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?