s guitar) until you have read for half and hour. This seems to work well for us and they do get lots of reading done.

  10. Nice post!

    The summer reading program is probably the most useful thing your public library does for kids . . .

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